Too much optimism

Billmon at Daily Kos has a military man’s evaluation of how things are going so far. It’s fairly downbeat. I’d love to have reactions from those in a position to evaluate this material: Phil Carter of Intel Dump, for example.

Some questions from a non-specialist:

1. To what extent were war plans, and especially the relative economy of ground forces, shaped by overoptimism about the prospects for a coup, mass Iraqi defections/surrenders, and uprisings in support of the liberating forces? I know Barry McCaffrey has been complaining about this. Is he right?

2. Were the troops in the field given overoptimistic views of the likely reaction of the enemy? (There have been several reports of US soldiers surprised that the Iraqis were fighting back.)

3. If there was overoptimism, to what extent was it shaped by a White House intolerant of bearers of bad tidings?

What strikes me as odd is that the very same people who described SH’s rule as “Stalinist” — which seems to be a good description — also expected the regime to fold quickly in the face of an attack. That never really added up. Does the name “Stalingrad” ring a bell?

[Phil Carter’s responses here.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: