Bush’s failed Iraq war: ‘A major debacle’

In a scathing analysis, a former senior Pentagon official has called the war in Iraq “a major debacle” that created an incubator for terrorism and emboldened Iran.

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” Joseph Collins wrote in “Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and its Aftermath.”

Published by the National Defense University, Collins’ paper is striking in that it comes from one whose position from 2001 to 2004 put him near the center of decision making that led to the war.

He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations when the United States invaded Iraq, only to find itself mired in the now five year old struggle to pacify the country.

Collins said the price of the war has been damage to US standing in the world, strains on the US military, and a negative impact on the war on terror, “which must now bow to the priority of Iraq when it comes to manpower, materiel, and the attention of decisionmakers.”

“Compounding all these problems, our efforts there were designed to enhance US national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East,” he wrote.

As have other analysts, Collins pins the failure in Iraq on a lack of post war planning and the refusal of overconfident policy makers to commit enough troops to pacify Iraq after the invasion.

He blames Donald Rumsfeld, the domineering former defense secretary, for pushing for a small invasion force, and former CPA chief Paul Bremer for formalizing the US occupation, thereby alienating Iraq’s Sunnis, with little consultation with Washington.

Collins said the war was a “classic case of failure to adopt and adapt prudent courses of action that balance ends, ways and means.”

“After the major combat operations, US policy has been insolvent, with inadequate means for pursuing ambitious ends,” he said.

The Pentagon’s effort since early 2007 to build up the overall size of the army and marines “is not likely to provide much relief in Iraq,” he said.

“Ironically, the surge is clearly proving that even another 30,000 troops on the ground could have a positive effect on population protection and counterterrorism.”

“We still await political progress — the ultimate goal, and one that is entirely in Iraqi hands,” he said.


  1. Carl Nemo

    Hi Sherry et. al. …

    My suspicion is they aren’t following any NEC; national or international electrical installation codes whatsoever and failed to install GFCI (Ground fault circuit interrupters): ie., protectors on all the shower facilities. If they are installing them, then they aren’t checking them at regular intervals for soundness of operation. Breakers protect equipment, GFCI’s protect lives. Regular circuit breakers trip when a given amount of current is exceeded, the most basic one being 15 amps. A current flow as small as a milliamp can terminate a human life! GFCI’s are engineered to trip at these extemely low levels of current flow between the hot, neutral and grounded leads of circuit if a fault difference is so detected; ie., a short to ground through a human body…!

    In summation, our national leadership all the way down to the lowest level American sponsored contractors are all slimeball “war profiteers”; ie., human garbage of the lowest order.

    Harry Truman once said that there’s only one cure for war profiteers; ie., “summary execution” and I so too concur…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sandra Price

    Wow! this article has brought out the best of CHB members. We can see the problems of allowing no-bid contracts to make out of control profits on our tax payers’ backs. Now who would make the obvious changes necessary?

    I will agree that the appointees made by Bush have been thoroughly unqualified to act for the American people. McCain is one and the same. The Big Brothers Club of D.C. must be thrown out of power. I fear that Clinton is one of them with contracts ready to sign to pay back her supporters. I have no idea what Obama would do, but 2 out of 3 negatives sends me to his spot on the ballot if he makes it. If he doesn’t……..?

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    I just love all these former war proponents mea culping with all get out about this illegal invasion & occupation, and every step of the way the Lexus Liberal Democrappers enabled ChimpCo to get away with this: Pillary Dillary Crock, Fancy Pants Pelosi, Hairy Reed…the list goes on.

  4. Sandra Price

    But Klaus, the American People voted them all into office. Unless we get to work, they all will return to their positions with McCain replacing Bush. Both the GOP and Dems have lost their focus on right vs wrong and want to win no matter what it takes. This is something that is now found in our homes, schools and jobs. Those family values that brought Bush back into office was ridiculous. We all should know that family values should start with the family, not the federal government. This will continue until Americans start taking their lives more seriously and get their hands out of the federal till. The government has made it too easy for people to look to them for help.

    I was just reading a book called “Under the Banner of Heaven” which is the story of the Mormon church in America. All those huge family groups with 8 to 15 children by each wife has made it possible for the wives and children to collect welfare and disability payments.

    Millions of tax payers dollars are paid into Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona for these oversexed deadbeats. This is still going on today.

