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Bush's Catastrophic Failures In Iraq - Fact Sheet


A Series of Disastrous Mistakes With Disastrous Consequences

Recently-Revealed Intelligence Briefing Spells Out Pessimistic Predictions For Iraq. Bush received a classified National Intelligence Estimate in late July which ''spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq.'' The three possibilities outlined in the estimate paint a grim picture for Iraq through the end of 2005, “with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.” A government official who read the document admits “there’s a significant amount of pessimism.” [New York Times, 9/16/04]


“Iraq today falls far short of what the Bush administration promised. As a result of a long chain of U.S. miscalculations, the coalition occupation has left Iraq in far worse shape than it need have and has diminished the long-term prospects of democracy there. Iraqis, Americans, and other foreigners continue to be killed.”
-- Larry Diamond, Former CPA Adviser, Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 2004



Secret Joint Chiefs Report: Pentagon Planners Were Not Given Enough Time. In August 2003, the Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared a secret report assessing the post-war planning for Iraq. The report blamed “setbacks in Iraq on a flawed and rushed war-planning process.” It also said “planners were not given enough time” to plan for reconstruction. [Washington Times, 9/3/03]

Officials Admit Bush Administration Never Had Concrete Plan for Post-War Iraq. Bush administration officials and military personnel admitted that there was never a real plan for post-war Iraq operations. Posed with the question of whether the Army had an outlined plan for peacekeeping in Iraq, V Corps commander Lt. Gen. William Wallace said, “Well, we’re making this up here as we go along.” A former senior administration official said, “There was no real planning for postwar Iraq.” Knight Ridder reported, “The disenchanted U.S. officials today think the failure of the Pentagon civilians to develop such detailed plans contributed to the chaos in post-Saddam Iraq. ‘We could have done so much better,’ lamented a former senior Pentagon official, who is still a Defense Department adviser.” [Newsweek, 7/21/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]


Prior to the War in Iraq, Wolfowitz Rebuked Shinseki’s Estimates as “Wildly Off the Mark.” Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February 2003 that the occupation could require “several hundred thousand troops.” Wolfowitz called Shinseki’s estimate “wildly off the mark.” [USA Today, 6/2/03]

McCain: “Painfully Clear” More Troops Needed. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “It is painfully clear that we need more troops. Before the war, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff said that several hundred thousand troops would be necessary to keep the peace. While criticized at the time, General Shinseki now looks prescient.” [McCain Speech To the Council on Foreign Relations, 4/26/04]

Graham: Not Enough Troops To Do the Job. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “So I would like to have more troops on the ground to do the things necessary to stabilize the economy and the country… I have believed for over a year and a half that we do not have enough people to repair the infrastructure and provide security and we need more.” [MSNBC, “Hardball,” 9/16/04]

Army Study Suggests One-Fourth of Deaths in Iraq Could Have Been Prevented If Troops Were Properly-Equipped at Beginning of War. Newsweek reported that an internal Army study said one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them. Thousands more who were unprotected have suffered grievous wounds, such as the loss of limbs. [Newsweek, 5/3/04]

Bush Was Slow To Address Troops’ Need For Body Armor. Though Bush signed the Emergency Supplemental funding bill in November 2003 promising to use the money to “acquire new equipment, such as armored humvees and communications gear,” he has been slow to deliver on that pledge. The Bush administration first promised all the troops they would have body armor at the end of November. They extended and missed deadlines for December, January, and February, until the Army Secretary told Congress in March 2004 that there were finally sufficient stocks of body armor to equip all soldiers by the end of the month. [Bush Remarks, 11/6/03; House Approps Cmte, Subcmte on For. Ops, 9/24/03; UPI, 12/3/03; Hartford Courant, 1/11/04; House Approps Cmte, Defense Subcmte, 2/12/04; Senate Armed Services Cmte hearing, 3/2/04]


Iraq Embroiled In Insurgency. According to the non-partisan Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Two months after the United States transferred sovereignty to an Iraqi interim government, on June 28, 2004, Iraq remains embroiled in an insurgency, with security problems overshadowing other efforts to rebuild Iraq’s fragile society in the areas of governance and participation, economic opportunity, services, and social well-being.” [CSIS, "Measuring Iraq's Reconstruction Progress," Sept 2004]

