Columbia International Affairs Online

CIAO DATE: 8/5/2007

Iraq: "The Wrong War at the Wrong Time with the Wrong Strategy"

Letter from the Project for the New American Century to President Clinton

Public Law 105-338: Iraq Liberation Act of 1998


Iraq: "The Wrong War at the Wrong Time with the Wrong Strategy"

Dan Caldwell,
Distinguished Professor of Political Science
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263

Columbia International Affairs Online

Observations from many of those who have studied and evaluated the United States' war in Iraq have been scathing.  The respected Washington Post writer and author of prize-winning military histories, Thomas Ricks, began his acclaimed book, Fiasco, by claiming: "President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy."[1]  Author George Packer and former Coalition Provisional Authority senior advisor, Larry Diamond, contend that the Bush administration's actions in the war may amount to "criminal negligence."[2]  Respected American diplomat and foreign policy advisor to three presidents, Ambassador Dennis Ross claims: "In the end, the Iraq case stands as a model for how not to do statecraft."[3]  And Republican Senator Gordon Smith has stated: "I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day.  This is absurd.  It may even be criminal."[4]  Even Iraqis are critical of the United States' effort; Ali Allawi, a member of the transitional Iraqi parliament has written, "Bush may well go down in history as presiding over one of America's great strategic blunders."[5]  General Anthony Zini, the former commander of the Central Command (CENTCOM) in an interview on "60 Minutes" called the Iraq war "the wrong war at the wrong time with the wrong strategy."[6]

These are harsh critiques by both those who supported and opposed the onset of the war in Iraq.  A number of those who were involved in the planning and implementation of the war and its aftermath have published their memoirs including Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, General Tommy Franks, Dr. Larry Diamond and David Phillips.  A number of other respected journalists (James Fallows, George Packer, Bob Woodward, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Thomas Ricks, Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor) conducted interviews with those involved with the war from President Bush down to enlisted military personnel fighting the war. Given these memoirs and secondary accounts, a rather comprehensive description and evaluation of the war is possible.[7]

For his part, President Bush has been unwilling to assess the war or the decisions leading to it; according to him, "I have not looked back on one decision I have made and wished I had made it a different way."[8]  Perhaps, one can understand the president's hesitance to engage in assessment and evaluation in the midst of war, but if the United States is to learn from the mistakes of this war, then evaluation, assessment and criticism are essential.  A problem in the evaluation of contemporary policy, however, is that many policymakers and academics are hesitant to engage in a robust, searching criticism of policy issues.  Why?  Strong criticism by current policymakers could end promotions or even careers.  Indeed, in the Navy, adopting and voicing a strong opinion that goes against the interests of the Navy, such as opposing the building of more aircraft carriers, is known as "falling on your sword," that is committing professional hari kari.  Academics in universities and think tanks are also hesitant to criticize strongly current U.S. government policies because of possible contracts with governmental agencies or potential interest in serving in government service sometime in the future.  Strong criticism could result in the cancellation or non-renewal of research or consulting contracts or could preclude government service in the future.

If we are to hope to avoid costly mistakes like the Iraq war in the future, then it is essential to evaluate what went wrong in Iraq, and that is the central objective of this paper.  I focus on the mistaken assumptions of those who planned the war, U.S. relations with other countries in planning and prosecuting the war, faulty intelligence, the military war plan and campaign, and postwar mistakes.  The temporal focus is on the period from September 11, 2001, until 2007.  Having no government contracts or consultancies and no desire to serve in a future U.S. governmental position, I attempt to be as honest, direct and even blunt as possible.  The human and economic costs of war demand that.


A number of the members of the George W. Bush administration had previously served in the administration of his father, including Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Richard Haass, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Paul Wolfowitz, and a number of these policymakers had come to the conclusion that leaving Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War of 1991 had been a major error.  Wolfowitz, in particular, focused on this error writing and speaking about the issue frequently and urged that the Iraqis be encouraged and empowered to overthrow Saddam.[9]  In January 1998, the Project for the New American Century sent President Clinton a letter signed by eighteen former foreign policymakers including Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, and Richard Armitage.  The letter said, "The policy of ‘containment' of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months…Diplomacy is clearly failing…[and] removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power…needs to become the aim of American foreign policy."[10]  This letter helped to lead to the bipartisan passage of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, which stated, "it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime [of Saddam Hussein] from power."[11]  Subsequent to the passage of this law, the Congress appropriated one hundred million dollars with the purpose of ending Saddam's reign of terror.  But regime change was supposed to be carried out by the Iraqis with the financial assistance of the United States.[12]

When George W. Bush entered office, his foreign and defense policy priorities focused primarily on national missile defense and China.  The attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, changed those priorities instantly and dramatically.  On the evening of the attacks, Bush noted the significance of the attacks: "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today."[13]  Just as Pearl Harbor marked a dramatic change in the orientation and conduct of the United States in international relations, the 9/11 attacks also marked a significant departure, but the substance and direction of American policy in this new world depended upon both the realities confronting the U.S. and the assumptions that policymakers made about this new environment.  What were these assumptions and on what evidence were they based?

Reporter Ron Suskind met with an unnamed senior advisor to President Bush who told the reporter that people like him were "‘in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'  I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism.  He cut me off.  ‘That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued.  ‘We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.  And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out.  We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"[14]

The manufactured "realities" of the Bush administration sprang from certain fundamental assumptions.  The first and one of the most important of these was that the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and Iraq were directly linked.  The day after the attacks, Bush told his counterterrorism analysts, "‘See if Saddam did this.  See if he's linked in any way.'  The head of the counterterrorism group, Richard Clarke, replied, ‘But, Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this.'  And the president responded by saying, ‘I know, I know but…see if Saddam was involved.  Just look.  I want to know any shred.'"[15]  According to CIA Director George Tenet, "During meetings at Camp David the weekend following the terrorist attacks, Paul Wolfowitz in particular was fixated on the question of including Saddam in any response."[16]  Over the next week, the president repeatedly came back to the possible connection between Saddam and al Qaeda mentioning it to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton, and to National Security Council advisor Condoleezza Rice.  Six days after the attacks, the president told his senior advisors, "I believe Iraq was involved."[17]  Two and a half months after the 9/11 attacks, Bush told Rumsfeld, "Let's get started on this.  And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to."[18]  By February 2002, Bush ordered Franks to begin moving troops to the Persian Gulf, and the next month, the president made his intentions explicitly clear to Condi Rice and three senators: "Fuck Saddam.  We're taking him out."[19]  The president reached this policy despite the fact, according to George Tenet, the "CIA found absolutely no linkage between Saddam and 9/11."[20]