  5. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Hi Sandra. I won’t vote for any Democrat, nor Republikan, so I don’t think there is any disagreement. As to the Mormans I don’t know, what can be done about that? Most Americans love being led around by the nose. As long as a good portion of Americans can get their Bud Lite and curl up with the Super Bowl (or as I like to say, the ‘Tidybowl’) then they couldn’t care less about what the Elephants and the Jack Assess do.

  6. Sandra Price

    He’s a little late, isn’t he? How many soldiers were killed since he sat on his paper? Another high-paid coward!

  7. Jenifer D.

    It’s NOT a ‘war’

    This act of modern day Piracy is called an invasion, and an illegal one at that. To send one’s armed forces to a foreign nation without any declaration of war for the clandestine purpose of securing that foreign nation’s natural resources under the guise of ‘liberating it’ is a blatant act of Piracy. How much revenue from this invasion has found its way into the pockets of these fat cats that own the companies supposedly ‘rebuilding’ Iraq? How much of it is bribes? Thousands of U.S. lives wasted, trillions of taxpayer dollars spent (without the taxpayer’s consent), and the U.S. is deep in debt to many foreign countries with no way to pay them back.

    I still believe GWB and CO plan to flee the country when their term is up.

  8. OldandSlow

    Half right, half wrong

    In defense of Joseph Collins, you go to war with the Secretary of Defense that you have at the time. Unfortunately, this was a package deal that came with Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith.

    Saddam had brutally destroyed any and all secular alternatives that could hold the country together after his fall. Rumsfeld’s and the neocons blissfully destroyed the political glue that was holding Iraq together, which were the Bathists.

    The largest remaining political players are three Shia religious parties, two Kurdish parties and fragmented Sunni groups whose largest player is based with an Islamic Scholars association. All of the above regional players. The current Prime Minister is from the smallest of the three Shia parties.

    In the Middle East these are ingredients for another Lebanese Civil War and Iraq is now a Lebanon on steroids.

    The Surge is a band-aid which has allowed the US military to wall off many Baghdad neighborhoods into miniature Gaza Strips.

    We’ve got a long way to go, but when finished the idea is Baghdad will have to endure a Palestian West Bank like labyrinth of check points. This is a city of 6 million inhabitants.

    Who knows what political settlement will come out of all this, but for the US to draw down its troops there needs to be a political rather than a military solution.

    In the end, the Neocons win. They get a US protectorate on Iran’s door-step and with the Iraqis fighting each other, they’ve eliminated one of Israel’s traditional enemies in one fell swoop.

    Andrew in Austin, TX

  9. Flapsaddle

    Outstanding! An excellent summation, sir, of points often overlooked in the rush to point fingers.

    Without reference to the necessity – much less the morality – of the second Iraq war, let it be said that it needed someone like Cheney in charge of the DoD rather than a Donald Rumsfeld. Cheney trusted the field commanders, got them the stuff they needed and then stayed the hell out of the way; Rumsfeld was a distrustful, meddling, incompetent micro-manager from the get-go.

    We also could have used some advice from the British, who have a history – both good and bad – of managing Middle East colonies and protectorates.

    As Ben Franklin/Poor Richard observed, experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  10. Jenifer D.

    You Lost Me

    We’re talking about an illegal invasion here, and numerous violations of The Geneva Conventions are the icing on the cake. Without a declaration of war, this invasion is just illegal, immoral, and a blatant act of Piracy given the amount of resources gone missing along with millions of dollars. The only consolation I have on this debacle is that the instigators are in their sixties and seventies and don’t have much longer to pillage before they meet their maker.

  11. Sandra Price

    Andrew, We went into Iraq and took out Saddam for oil. We have stayed home when many dictators get into religious wars where we do not belong. I don’t give a damn about Saddam’s actions when it has killed over 4000 of our own troops.

    This kind of failed action comes when the American people elect a total idiot for the White House. The GOP wants a Theocracy and they thought they had their man. He’s back under the name of McCain.

    Just think that if we had one strong and brave member of congress prior to the war, simply speak up that there was no intelligent or legal reason for going after Saddam we would not be bankrupt or losing our reputation all over the planet.

    From where I sit it looks like a concerted effort by the neoconservatives to destroy our Constitutional Republic. Even after this evil was exposed the religious right brought Bush back into the white house.

