Monday, March 21, 2005

Blame Turkey

Well, we found out yesterday who's really to blame for our problems in Iraq. No, it wasn't Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who went into battle with far fewer troops than his Generals said he needed to secure the country. No, it wasn't the Bush Administration officials who "forgot" about General Zinni's plans for an Iraq invasion, which anticipated many of the problems that we're seeing today.

No, the real reason for the insurgency is NATO member Turkey, who refused to let the US invade Iraq from the North. Yes, if only we had been able to invade from the North than the Iraqis would already have become a Western-style Democracy. Those damned freedom hating Turks!
WASHINGTON, March 20 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Sunday used the second anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq to answer the most tenacious criticism of the war effort - that the Pentagon did not commit sufficient troops to the major offensive or to stability efforts after Baghdad fell.

The fault, Mr. Rumsfeld contended in two appearances on television talk shows, rested with Turkey, a NATO ally, which would not give permission for the Fourth Infantry Division to cross its territory and open a northern front at the start of the war in March 2003.

"Given the level of the insurgency today, two years later, clearly, if we had been able to get the Fourth Infantry Division in from the north through Turkey, more of the Iraqi Saddam Hussein Baathist regime would have been captured or killed," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

As the invasion neared, the heavily armored units of the division and its support elements were in ships off Turkey, ready to create a battlefield vise to squeeze adversaries with the larger Army and Marine Corps force entering Iraq from Kuwait to the south. Had that happened, "the insurgency today would be less," Mr. Rumsfeld added.

With the Fourth Infantry blocked from entering from the north, "by the time Baghdad was taken, the large fraction of the Iraqi military and intelligence services just dissipated into the communities," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "And they're still, in a number of instances, still active."
But the Turks aren't the only ones to blame for the mess in Iraq. No, the Generals are also at fault.
Pressed on why the level of American forces was not increased to subdue a resilient insurgency even after the United States was the occupying force in Iraq, he said the troop levels for the stabilization mission were set by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who at the time was commander of the military's Central Command.

"General Franks made a call, and he made a judgment that not only would they not be needed and it would not be appropriate, but that it would be ill advised to put that many more, quote, 'occupation forces' in," Mr. Rumsfeld said on the ABC News program "This Week."
Or could it be that Franks didn't want to become a lame duck like Shinseki?