The focus on Iraq was strengthened by the belief that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a belief that was held by United Nations inspectors, the CIA and non-governmental analysts.[21]  This belief supported the fear that al Qaeda could possibly obtain WMD from Saddam, and if this were done, the potential damage that al Qaeda could inflict would make the losses of 9/11 pale by comparison.  Saddam actually encouraged the belief that Iraq possessed WMD in order to deter both the United States and Iran with disastrous results for him and his country.[22]

Donald Rumsfeld, the man who had served as both the youngest (under Gerald Ford) and the oldest (under George W. Bush) secretary of defense, came into office believing that modern technology and communications provided the capability for a "revolution in military affairs," but the U.S. uniformed military was too conservative and tradition-bound to accept a radical, new approach.  Rumsfeld planned to transform the American military by forcing it to accept and exploit the new technologies.[23]  Some, if not most, military officers were skeptical about the claims of Rumsfeld and his civilian aides; for example, General Hugh Shelton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired in September 2001 in part because he was dubious about Rumsfeld's claims for the new approach.[24]  There were, however, some high-ranking officers who supported Rumsfeld's attempt to "transform" the Department of Defense.  In evaluating the war plan developed by his CENTCOM predecessor, General Anthony Zinni, General Tommy Franks wrote: "The existing plan, OPLAN 1003, had last been updated after Desert Fox in 1998, but it was based on Desert Storm-era thinking.  It was troop-heavy, involving a long buildup and a series of air strikes before boots hit the ground.  It didn't account for our current troop dispositions, advances in Precision-Guided Munitions, or breakthroughs in command-and-control technology—not to mention the lessons we were learning in Afghanistan."[25]  General Franks, like Rumsfeld, emphasized the importance of the pace of operations—speed—versus the importance of mass in military operations.   According to Franks, "the victory in Desert Storm proved that speed has a mass all its own" and "speed kills…the enemy."[26]

In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan, destroyed al Qaeda training bases, and overthrew the Taliban government of Mullah Omar.  This was accomplished with only 400 CIA paramilitary and U.S. military Special Forces officers calling in airstrikes using extremely accurate weapons and coordinating with Northern Alliance forces on the ground.  When the war in Afghanistan was won quickly and with few American casualties, it looked as if Rumsfeld was right and the skeptical generals were wrong.  According to Thomas Ricks, "Rumsfeld had come out of the Afghan war believing that speed could be substituted for mass in military operations."[27]  Like Afghanistan, an attack on Iraq, Rumsfeld believed, would result in a quick victory and American forces would be able to withdraw from Iraq quickly after their victory.  And Rumsfeld had those who supported his thinking applied to Iraq.  General Franks was one of those, and Rumsfeld's former assistant, Ken Adelman, wrote in the Washington Post in February 2002, "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."[28]

A further assumption is that American soldiers in Iraq would be welcomed and greeted as liberators rather than as occupiers.  The mental image was of Normandy in June 1944 following the D-Day landings.  The month before the United States invaded Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz assured the Congress, "I am reasonably certain that they [the Iraqi people] will greet us as liberators, and they will help us keep the troop commitments down."[29]  Iraqi exiles in the United States assured members of the Bush administration that Iraqis would greet American troops "with flowers and sweets" and that the 25 million Iraqis "would rush to the side of a U.S.-supported opposition."[30] The further assumption was that the ensuing occupation of Iraq would be similar to the occupation of Germany and Japan.  Officials going to Iraq to work for the CPA were reported to be reading books on the post-World War II occupations, and one of Ambassador Bremer's advisors, Hume Horan, told him, "‘They're calling you the ‘MacArthur of Baghdad,' Jerry."[31]  Both Germany and Japan had surrendered unconditionally in World War II, so there was no question about who had won the war and who would make decisions after the war.  In addition, both Germany and Japan were ethnically homogenous compared to the ethnically mixed composition of Iraq, and Germany had had some experience with a democratic form of government during the Weimar period.  Iraq was a very different case in these respects, but those who assumed that it would be like Germany and Japan did not recognize or adequately appreciate these significant differences.

If Iraq was going to be like Germany and Japan, then it was assumed that democracy would take hold in Iraq and would spread from there to the rest of the Middle East.   The theory was that the attraction of democracy would cause it to spread across the Middle East, a kind of democratic domino theory.  The empirical evidence for this assumption was weak if not non-existent, but it became a powerful argument in favor of attacking Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein.  When the National Intelligence Council sponsored a study published in January 2003 entitled "Can Iraq Ever Become a Democracy?" it concluded: "Iraqi political culture is so imbued with norms alien to the democratic experience…that it may resist the most vigorous and prolonged democratic treatments."[32]

Of course, the spread of democracy was the political solution to Iraq's problems in the view of those who supported the war.  What about the economic question: how would Iraq support itself after the war?  Members of the Bush administration assumed that postwar reconstruction would be "self-financed" through the export of Iraqi oil.  Wolfowitz assured Congress that Iraq was "a country that can really fianace its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."[33] Following the invasion, however, American petroleum specialists found that the Iraqi oil industry was out of date and that much of the equipment needed extensive repair or replacement, so this assumption proved to be mistaken as well, as even Ambassador Bremer candidly recognized: "Reality on the ground made a fantasy of the rosy prewar scenario under which Iraq would be paying for its own reconstruction through oil exports within weeks or months of liberation.  We were clearly involved in a long-term project of nation-building here, like it or not."[34]

The Bush administration assumed that 9/11 and Iraq were directly linked, that the revolution in military affairs would enable the U.S. to invade and defeat Iraq quickly and with relatively few costs, that the occupation would be similar to that in Germany and Japan, that democracy would take hold in Iraq and then spread throughout the Middle East and that Iraq reconstruction would be financed by the sale of Iraqi oil.  Plans built on erroneous assumptions cannot succeed, and in the Iraq War the most basic assumptions were mistaken and doomed the American effort from the start.  According to CIA Director Tenet, "We followed a policy built on hope rather than fact."[35]  Others have noted that the Bush administration's foreign policy was "faith-based" rather than reality based.[36]


