Thursday, April 3, 2008

Déjà vu

As the shock wears off and the analysis after the fact of what went wrong in Basra is pounded out, I see a microcosm of the whole sorry mess that has unfolded over there brought into sharp focus.
But interviews with a wide range of American and military officials also suggest that Mr. Maliki overestimated his military’s abilities and underestimated the scale of the resistance. The Iraqi prime minister also displayed an impulsive leadership style that did not give his forces or that of his most powerful allies, the American and British military, time to prepare.

“He went in with a stick and he poked a hornet’s nest, and the resistance he got was a little bit more than he bargained for,” said one official in the multinational force in Baghdad who requested anonymity. “They went in with 70 percent of a plan. Sometimes that’s enough. This time it wasn’t.”

As the Iraqi military and civilian casualties grew and the Iraqi planning appeared to be little more than an improvisation, the United States mounted an intensive military and political effort to try to turn around the situation, according to accounts by Mr. Crocker and several American military officials in Baghdad and Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Two senior American military officers — a member of the Navy Seals and a Marine major general — were sent to Basra to help coordinate the Iraqi planning, the military officials said. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were pressed into service as combat advisers while air controllers were positioned to call in airstrikes on behalf of beleaguered Iraqi units. American transport planes joined the Iraqis in ferrying supplies to Iraqi troops.

In Baghdad, Mr. Crocker lobbied senior officials in the Iraqi government, who complained that they had been excluded from Mr. Maliki’s decision-making on Basra, to back the prime minister’s effort there.

An "impulsive leader" who launches an attack without adequate personnel and equipment? With just part of a plan? Leaving others scrambling to cover your ass? Sounds a lot like the little idiot ordering the inspectors out and the Army in - after firing the guy who told him he was barking mad for trying to do it "lean and mean" the Rumsfeld way.

It's small wonder that aWol is so taken with Maliki - if they aren't the same freakin' guy, they at least share a personality disorder.

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