Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP: U.S. may have botched training of Iraqis

According to the report, co-authored by Hamilton and former Attorney General Edwin Meese, the U.S. erred by first assigning the task of shaping the judicial system in a largely lawless country to the State Department and private contractors who “did not have the expertise or the manpower to get the job done.”

In 2004, the mission was assigned to the Defense Department, which devoted more money to the task. But department officials also were insufficiently trained for the job, Hamilton and Meese said.

As a result, Iraq has little if any on-the-street law enforcement personnel or a functioning judicial system free of corruption, they said.

Justice Department officials, they said, should lead the work of transforming the system. Police executives and supervisors should replace the military police personnel now assigned.

And the FBI should expand its investigative and forensic training in Iraq, Hamilton and Meese told the panel.

The recommendations about the Iraqi judicial system were included in the Iraq Study Group’s report last year, but got little attention.

The word “botched” sure gets used in sentences that include the word “Iraq” a lot these days…

This appears to be yet another example of lack of planning and incompetent execution on the part of the administration in terms of the post-invasion period.

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4 Responses to “U.S. May Have Botched Training of Iraqis”

  1. Steven Plunk Says:

    Given the cost in treasure and blood would we also call NASA a “botched” endeavor?

    Some things a nation undertakes are so very difficult and costly we wonder if it is worth it. That doesn’t necessarily mean there was a “lack of planning or incompetent execution”. It’s just damn hard to some things like put men on the moon or change Iraq.

    In the long run we learn from our mistakes but keep working toward the goals stated.

    The hindsight of Hamilton and Meese can be used for future planning but personally I’m getting tired of all these media attention addicts doing their work in hindsight. When are they going to get out there and be productive with some foresight?

  2. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:


    This is not just about something being hard–this is about something being hard and being done poorly. It seems quite clear that the administration utterly botched the post-invasion period. If you have evidence to the contrary, feel free to bring it up.

    The administration clearly went into this without a clear plan as to what was going to happen after the government was toppled, They clearly believed that the new government would mostly spring forth out of nowhere. It has not, as should have been obvious, and so we are where we are.

    That’s not negativity, it’s reality.

  3. Steven Plunk Says:

    Dr. Taylor,

    With respect, the question of having contrary evidence is a bit of trick. In situations such as war you can always say things could have been done better but you can also say things could have been done worse. It could easily turn into dueling assertions with nothing being proven to the satisfaction of each party.

    I guess (I’m falling into this) you could say we have succeeded in keeping casualties lower than expected during the invasion (I believe you must keep the entire operation together, pre-invasion, invasion, and post invasion), we have an Iraqi government in place (not the best but it is a government), intervention by Iran and Syria has been kept somewhat minimal, a complete civil war has been avoided (some would dispute this), and we have certainly planted the seed of democracy within Iraq.

    If you want failure look to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. All of the above listed moderate successes failed to materialize during that operation.

    Keep in mind failure of a plan (or lack of superbe success) doesn’t mean there wasn’t a plan. I hardly see the present Iraqi government as springing forth from no where but a result of planning and implementation by the US.

    A quick look at history’s military disasters will show “botched” operations that make Iraq look anything but.


  4. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    No, you can’t really lump the invasion and post-invasion together-they are two wholly different phases. Knocking over the government was easy. Building a new one, that’s hard.

    However, we haven’t done a very good job of the latter.

    A quick look at history’s military disasters will show “botched” operations that make Iraq look anything but.

    That would be true only if we were to look at this situation as solely a military op. It isn’t–it is far more complex that that and on the part that is going to matter 5, 10, 15 years down the road, we haven’t done an especially good job.

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