Based on the unrealistic and overly optimistic assumptions described above, the Bush administration concluded that the United States would not require the assistance of other countries in invading and occupying Iraq.  In the post-9/11 world, the U.S. would act alone if necessary; in the words of the 2002 National Security Strategy: "While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country…"[37] In a meeting with Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel, the president commented, "At some point we may be the only ones left.  That's okay with me.  We are America."[38]

President Bush entered office clearly favoring a unilateralist approach to dealing with international problems and issues.  Bush was opposed to the Kyoto Treaty limiting greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  In addition, he was opposed to the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, which President Clinton had signed prior to leaving office.  Bush "unsigned" the treaty, the first time in American history that such an action had ever been taken.  The Bush administration refused to participate and sign a protocol to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which stipulated verification procedures for the agreement.  And President Bush refused to re-submit the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for ratification to the Senate, which had earlier rejected it, an action that many viewed as the most significant rejection of a treaty since the rejection of the Treaty of Versailles following World War I.  These decisions and actions clearly demonstrated that the Bush administration preferred to go it alone.

The 9/11 attacks on the United States temporarily changed the administration's view.  Following the attacks, President Bush and his foreign policy advisors recognized that multilateral cooperation was an absolute necessity to deal effectively with terrorism.  The President accepted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's invocation of Article V of the NATO Treaty, which stipulated that an attack on one member was to be considered an attack on all NATO members.  NATO sent eight airborne warning and control aircraft (AWACS) staffed by non-American crews from Europe.  These planes provided defense of the United States and was the first time since the days of Layfayette and the American Revolutionary War that non-Americans protected the U.S. homeland.  In addition to the support from NATO, the United Nations passed a resolution the day after the attacks condemning them and authorizing "all necessary steps" to respond to the attacks.  Following the attacks, the United States enjoyed support from the international community that had not been seen since the days of World War II and its aftermath.  For example, on the day after the attacks, the French newspaper, Le Monde, carried the banner headline, "Nous Sommes Tous Americains" ("We Are All Americans").

As the Bush administration moved closer to war with Iraq, it moved away from its post-9/11 multilateralist orientation.  Just nine days after the attacks, the president said, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.  Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."[39]  One analyst studied the number of times that the president repeated this phrase and found that he did so ninety-nine times in the two years after 9/11.  The president announced a new policy of preemption, more accurately preventive war, in his commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 2002: "We must take the battle to the enemy…In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action.  And this nation will act."[40]  The announcement of this new doctrine was very controversial and divided the United States and the allies that had supported it in the days and weeks following 9/11.  The invasion of Iraq on March 18, 2003, turned this division into fissures in the western alliance, and there were substantial economic, political, and diplomatic costs to this ever-increasing chasm.

The cost of going it almost alone (with the United Kingdom) had significant economic costs to the United States.  The first Gulf War cost a total of $55 billion dollars; American allies, principally Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Arab Gulf countries and Japan reimbursed the U.S. all but five billion dollars of this cost.  Thus, the United States wound up paying less than ten percent of the cost of the first Gulf War. 

During the period between the first and second wars in Iraq (1991-2003), the U.S. enforced no-fly zones in Iraq at a cost of approximately one billion dollars per year.  Other military operations such as military training exercises in the region added another $500 million to the annual cost of supporting the containment of Iraq.[41]  Thus, the total annual cost to the United States of containing Iraq during the years 1991-2002 was $1.5 billion, an amount equal to the cost of three days of maintaining U.S. operations in Iraq by July 2007.

Bush administration policymakers were concerned about the potential cost of war in Iraq.  For example when General Tommy Franks briefed Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld about the plan for attacking Iraq, Rumsfeld asked, "How much is all this going to cost?"   According to Franks' autobiography, "With Rumsfeld, money was always an issue.  ‘A lot,' I said.  ‘I'll get back to you with the number.'"[42]  Those who actually got back to the administration with estimates did not fare well.  For example, when Bush's economic advisor Lawrence Lindsay predicted that the second Iraq War could cost as much as $200 billion, he was criticized for over-estimating the cost of the war and was fired from his position.[43]

In fact, Lindsay's predictions were way off the mark; they were far too low.  Linda Bilmes, an assistant secretary of commerce in the Clinton administration and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist, have estimated that the total costs of the Iraq are likely to exceed two trillion dollars, one order of magnitude higher than Lindsay's estimate.[44]  By July 2007, the Government Accountability Office estimated that the monthly cost of the war was $10 billion, a very far cry from the overly optimistic, unrealistic estimates of supporters of the war in the Bush administration.  Even with the high costs of the war, had the United States sought and achieved international support prior to the war, as it did in 1990-1991, the costs of the war could have been shared by allies, but President Bush and his administration insisted that the United States would go it alone if necessary, and that was an historically costly decision.

The United Nations had passed resolutions calling for UN inspections of Iraq following the first Gulf War of 1991, and the UN inspection teams in Iraq destroyed more weapons in the course of its work than were destroyed during the war itself.  In addition, the UN passed a number of supportive resolutions following the 9/11 attacks.  There was a clear division within the Bush administration concerning the value of working with the United Nations concerning Iraq.  Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld did not want to go through the United Nations prior to attacking Iraq, but Secretary of State Colin Powell, joined by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, wanted UN approval should an invasion become necessary.  Powell won one of his few bureaucratic battles and went to the UN to present the intelligence information to justify the invasion.  Much of the information that Powell presented was suspect or downright inaccurate, and this increased the growing gap between the United States and its traditional European allies with the exception of the United Kingdom. 