Bush Admitted Miscalculating Iraqi Insurgency. “Mr. Bush also acknowledged for the first time that he made a ‘miscalculation of what the conditions would be’ in postwar Iraq.” [New York Times, 8/27/04]

Rumsfeld Admitted Bush Administration Was Not Prepared for Iraqi Resistance. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that “I am saying that -- if you had said to me a year ago, ‘describe the situation you’ll be in today, one year later,’ I don’t know many people who would have described it -- I would not have described it -- the way it happens to be today. … I certainly would not have estimated that we would have had the number of individuals lost that we have had lost in the last week.” [Rumsfeld News Conference, 4/15/04]

Powell Says The U.S. Miscalculated The Postwar Insurgency. In an interview with Panama’s TVN Channel 2, Powell admitted that the U.S. “miscalculated the strength of insurgents in Iraq” and “it is clear we did not expect an insurgency that would be this strong.” [Associated Press, 9/2/04]

Allawi Says Disbanding Of The Army Led To An Increase In Violence. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi wrote, “The postwar wholesale disbanding of the security forces has seen a rise in murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and drug trafficking, often in a vicious cycle that funds violence.” [Wall Street Journal, Allawi Op-ed, 8/25/04]


“At the current pace and using the combined criteria and priorities set by the World Bank/UN and the CPA, it would take nearly ten years to rebuild and develop Iraq, not the four projected by these organisations.”
-- International Crisis Group report, 9/2/04


Reconstruction Money Is Going Unspent. According to U.S. officials, only $1.1 billion of the $18 billion reconstruction package authorized by Congress has been spent and half of that was for security costs. [U.S. News & World Report, 9/20/04]

Electricity Still Has Not Met U.S. Goals. “Even today, the U.S. has not reached the goal set by L. Paul Bremer III, the former head of the U.S.-led occupation authority, to produce 6,000 megawatts of power a day by June 1. By comparison, California has about 50% more people than Iraq but produces up to eight times as much electricity, about 45,000 megawatts at peak summer demand.” [LAT, 9/12/04]

Many Iraqis Still Have No Access To Safe Drinking Water. Many of Iraq’s sewage facilities were looted following the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces in 2003. As a result, “The water is so contaminated that Iraq is suffering from a huge outbreak of hepatitis, 15,000 suspected cases, a 100 percent increase over last year.” [ABC, “World News Tonight Sunday,” 8/29/04]

Bush Administration Seeks To Shift Reconstruction Funds To Security. In an indication of the Bush administration’s failure to plan for the increasing violence in post-war Iraq, the Bush administration asked Congress to shift $3.4 from the reconstruction to the security of Iraq. The shift of funds “is a de facto recognition that [the occupation authority’s] ambitious plans to restructure Iraq’s entire economy have failed,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, a security analyst at the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies. [Washington Post, 9/15/04; Associated Press, 8/30/04]


CPA Cannot Account For $8.8 Billion. “At least $8.8 billion in Iraqi funds that was given to Iraqi ministries by the former U.S.-led authority there cannot be accounted for, according to a draft U.S. audit set for release soon. The audit by the Coalition Provisional Authority’s own Inspector General blasts the CPA for ‘not providing adequate stewardship’ of at least $8.8 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that was given to Iraqi ministries.” [Reuters, 8/19/04]

Halliburton Hasn’t Accounted for Almost Half Its Work in Iraq and Kuwait. According to a report by Pentagon auditors, Halliburton has not adequately accounted for more than $1.8 billion of work in Iraq and Kuwait, representing 43% of the $4.18 billion that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has billed the Pentagon so far.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/11/04]

