Military Operations in the 2000s

Operation Iraqi Freedom


Materials arranged chronologically.

Pillar, Paul R. "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq." Foreign Affairs 85, no. 2 (Mar.-Apr. 2006): 15-27.

The NIO for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005 argues that, with regard to the Iraq war, "official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized."

O'Connell, Ed, and Cheryl Benard. "A New IO Strategy: Prevention and Disengagement." Strategic Insights 5, no. 5 (May 2006). []

"[W]e are currently letting the terrorists and insurgents pick the time and place of their information operations in today's Iraq. We appear to be fighting the enemy's fight, and only addressing the symptoms and not the causes of the larger battle by cleverly copying enemy fliers, or mirroring their themes in our psychological operations efforts."

Robinson, Linda. "The Propaganda War." U.S. News & World Report, 29 May 2006, 29-31.

The author uses a draft of the Pentagon's "strategic communications roadmap" to discuss the "effort to get America's message out and to counter the terrorists' highly effective use of communications media."

Burns, John F. "Al Qaeda Leader in Iraq Killed by U.S. Bombs." New York Times, 9 Jun. 2006. []

Al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed on 7 June 2006 in a U.S. air strike on an isolated safe house north of Baghdad.

Fitzgerald, Michael, and Richard Ned Lebow. "Iraq: The Mother of all Intelligence Failures." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 5 (Oct. 2006): 884-909.

This is a devastating assessment of the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. It is, however, difficult not to consider it a polemic, rather than an analysis. Also, the comparison to a Greek tragedy is a little too cute for my taste. That said, however, the authors make too many valid points to be ignored. They state that "[t]he underlying principle of the Bush administration goals in the Middle East and, ironically, the roots of its failure," is found in its "assumption that military force could achieve political goals throughout the region.... [T]he decision to invade Iraq was not a response to any imagined WMD threat.... While the [CIA] is not entirely without fault, blaming it for the failure to find WMD is an oversimplification and a convenient distraction.... The fundamentally flawed nature of the administration's assumptions doomed the occupation to a long list of poor decisions and failed policies which began even before US forces captured Baghdad."

Iraq Study Group. The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward -- A New Approach. Washington, DC: 6 Dec. 2006. [Available for downloading at:]

Clark comment: There are times when I wonder why anyone -- and especially not intelligent, savvy individuals -- would even consider sitting on a panel such as this. It must be supremely embarrassing to be completely ignored. This 10-member bipartisan panel was headed by former GOP Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton.

Waterman, Shaun. "Baker-Hamilton Report Slams U.S. Intel on Iraq, Says Violence Under-Counted." United Press International, 7 Dec. 2006. []

The Iraq Study Group's report found that "U.S. military and intelligence agencies 'have not invested sufficient people and resources to understand the political and military threat to American men and women in the armed forces' from the insurgency in Iraq." The report "said that statistics complied by the U.S. military deliberately under-counted violence in Iraq." It concludes: "Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals." See also, Walter Pincus, "Intelligence Agencies 'Must Do Better': Panel Faults Quality of Information on Insurgency, Militias," Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2006, A31.

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