The decision to attack Iraq had significant effects on the United States' relations with long-standing allies.  Within one year of the 9/11 attacks, American-German relations were "at their lowest levels in decades,"[45] and Gerhard Schroeder based his campaign for the office of chancellor on opposition to U.S. foreign policy.  As the New York Times noted editorially, "The was the first time since World War II that a leader of a major ally won an election by campaigning against American policy."[46]  By mid-2007, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called the American occupation of Iraq "illegal" and warned his fellow Arab leaders of the United States' growing influence in the Middle East.[47]

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, it did so with twenty-three other coalition partners, which was slightly less than the number of allies that the U.S. had in the first Gulf War; however, these were very different partners.  In the 1991 Gulf War, in addition to the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan sent military forces to assist the United States.  In the 2003 coalition, the long-standing traditional European allies of the U.S., which Rumsfeld derisively dismissed as the "old Europe," were replaced by the "new Europe" which consisted mostly of the newly independent states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet bloc.  When the invasion began, the total contribution of troops by the twenty-three coalition partners was equal to less than 24,000, and most of these were British.[48]

When the United States attacked Iraq, its international support declined significantly, and the longer that the war lasted, the more American prestige declined.  Indeed, international support for the United States went from one of its highest points following the 9/11 attacks to its lowest points following the occupation of Iraq.  This was the first major war since the Spanish-American War in which the United States had few significant allies.[49]


On August 26, 2002, Vice President Cheney confidently announced, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction…There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us."[50]  In October 2002, a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the formal assessments of the U.S. intelligence community, stated that Iraq "is reconstituting its nuclear program."[51]  In January 2003, Paul Wolfowitz stated, "There is incontrovertible evidence that the Iraqi regime still possesses such [nuclear] weapons."[52]  By early 2003, the message was loud and clear: Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and chemical weapons), and they posed a clear and present danger to the United States.  What was the basis for these claims and to what extent were they simply a means that the Bush administration used to gain public support for invading Iraq?   

By definition, intelligence is a process fraught with uncertainty and ambiguity and is even more so when analyzing a repressive, closed society such as Iraq or North Korea.  In addition, the United States government had moved increasingly to technologically based intelligence collection such as satellite reconnaissance and the monitoring of electronic signals, and by 2002 the CIA had only one case officer spying from inside Iraq.  By the time Baghdad fell in 2003, the CIA station in Baghdad had only four case officers who were fluent in Arabic.[53]  Given the shortage of case officers fluent in Arabic and who were able to fit into Iraqi society, it is not surprising that the CIA had a difficult time gaining accurate intelligence on Iraqi WMD programs.

Because of the paucity of agents in Iraq, the U.S. government came to rely on an Iraqi exile, Ahmed Chalabi, for intelligence on Iraq.  Chalabi and his family had left Iraq in 1958, and he had grown up in Britain and the United States.  He earned a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago and pursued a number of (sometimes shady) business ventures in the Middle East.  After the first Gulf War, he helped to found, with the CIA's assistance, the Iraqi National Congress.  He claimed to have substantial support in Iraq, and Chalabi was successful in convincing the Department of Defense of his bona fides.  For example, Richard Perle, the prominent neo-conservative and chairman of DOD's Defense Policy Board said that Chalabi "is far and away the most effective individual that we could have hoped would emerge in Iraq…In my view, the person most likely to give reliable advice is Ahmed Chalabi."[54]  Among Chalabi's plans was one to create an "Iraqi Freedom Force" which he indicated would consist of 15,000 Iraqi exiles.  DOD supported this and assigned 800 American military officers to train the Iraqi exile force.  By the time the war started, there were a grand total of seventy-seven Iraqi exiles who constituted the entirety of the Iraqi Freedom Force.[55]  Chalabi also provided intelligence that proved to be inaccurate or downright false concerning supposed Iraqi WMD.  Following the U.S. invasion and failure to find WMD, Chalabi commented, "As far as we're concerned, we have been entirely successful.  The tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad.  What was said before is not important."[56]

Rumsfeld and his closest aides in the Department of Defense did not have high confidence in the intelligence assessments of the CIA and the State Department.  According to Richard Perle, "Let me be blunt about this: The level of competence on past performance of the Central Intelligence Agency, in this [WMD in Iraq] is appalling."[57] Therefore, Rumsfeld tasked a former aide to Perle and then undersecretary for policy, Douglas Feith, with establishing an in-house intelligence operation within DOD, which was part of the Office of Special Plans.  The idea is that this office would take a new, fresh look at intelligence in order to avoid the "bias" of the CIA. For example, four months after the 9/11 attacks, Wolfowitz sent a memo to Feith demanding that his office pul together intelligence linking al Qaeda and Iraq.[58] Although he had the support of Rumsfeld, Feith and his Office of Special Plans were not respected by other American policymakers.  Tenet referred derisively to papers coming out of this office as "Feith-based" analysis[59] and General Franks derisively dismissed the views of Feith, his civilian overseer in the Pentagon.[60]  

The CIA, Chalabi and Feith were not the only sources of intelligence for the U.S. government.  United Nations inspectors had been in Iraq from the end of the first Gulf war in 1991 until Saddam kicked them out of the country in 1998, and they were convinced that Iraq possessed WMD.[61]  In addition, American allies in the region thought that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.  On January 23, 2003, King Abdullah of Jordan warned General Franks: "…‘from reliable intelligence sources, I believe the Iraqis are hiding chemical and biological weapons.'"  Four days later, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned the general that Saddam Hussein "‘is a madman.  He has WMD—biologicals, actually—and he will use them on you and your troops.'"[62]   The warnings and the evidence that he saw led CENTCOM commander Franks to conclude, "I had no doubt WMD would be used against us in the days ahead."[63]

Other allies were not so confident about the intelligence conclusions that American policymakers were presenting.  In May 2002, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI-6 (the intelligence organization in the United Kingdom responsible for foreign intelligence) and David Manning, Prime Minister Blair's national security advisor, visited Washington and met with Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Scooter Libby and Congressman Porter Goss who at that time was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. [64]    Upon their return to London, Manning's asssistant wrote a memo summarizing the major points discussed at the meeting.  Dearlove reported, "military action was now seen as inevitable.  Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.  But the intelligence and the fact were being fixed around the policy."[65]

The most dramatic moment of the WMD debate occurred when Colin Powell went to the United Nations to present the evidence on which the United States was basing its case against Iraq.  Powell and his staff worked very hard on the presentation and removed much of the material suggested by DOD and Vice President Cheney's office.  Secretary Powell contended that Iraq possessed mobile biological weapons laboratories and showed photos of what he contended were these labs.  "There can be no doubt," Powell told the Security Council, "that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capacity to produce more, many more."[66] In the end, much of what Powell presented was false and this episode became the low point of his distinguished career.