Bush Administration Underfunded Effort To “Win The Heart and Minds” of Iraqis. According to an International Crisis Group report, “U.S. reconstruction has created some employment. Notably, the U.S. initiated a number of quick, small-scale projects -- minor repairs of sewage systems, rubbish collection, refurbishing youth centres and mosques -- that relied principally on local labour and were designed to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of ordinary Iraqis. However, these activities were largely under-funded -- a mere $140 million was budgeted -- and commanders struggled to uncover additional resources.” [International Crisis Group, 9/2/04]


Nearly 90 Percent Of Coalition Troops and Casualties Are American. There are 162,000 coalition troops in Iraq. 140,000 of those troops are American – nearly 90 percent. There have been 1023 American casualties and 127 non-American casualties in Iraq since the beginning of the war. American troops have borne nearly 90 percent of the total number of casualties. [Brookings Institution, “Iraq Index,” Updated 9/16/04; LAT, 9/17/04]

IRAQI POLICE FORCES: Still Not Trained and Ready To Provide Security.

Sen. Joseph Biden: But if you can be as precise as you can and just answer, yes or no: “Do we have 32,000 trained Iraqi cops on the street -- trained -- not cops on the street, trained Iraqi cops?” Joseph Bowab, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Foreign Assistance Programs: “No, sir.” [Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, 9/15/04]

Iraqi Police Will Not Be Fully-Equipped Until At Least 2005. “The US-led coalition is racing to arm Iraqi security forces, but will not be able to fully equip the police, battered by car bombings and assassinations, until end-2005, a coalition military officer told AFP. ‘All police equipment will be distributed by the end of next year,’ said British Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, the number two coalition official responsible for training Iraqi security forces.” [AFP, 9/19/04]

“Insufficiently Trained and Equipped.” “According to senior DoD officials and multinational force documents, these security forces, especially the Iraqi Police Service and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, were insufficiently trained and equipped for these duties. During the escalation of violence that occurred during April 2004, some of these security forces collapsed.” [“Rebuilding Iraq,” GAO Report, June 2004]

A Severe Shortage of Equipment. “According to data from the CPA’s Provost Marshal’s Office, as of March 29, 2004, the Iraqi Police Service as operating with 41 percent of its required patrol vehicles, 63 percent of its required uniforms, 43 percent of its required pistols, 21 percent of its required hand radios, 7 percent of its required vehicle radios, and 9 percent of its required protective vests.” [“Rebuilding Iraq,” GAO Report, June 2004]

Iraqi Policy Force Has A Long Way To Go. Only 6,000 police recruits have received training in a police academy, according to British Brig. Gen. Andrew Mackay. Another 21,000 have undergone a three-week training course, he said. At least 60,000 are untrained.” In addition, “though the police force…is paying about 120,000 people, only 87,000 are accounted for.” British Brig. Gen. Andrew Mackay admits that “the Iraqi Police Service has come way to go before you can really consider them…effective.” [Washington Post, 8/1/04]

IRAQI NATIONAL GUARD: High Desertion Rates.

GAO Reported High Desertion Rates. According to a GAO report released in July, thousands of Iraqi National Guard deserted their posts. Among the Iraqi National Guard, desertions ranged from 30 percent in northeastern and central Iraq to 82 percent around the western city of Fallujah, where insurgents battled besieging U.S. Marines. In all, 12,000 soldiers did not show up for duty.” The GAO concluded that “given the poor performance of the Iraqi security forces during April 2004, it is unclear what level of security they will be able to provide during the period leading up to Iraq’s national elections.” [Washington Post, 8/1/04]

Operations In Najaf Have Led To Desertions In The Iraqi National Guard. “The deployment to Najaf prompted the most desertions since April, when dozens quit over a similar standoff with insurgents in the western town of Fallujah, according to Iraqi defense ministry officials and military officers. Once again, they said, they are faced with the problem of persuading Iraqis to fight Iraqis.” [Knight Ridder, 8/23/04]

IRAQI ARMY: Training Is Going Slowly.

