February 11, 2008

Towards the end of 2003 about nine months after the U.S. invaded Iraq, the Army commissioned the RAND Corporation, a federally financed research center, to conduct a detailed study of the planning for post-war Iraq. In the summer of 2005, after 18 months of careful research, RAND reported back, including an unclassified version that the think tanks hoped would contribute to the public debate.

Fat chance. Given that the Bush administration’s planning was rather pathetic, the RAND study was not only ignored, it was hidden.

The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret. […]

[T]he study’s wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key.

A review of the lengthy report — a draft of which was obtained by The New York Times — shows that it identified problems with nearly every organization that had a role in planning the war. That assessment parallels the verdicts of numerous former officials and independent analysts.

Rumsfeld’s Pentagon was given too much authority, Powell’s State Department didn’t have an “actionable” plan, and Central Command had a “fundamental misunderstanding” of what the military needed to do to secure postwar Iraq.

No wonder the Bush gang decided a cover-up was preferable to disclosure.

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