"First came the "monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq’s realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society," he writes.
What followed was the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer III’s Coalition Provisional Authority, which took big steps with little consultation with Iraqis, steps Allawi and many others see as blunders:
• The Americans disbanded Iraq’s army, which Allawi said could have helped quell a rising insurgency in 2003. Instead, hundreds of thousands of demobilized, angry men became a recruiting pool for the resistance.
• Purging tens of thousands of members of toppled President Saddam Hussein’s Baath party – from government, school faculties and elsewhere – left Iraq short on experienced hands at a crucial time.
• An order consolidating decentralized bank accounts at the Finance Ministry bogged down operations of Iraq’s many state-owned enterprises.
• The CPA’s focus on private enterprise enabled the "commercial gangs" of Hussein’s day to monopolize business.
• Its free-trade policy allowed looted Iraqi capital equipment to be spirited away across borders.
• The CPA perpetuated Hussein’s fuel subsidies, selling gasoline at giveaway prices and draining the budget." Baltimore Sun
One of the favored bits of mythology around Washington now is the notion, repeated often for effect, that "no one could have known." That was said to me last week by one of the famous. "But, really, nobody could have known." This is all self serving rubbish, of course. Lots of people knew. Some were not asked and some did not wish to speak up, knowing that disfavor would follow. Disvavor would follow along with an absence of the consulting work that so many in the community of the knowing still need in retirement. Allawi is right of course. Most of the people in charge of the war still know nothing. They are, as the Jesuits say, invincibly ignorant. pl