In addition to the WMD issue, members of the Bush administration sought to use intelligence in order to link Iraq directly to al Qaeda.  On October 7, 2002, President Bush claimed, "Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gas."  He also asserted, "We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy: The United States of America."[67]  After he retired from the CIA, Dr. Paul Pillar, the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, commented, "Intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions that had already been made."[68]  In the end, the United States did not find WMD in Iraq and with the exception of a small number of Arabs in the Ansar al-Islam group on the Iran-Iraq border, al Qaeda did not have much of a presence in Iraq before the war.[69]

Why did the administration focus on the issue of WMD, almost to the exclusion of all other issues?  First, members of the administration and their critics believed that Iraq possessed WMD.  Second, members of the Bush administration linked al Qaeda and Iraq and warned of the threat of terrorists obtaining WMD.  Third was a political argument: WMD was the "least common denominator" in the Iraq issue; according to Paul Wolfowitz, "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction."[70]

In the end, the two intelligence chiefs of the two principal members of the coalition were very critical of the use of intelligence by their governments.  Sir Richard Dearlove, according to George Tenet, "believed that the crowd around the vice president was playing fast and loose with the intelligence" and that Scooter Libby had tried to convince Dearlove that there was a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.[71]  For his part, in his memoirs, Tenet acknowledged the shortcomings of the CIA and also repeatedly noted a central problem of intelligence in the Bush administration: "Policy makers have a right to their own opinions, but not their own set of facts."[72]


The planning for the war in Iraq was influenced by the assumptions described in the first part of this paper.  In particular, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the top U.S. military leaders assumed, in the view of General Tommy Franks, that "the Revolution in Military Affairs…was no longer mere hyperbole.  It would become the new reality of war."[73]  In many respects, Franks' prediction was correct: utiliziing advanced technology and modern weapons, coalition forces were able to defeat Iraq's military forces in only twenty-one days with casualties of 139 killed in action and 542 wounded.  By May 2003, President Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln with a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished."  But was it?  Is it accurate to claim that a war only consists of the military interactions divorced from the actions that follow acute combat operations?  In this section of the paper, I will examine the war planning for Iraq and the way that the Bush administration's plan played out.[74]

Planning for a possible war in Iraq began soon after the first Iraq war ended in 1991.  A standard practice of the military is to plan for various contingencies, and given the bellicose actions of Saddam Hussein even after his country had been decisively defeated in 1991, there was ample cause for the U.S. military to plan for eventual war against Iraq.  While he was commander of CENTCOM, General Anthony Zinni developed OPLAN (Operational Plan) 1003-98, a contingency plan that called for up to 500,000 troops and a possible postwar occupation of Iraq for up to ten years.[75]  When Lieutenant General Greg Newbold briefed Secretary Rumsfeld, JCS Chairman Myers and other top military leaders, it was clear that Rumsfeld was unhappy with the plan, which in his view required too many troops and supplies and would take too long to implement.  Instead, Rumsfeld wanted to get in, defeat Saddam's forces quickly and to get out of Iraq.  But was that possible?

Rumsfeld was not the only one who was unhappy with OPLAN 1003-98.  CENTCOM commander Franks characterized it as "stale, conventional, predictable.  Worst of all, it is premised on continuing the policy of containment."[76]  It was, according to the general, "basically Desert Storm II," simply a warmed over version of the first Gulf war plan.

In the first Gulf war, the United States and its thirty coalition partners deployed 560,000 military personnel to the region to fight and defeat Iraq.  As disscussed earlier, Rumsfeld believed that generals tended to plan for the future based on the past, that a revolution in military affairs had occurred, and that the United States needed to exploit these changes in the conduct of war.  The war in Afghanistan provided the first test case of the application of these new technologies and had been a great success.  Why then, Rumsfeld asked, could they not be applied with equal success to Iraq?

Many of the uniformed senior officers were not as enthusiastic about the efficacy of the revolution in military affairs as Rumsfeld and his military and civilian aides.  For example, Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Steve Hawkins in February 2003 estimated that no fewer than 350,000 coalition troops would be needed to provide stability in the aftermath of a war to overthrow Saddam.[77]  General Hawkins forwarded his estimate to Army Chief of Staff Eric Shenseki who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 25, 2003.  The senior ranking Democrat on the committee asked, "Gen. Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army's force requirment for an occupation of Iraq following a successful completion of the war?"

Shinseki replied, "In specific numbers, I would have to rely on the combatant commander's exact requirements.  But I think…"

Levin interjected, "How about a range?"

"I would say," the general continued, "that what's been mobilized to this point, something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers, are probably, you know, a figure that would be required…[Iraq is a large country with competing ethnic groups] so it takes significant ground forces to maintain a safe and secure environment to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, al the normal responsbilities that go along with administering a situation like this."[78]  Shinseki's estimate of the number of troops required for an effective occupation was supported by a number of generals including Major General William Nash, General Barry McCaffrey, and others who had previously served in the post-conflict environments of Bosnia and Kosovo.[79]

Despite the fact that those who had experience in occupations commonly held Shinseki's views, his comments created a firestorm within the Pentagon.  Two days after his testimony, Paul Wolfowitz characterized Shinseki's estimate as "wildly off the mark" and added, "It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and secure the surrender of Saddam's scurity force and his army."[80]  Shinseki's estimates ultimately proved to be accurate and yet, despite or rather because of his honesty, he was forced to retire in June 2003.

For his part, Colin Powell was also concerned about the unrealistic assumptions for the invasion and occupation.  Powell had been the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf war and was, therefore, very familiar with the issues involved concerning a war with Iraq.  Having served in Vietnam, Powell, like many of his fellow officers of that era, wanted the United States only to go to war only if three conditions were met: substantial public support, willingness to use overwhelming force and an exit plan from the war.  In the discussions leading to the war, Powell raised criticisms concerning the assumptions that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were making.  In his memoirs, General Franks dismissed Powell's concerns in a condescending manner: "Colin had concerns.  He was from a generation of generals who believed that overwhelming military force was found in troop strength—sheer numbers of soldiers and tanks on the ground.  As Chairman of the Joint Shiefs of Staff during Desert Storm, General Colin Powell had seen the number of coalition ground forces rise to more than five hundred thousand.  Indeed, this principle of overwhelming force was often referred to as the ‘Powell Doctrine.'"[81]  Interestingly, Franks did not address or even recognize the other two elements of the Powell Doctrine--the need for public support and an exit plan from the war—which would prove to be critical.