Delay In Training Army. “For the Iraqi army, only about 3,000 soldiers have been trained and deployed in the field, according to Brig. Gen. James Schwitters, commander of the coalition training team assisting the army. One source of delays has been the lack of adequate training sites for recruits, he said.” [Washington Post, 8/1/04]

Three Divisions Yet To Be Trained and Equipped. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi “said that the Iraqi Army's three divisions have yet to be sufficiently trained and equipped.” [Boston Globe, 9/12/04]


Regions Of Iraq Are Still Under The Control Of Insurgents. Major Iraqi cities including Ramadi, Fallujah, Samarra, and Bukhara remain under the control of insurgents. Retaking the cities depends on having adequately trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, which Rumsfeld and Myers admit may not happen until December - one month before Iraq’s scheduled elections. [NBC, “Meet The Press,” 9/12/04; Rumsfeld/Myers New Briefing, 9/7/04; NYT, 9/19/04]

Two Americans Recently Kidnapped In Iraq. Two Americans and a Briton were kidnapped in Iraq by insurgents on Thursday. Throughout the 17-month insurgency, more than 100 foreigners have been kidnapped. [Associated Press, 9/16/04]

More Troops Have Died Since The Handover Of Sovereignty Than In The Initial Invasion. Since the transfer of sovereignty on June 28, at least 214 American troops have been killed; 138 were killed in March and April of 2003. [Washington Post, 9/9/04]

More Troops Died In August Than In July; More In July Than June. In August, 66 U.S. service personnel were killed in Iraq. American forces suffered 54 casualties in July as compared to 42 in the month of June. Halfway through September, 52 U.S. troops have already been killed in Iraq. The toll for September already exceeds that of 10 of the 18 months since the war started. [Wash Post, 9/5/04; LAT, 9/17/04]

Attacks On U.S. Forces Have Been Increasing Since The Transfer Of Sovereignty. “Violence against American forces surged last month to its highest level since the war began last year, with an average of 87 attacks per day.” [NYT, 9/19/04]

Number Of Soldiers Wounded Has Doubled Since April. The total number of American soldiers wounded since the invasion was launched in March 2003 is 7,245. There were more wounded over the past five months - about 4,000 - than in the first 13 months of the war, when there were about 3,300. [Associated Press, 9/1/04, 9/15/04; Time, 9/20/04 issue]

August Was Month of Highest Injury Toll In Iraq. “About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August, by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began...” [Wash Post, 9/5/04]

U.S. Forces Are Still Doing The Majority Of the Fighting. In the recent fighting in Sadr City, U.S. forces “appeared to be carrying out most - if not all - of the fighting.” [Associated Press, 9/7/04]

Iraqi Deaths Escalating. “More than 300 people a month in Baghdad are dying from gunshot wounds, compared with an average of 15 per month in 2002, according to the morgue’s statistics. Staff at the morgue now pile bodies waist-high on the concrete floors of the refrigeration units, said Taha Al-Haili, a pathologist there.” “We had hidden mass graves before. Now we have open mass graves,” Al-Haili said. “Really, it is the same thing: We are losing our people.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/14/04]


North Korean Nuclear Threat Has Increased Under Bush. The Bush administration admits that the North Korea may now have fuel for as many as eight nuclear weapons, yet Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs James A. Kelly told Congress that “it is clear [the U.S. and North Korea] are still far from agreement.” [Washington Post, 4/28/04; USA Today, 7/16/04]

Iranian Nuclear Threat Has Increased Under Bush. Iran has now announced its intentions to process raw uranium, restart its nuclear centrifuges and begin extracting uranium from its central desert in less than two years. Yet the Bush administration “has still not formally signed off on a strategy for Iran since a review of policy was begun in 2001, U.S. officials say.” [Associated Press, 9/1/04, 9/4/04; Washington Post, 7/19/04]

Al Qaeda Is Regenerating. “For the past several months, the president has claimed that much of Al Qaeda’s leadership has been killed or captured; the new evidence suggests that the organization is regenerating and bringing in new blood.” [New York Times, 8/10/04]

Less Fissile Material Secured After 9/11 Than Before. A Harvard University study found that “less fissile material was secured in the two years after September 11, 2001, than in the two years just before.” In many cases, the administration is allowing bureaucratic problems to slow progress. [Harvard Study, “Securing The Bomb: An Agenda For Action” May 2004]

**** ENDS ****

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