    America’s strength was in our Secular government where all Americans were respected. The Christians got their toes into the White House and all hell broke loose. The various cabinet positions and even the new Congressional religious wackos brought America into a position of being despised by all other religions. We continue to focus on abortions, gay marriages, death with dignity and we have seen Americans divided by these issues and the old anti-Semitism and racism is flourishing. All this is driven by religious concepts and has washed away our respect for all Citizens. The religious right is relentless in their hatred of half the Americans. It will lead us all into the end times and Armageddon. Damnit, that is not for me!

    I realize I do not state my opinions well but I am sick to death of fighting for individual freedoms only to see even many here want more restrictions and controls over all of us.

  12. Jenifer D.

    Well Put Sandra

    As for Armageddon, that’s just a radical Christian pipedream IMHO. You stated your position pretty well on this matter. Saddam was tried and convicted by a Kangaroo Court, he was not fairly represented, even if he did commit heinous crimes against his own people. We have an element far worse, and the Political Machine is indeed being run by the pseudo-religious right, being religios does not mean you’re moral.

  13. Rob Kezelis

    there were not reasons to go into Iraq. Except economic. Not just oil, but a boon for a failing presidency, and a HUGE payoff for the military-industrial complex.

  14. OldandSlow

    Illegal or Not – It is a debacle, because it was bad idea to begin with.

    Sorry I lost everyone, but I was trying to brief and describe where this fiasco is headed.

    First, I mentioned the above NeoCons, because this was and still is their project. The fact is they were already dreaming of Babylon during the 1990’s in their published paper “Project for the New American Century.”


    Getting past all the NeoCon and media double speak on the “War on Terror” our government is in fact establishing a Mesopotamian protectorate on Iran’s doorstep. I call it that, because that what is.

    The “Surge” concept was authored by neocon Fred Kagan, who is brother of Robert Kagan a project director for the “New American Century”

    Not many folks in the US are aware of what this protectorate will look like. It will include Palestinian-like walled division of Iraq’s cities and checkpoints. Many more Iraqis die in the mayhem and a there will be little chance of a unified political solution.

    Iraq as a unified nation is doomed. Our meddling in their affairs has and will make Lebanon look like a cake-walk, but I contend that the Neocons can live with all this, because they thrive on chaos and fear mongering.

    Andrew in Austin, TX

  15. Carl Nemo

    This war is failed relative to “we the people”, but it has been a total success for the MIC, the oil patch and the NWO/AIPAC cabal…!

    Bush always looks at the cameras with his intransigent, “chimpy”, stay the course countenance while we continue to suffer under this engineered plot to both rip-us-off as a nation and to turn our once great Republic into a corporatist/faschista police state…!

    Nothing has changed and our Congressional leaders are evidently in on the “take”…no?! Anyone and I mean anyone that loves America along with its once revered values would surely have terminated this madness a long time ago; but no, they continue on, business as usual?! Maybe it’s the water or the anti-depressant drugs vended by the supertanker load to the electorate. Have we become bovine entities, dull to our engineered fate; ie., the slaughterblock for “FREEDOM” for all time and all places…?!

    Wakeup America, soon to become “their AmeriKa”, this being their “endgame” unless we get intensely proactive in the processes of our government; ie., our way of life, which is soon to become history if they should so succeed…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  16. incog99

    First of all I am religious. I don’t wear it on my sleave either. That being said, Sandra you are right. Those who call themselves the “religious right” are not Christians as far as I am concerned. They promulgate war and hatred. I am not really sure who they are. They do not walk the walk as far as I am concerned.

    As Liberals, I think we are now getting numb to the atrocities being done in our name. It gets old and we get used to it. I just saw the film “Rendition” and I am still reeling at it. It is life changing. How on earth can this be done in my name? our names??

    Whatever we do this time around we need to get the Republicans out at all costs, even if that means holding our noses.

    My .02


  17. sherry

    Before we say all is lost, check with Blackwater, Haliburton, KBR (whose brilliant electricians have managed to electrocute 17 of our finest due to poor grounding in the showers no less)
    We could be putting to work the wealth of Iraqs engineers, construction contractors, etc, but of course tha would cut into the profits of Cheney’s buddies.
    So all is not lost. The war isn’t paid for and Iraq has a surplus in their budget. Perhaps we could bring their legislators to our congress since they can balance a budget and we can’t?
    We bomb their infrastructure to smithereens and Hali, KBR and friends get to build it back. Meanwhile, we give free healthcare to the Iraqis. It’s good policy. Can’t do that Good grief.