Ultimately, the United States invaded and defeated the Iraqi military with a force of 145,000, which was less than half the number of forces called for in General Zinni's OPLAN 1003-98.  As it turned out, even though the United States deployed between 140,000 to 175,000 to Iraq at various times during the war, General Shinseki's estimate proved to be, in fact, the number of forces that were required for the occupation of Iraq.  Unwilling to admit their disastrous under-deployment of troops to Iraq, the Bush administration made up for the shortfall by hiring civilian contractors to do many of the jobs that in previous conflicts would have been performed by members of the military.  By mid-2007, the number of civilian contractors in Iraq equaled 130,000.[82]  Added to the 150,000 soldiers and marines, this totaled 280,000, which was close to the 300,000 troops called for in OPLAN 1003-98 and as General Shinseki had predicted.

CIA Director George Tenet summarized the acute combat phase of the war and the "peace" that followed: "On a scale of one to ten, the plan to capture the country scored at least an eight.  Unfortunately, the plan for ‘the day after' charitably was a two.  The war, in short, went great, but peace was hell."[83]


Most strategists consider the acute combat phase of war only to be part of it; postwar operations are vital to the prosecution of a successful military campaign.  In the case of Iraq, postwar reconstruction of the country was both vital and difficult.[84]  The Rumsfeld-Franks' war plan recognized the importance of a postwar phase of military operations.  According to the plan, there would be four phases of the war plan; Phase IV was the postwar phase and was designed to be short, and American forces were supposed to begin withdrawing from Iraq within ninety days of the end of the war and to reduce the American presence to 25,000 to 30,000 troops by late summer.[85]  But the political, economic, religious and ethnic realities in Iraq made the achievenment of this plan impossible, and the war dragged on leading jounalist Thomas Ricks to conclude: "It now seems…likely that history's judgment will be that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003 as based on perhaps the worst war plan in American history."[86]  What went wrong with postwar operations?

In February 2003, the month before the invasion, Douglas Feith from DOD and Marc Grossman from the State Department briefed members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the administration's postwar plans for Iraq.  Grossman noted that the U.S. would "stay as long as necessary in Iraq, but not one day more," and Feith noted, "A lot depends on what the nature of the war is, how much destruction there is, how much cooperation one gets, how many Iraqi units defect.  The most you can do in planning is develop concepts on how you would proceed, not rigid plans based on some inflexible assumptions about how future events are going to unfold."  Senator Joseph Biden was not satisfied with the vague, general presentations from the two administration officials and commented, "One of the things [we] are worried about is that you don't have a plan."[87]  In fact, Biden was correct; if the administration's assumptions concerning the short duration of the occupation were incorrect, there was no systematic back-up plan, no "Plan B."

As the United States moved toward war, both the U.S. government and various think tanks and policy organizations focused their attention on the requirements for postwar operations in Iraq.  The State Department, RAND Corporation, Council on Foreign Relations, Center for International and Strategic Studies, Army War College, U.S. Institute of Peace, National Defense University, Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Atlantic Council of the United States all produced studies of what was needed in postwar Iraq.[88]  The historical record is clear: there was no shortage of thinking about postwar Iraq; in fact, there was a great deal of thinking about the issues.  What were the conclusions of these studies and was there any consensus?

In April 2002, the State Department organized the Future of Iraq Project, which involved seventeen U.S. federal agencies, was headed by a veteran State Department official, Tom Warrick, and ultimately cost five million dollars.  It involved 240 Iraqis and produced a thirteen-volume study focusing on a number of diverse issues including the generation of electricity, the running of ports and social and economic issues in Iraq.[89]  The group's report did not present an operational plan for postwar Iraq, but it did address many of the issues that would confront those responsible for postwar Iraq.  The State Department pressed for it to be in charge of Iraqi reconstruction but was opposed by the vice president's office and DOD.  Postwar planning became a bureaucratic battle within Washington.  In early January 2003, President Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive number 24 giving the Department of Defense complete control over postwar planning and operations in Iraq.[90]  Two months before the war began, retired Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner was appointed to be in charge of postwar operations in Iraq, to be called the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA).  Garner's contact in the Pentagon, Douglas Feith, told him he would only be in Iraq for ninety days.  The decision for DOD to run postwar operations in Iraq was significant because it was the first time since World War II that the State Department was not given the responsibility for taking charge of a postwar situation.[91]  Before he left for Iraq, Garner held a series of meetings with experts and he recalled, "There was this one guy who knew everything, everybody," and that was Tom Warrick.[92]  Garner asked him how he knew so much, and Warrick told him about the Future of Iraq Project.  Garner then asked him to come to work for him.  Warrick worked briefly for Garner and then was fired reportedly on orders from Rumsfeld and Cheney.[93]  So one of the most knowledgable people about postwar Iraq within the U.S. government was excluded from working on the topic about which he was an expert.  The firing of Warrick illustrated the serious inter-agency problems that existed.

The RAND Corporation, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in the United States, sponsored a study of seven previous cases of nation-building undertaken by the U.S. government: West Germany (1945-1952), Japan (1945-52), Somalia (1992-94), Haiti (1994-96), Bosnia (1995-present), Kosovo (1999-present), and Afghanistan (2001-present).[94]  Overall, the RAND study found that successful occupations required enormous investments of resources for a period of five years at a minimum.  A key conclusion of the study was "There appears to be an inverse correlation between the size of the stabilization force and the level of risk.  The higher the proportion of stabilizing troops, the lower the number of casualties suffered and inflicted."[95]  The report claimed that more rather than fewer peacekeeping forces were desirable and based this conclusion on the analysis of ratios of peacekeepers to civilians in the cases that it examined.  In Bosnia and Kosovo, there was one peacekeeper per twenty civilians.  If this ratio was applied to Iraq, a peacekeeping force of almost 500,000 would be required, but that clearly went far beyond what DOD was willing to commit.  Soon after Paul Bremer was appointed to replace Garner as the American proconsul in Iraq, James Dobbins, the principal author of the RAND study, visited Bremer in his Pentagon office and gave him a draft copy of the report.  Bremer read the study and recalled in his memoirs, "Although I was not a military expert, I found the conclusions persuasive.  And troubling."[96]  Bremer gave a copy of the report to Rumsfeld but never received a response to it.  Rumsfeld and his aides had a plan for Iraq and would not allow it to be de-railed by the "reality-based community."

