Operation Iraqi Freedom: Its Military Failures
Human conflicts within modern historical record have been widely argued as inevitable, therefore in the International relations study and principles, numerous nter governmental structures have been put in place after world war II, with the United Nations being the largest and most widely accepted political organization, in order to facilitate peace or rather mitigate the effects of these conflicts to prevent the human tragedy that was WWII. The post WWII world has largely not indicated as such, with the American led Operation Iraqi Freedom being more than likely the principle example of the toothless and non viability of inter-governmental organizations like the United Nations, and the economic union of the EU. Operation Iraqi Freedom success are largely measured within the military context whereby the the American coalition fielded a much smaller but technologically advanced army that routed a superior force that was not technologically advanced but possessed capabilities that could have stalled the invasion force and caused gruesome casualties on the part of the invaders. Clausewitz argued that “war is no past time, it is no mere joy in daring and winning, no place for irresponsible enthusiast”. This paper will focus both on the “irresponsible enthusiast” as the failures and the us military as whole on its successes during the invasion of Iraq, which contrary to popular belief faced some considerable challenges in achieving its mission. The planning for the invasion of Iraq was directed by the department of defense’s Donald Rumsfeld beginning in November 2001 and proceeded unchecked until October 2002. The combat phase was an anomaly in the historical military annals because it actually coincided with diplomats, spies, and para military groups disguised as outside contractors on the ground both in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Although its exact details were shrouded in secrecy the DOD actually made it widely known to any person familiar with the us military’s global posture and cycle of deployments throughout the world. The planning for post war Iraq was also undertaken by the DOD, which was a mission that traditionally within American departments was not its realm, nation building even prior to WW2 was the usually the responsibility of the State department. Interestingly enough, planning for a post war Iraq took the back burner and did not take place until 20 january 2003, by a new DOD created department called the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance or O.R.H.A. The exclusion of the State Department and its expertise especially the highly educated and professionals who worked under the office of foreign service were intentionally left out of this department all together, because they were largely unified in expressing their opinions that according to Iraqi Ambassador Tim Carney “they didn’t think Iraq could be democratic”. This would prove in the near term of post war Iraq to be the greatest blunder or outright failure of American political and military strategy in Iraq. Combat Phase
Today any military strategist would be hardly be impressed with what was billed as “shock and awe”, but in the months leading to the actual assumption of military hostilities against Iraq the Office of the Secretary of Defense (O.S.D) introduced a concept of warfare that was developed by Harlan Ullman and James Wade of the National Defense University and was regarded as a grand strategy for the invasion of Iraq. Technically it was then called “rapid dominance” but nonetheless an exact replication of the Wehrmacht blitzkrieg invasion of France using 21st century technology to foster coordination between fast moving ground forces and overwhelming air power. The reasons behind this strategy gaining traction and confidence of the OSD was the force of personality of Donald Rumsfeld, who ordered the...
References: 1. Operation Iraqi freedom a fist blush assessment, CSBA center for strategic and budgetary assessment, Andrew F Krepinevich
2. Operation Iraqi Freedom: What went wrong? A Clausewitzian Analysis, Clayton Dennison, Center for military and strategic studies, University of Calgary
3. Harlan k. Ullman and James P. Wade, “Shock and Awe achieving rapid dominance, national defense university, 1996, www.dodccrp.org/publications/pdf/ullman shock. pdf
4. Operation Iraqi Freedom: Strategies, Approaches, Results, and Issues of Congress, Catherine Marie Dale, specialist in international security, foreign affairs, defense and trade division.
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