It quickly became apparent that the United States did not have enough troops in Iraq to stabilize the post-conflict situation.  Jay Garner noted, "We did not seal the borders because we did not have enough troops to do that, and that brought in the terrorists."[97]  Bremer arrived in Baghdad on May 11, 2003, and within two months recognized that there were not enough troops in Iraq.  On a trip to Washington, Bremer told NSC advisor Condoleezza Rice, "In my view, the Coalition's got about half the number of soldiers we need here and we run a real risk of having this thing go south on us."[98]  Despite the conclusions of General Shinseki, the RAND Corporation and the two principal American decisionmakers in Iraq, the Pentagon resisted sending more troops to Iraq; it had a plan, and it was not going to divert from it even in the face of tangible evidence that more troops were needed.  As journalist Michael Gordon and retired Marine General Bernard Trainor concluded, "The violent chaos that followed Saddam's defeat was not a matter of not having a plan but of adhering too rigidly to the wrong one."[99]           

The failure of the United States to send enough troops to Iraq was exacerbated by the first two orders that Bremer promulgated soon after his arrival in Iraq.  The Baath Party had approximately one and a half million members under Saddam Hussein, but of these only about 25,000 were active party members. Four days after his arrival in Baghdad, Bremer issued Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Order Number 1 calling for the "de-Baathification" of Iraq.  At the time that this order was issued, unemployment in Iraq was more than fifty percent.  Disqualifying, in effect firing, members of the Baath Party increased unemployment and alienation significantly.  Like so many of the issues concerning Iraq, the de-Baathification order reflected the bureaucratic battle in Washington.  For its part, the State Department had favored a "de-Saddamification" policy, but the Vice President and Secretary of Defense and their staffs favored de-Baathification, and the order was implemented on the President's guidance, according to Bremer.[100]  Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi Shiite exile leader favored by DOD, was put in charge of de-Baathification and broadened the scope of the order from its orginal relatively narrow scope to include, for example, teachers who had joined the party in order to keep their jobs.  In his memoirs, Bremer admits that this was a significant error: "Clearly I had been wrong to give a political body like the Governing Council responsibility for overseeing the de-Baathification policy."[101]  Likewise, the Iraq Study Group acknowledged the error of de-Baathification when it noted, "Political reconciliation requires the reintegration of Baathists and Arab nationalists into national life, with the leading figures of Saddam Hussein's regime excluded."[102]

On May 23, Bremer issued CPA Order Number 2 calling for the dissolution of the Iraqi Army, the defense ministry and Iraq's intelligence agencies.[103]  This single decree fired the 385,000 members of the armed forces, 285,000 interior ministry forces and 50,000 presidential security personnel for a total of 720,000 people.  This had profound implications for Iraqi society and the American occupation.  The average Iraqi family contains six people, so CPA Order Number 2 affected the lives of more than four million Iraqis, about seventeen percent of Iraq's total population.[104]  When Garner heard about the impending disbanding of Iraqi security forces, he went to Bremer with the CIA Baghdad station chief and strongly objected.  The CIA official told Bremer that the order would only "give oxygen to the rejectionists."[105]  Both General Franks and his successor, General Abazaid, were opposed to disbanding the Iraqi military.[106]  The order was issued without discussing it with CIA Director Tenet, and there is some evidence that the order may have been issued without President Bush's advance knowledge.[107]

With the promulgation of CPA Orders 1 and 2, the United States disqualified former Baathists and members of Iraqi defense forces from participating with the Coalition Provisional Authority in the rebuilding of their country.  Rumsfeld's decision not to send enough American troops to Iraq and Bremer's decision to disband the Iraqi military had a multiplicative, negative effect and made it difficult to provide for the absolute necessity of any successful postwar occupation, security.

Having disqualified former Baathists from participating in the government, the CPA had to rely on its own resources for establishing the new government.  Despite the large numbers of Americans going to Iraq at the end of combat operations, the CPA was chronicly understaffed, and there were several causes and effects of this.[108]  First, many Iraqis were denied the opportunity to gain experience in running a government during the transitional period of the occupation and these exclusions added to the demands on the CPA.  Second, many jobs simply did not get done, or done well, given the pressures on staff members.  Third, the CPA relied heavily on exiled Iraqis, such as Ahmed Chalabi, Nuri al Maliki, Ayad Allawi and Ali Allawi, who had been out of the country for decades and only returned with the end of military operations.  Some of these were competent, but others were marginally qualified.  General Franks, for example, referred to Chalabi as "a ‘Gucci leader' who would never be able to unite the ethnic and religioius factions."[109]  Fourth, given the shortage of qualified Iraqis, the CPA relied on a number of young, inexperienced advisors.  Jay Hallen, a twenty-four year old, recent graduate of Yale who had majored in political science, was put in charge of establishing the Iraqi stock exchange.[110]  Another 25-year old helped write Iraq's interim constitution while he was completing his law school application.[111]  One CIA officer in Baghdad sent his impressions to Tenet one month after the CPA had taken over: "Boss, that place [the CPA] runs like a graduate school seminar, none of them speaks Arabic, almost nobody's ever been to an Arab country, and no one makes a decision but Bremer."[cxii]  At the time that the Iraq Study Group prepared its report, it noted that the situation with regard to linguists had not changed much: of the 1,000 Americans at its embassy in Baghdad, there were thirty-three Arabic speakers, and of these only six were fluent.[113]  The shortage of personnel, inexperience and downright incompetence of the coalition authority caused some in the military to quip that CPA stood for "Can't Provide Anything."

The "thing" that the CPA had increasing problems providing was the single most essential requirement for the stability of the new Iraq: security.  The failure to provide security became obvious for the world to see in the days following the entry of the U.S. Army into Baghdad when many Iraqis took to the streets and looted government ministries, office buildings, Saddam's palaces, and other targets of opportunity.  Tom Warrick, the director of the State Department's Future of Iraq Project, had provided the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) a list of the vulnerable sites to be secured after the invasion, but either this list was not passed on to the military field commanders, or it was ignored.[114]  Even the Iraqi National Museum was pillaged and the only site that ORHA protected from looting was the oil ministry, which, of course, led many Iraqis to conclude that the U.S. had invaded and occupied Iraq for only one reason: oil.  The U.S. government's response to the looting exacerbated the problems.  Bremer favored changing the military's rules of engagement to authorize American soldiers to shoot looters.  When this proposal was leaked to the press, it caused such a furor that this change was not adopted.[115]  When Rumsfeld was asked about the looting, he responded, "Stuff happens…Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things."[116]  There were significant costs to the failure of the U.S. to respond to looting effectively.  The economic cost was estimated to be $12 billion.[117]  Images of the looters contrasted with the images of Saddam's statues being pulled down and destroyed and raised questions about the effectiveness of the U.S. occupation.  Bremer himself later admitted, "We paid a big price for not stopping [the looting] because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness."[118]

What could have been done to prevent or reduce the looting?  Changing the rules of engagement could have reduced the looting, but could also have increased Iraqi antipathy toward American forces more quickly.  A more effective means of reducing the looting would have been to increase the number of troops patrolling the streets.  But since there were not enough U.S. troops to do this and because the Iraqi army was disbanded, errors compounded, and the situation in Iraq worsened.


When members of the Bush administration entered office in January 2001, as noted previously in this paper, many members of the new administration's foreign and defense team had worked together before and had great experience.  Both international relations specialists and members of the public assumed that this group would work together as a team and that U.S. foreign policy was in competent hands.  This assumption proved to be questionable due to deep-seated differences among prominent policymakers and their departments and agencies. 

Scholars who have studied the Bush administration have noted the divisions among those responsible for making foreign policy.  Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay identified three distinct groups within the Bush administration: assertive nationalists (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld), neo-conservatives (Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Richard Perle) and pragmatic internationalists (Colin Powell, Richard Haass).  Each of these three groups had a distinctive worldview and preferred means of dealing with international relations in general and Iraq in particular.  The attacks of September 11 reduced the significance of these differences as the nation rallied to defend itself against the clear and present danger of terrorism; however, as the Bush administration moved toward attacking Iraq, these differences became more important and pronounced.  Dov Zakheim, one of a small number of experts who advised George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential campaign and who later served in the Bush administration as the Pentagon's comptroller, noted the extent of the inter-agency differences: "State and Defense were at war—don't let anyone tell you different.  Within policy circles, it was knee-jerk venom, on both sides.  Neither side was prepared to give the other a break.  It began in 2001, got exacerbated during the buildup to Iraq, and stayed on."  Zakheim noted that these differences did not just exist at the top, but affected the "working level" as well and that "people who had to work with, and trust, each other—and they didn't."[119]  Washington Post journalist Karen DeYoung noted that the bureaucratic differences "extended far beyond specific policy disagreements.  It was institutional, ideological and even personal."[120]  General Tommy Franks was blunter, "On far too many occasions the Washington bureaucracy fought like cats in a sack."[121]

Over time the principal differences developed between the Vice President's office and the Department of Defense on one side and the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency on the other.  The events leading to the war in Iraq heightened the disagreements.  For example, Cheney and Rumsfeld claimed that there was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq, but both the CIA and the State Department did not accept this.

Even relations among offices within the executive branch were not cordial.  CENTCOM commander Franks needed to work closely with the designated action officer for Iraq within the Pentagon, Douglas Feith, but General Franks had little or no confidence in Feith.  In his memoirs, Franks recalled a comment he made to a colleague concerning Feith, " I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day."[122]  From Iraq, both Jay Garner and later Paul Bremer reported to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and General Franks and General Sanchez reported to Rumsfeld.  This arrangement violated the hallowed "unity of command" principle of organizational theory.  No single official in Iraq was superior, and the consequences were both evident and negative.  According to journalist George Packer, "Bremer and Sanchez literally hated each other…Jerry [Bremer] thought Sanchez was an idiot, and Sanchez thought Jerry was a civilian micromanaging son of a bitch."[123]  A former high-ranking member of DOD remarked, "They were both right!"[124]

The inter-agency battles in Washington had a direct influence on the plans for governing postwar Iraq.  Each powerful department or agency in Washington has it own preferred postwar leader.  The Department of Defense favored Ahmed Chalabi that is until there were indicators that he was passing U.S. intelligence information to Iran.  The CIA favored Ayad Allawi, and the State Department favored Adnan Pachachi.[125]

In the inter-agency battles, Colin Powell and the State Department were on the losing side time after time.  Finally, Powell had enough and went to the Oval Office in January 2005 for his last meeting with President Bush.  Powell told the president, according to journalist Karen DeYoung, "Senior officials in Rumsfeld's office at the Pentagon were actively and dangerously undermining the president's diplomacy, he said, mentioning several by name.  Bush replied that every administration had similar problems and recaled the legendary battles between Secretary of State George Shultz and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in President Ronald Reagan's administration.  Powell assured him that he had been there, as Weinberger's chief military aide and later as Reagan's national security adviser, and that what was happening now was something altogether different."[126]  In short, Powell told the president that the inter-agency process was broken, a conclusion that was later seconded by the respected American diplomat Dennis Ross who wrote, "divisions within the administration were never resolved" and that the Bush administration's foreign policymaking was characterized by "bureaucratic dysfunction."[127]  Other participants in the Iraq war effort agreed with this critical assessment.  In his memoirs, General Franks remarked, "I wish some things had been done differently.  I wish Don Rumsfled and Colin Powell had forced the Defense and State Departments to work more closely together."[128]

So what if the inter-agency process was, as Powell put it, "broken;" what difference did that make? The principal result of this broken process was that the president, the American government official responsible for making decisions of import, was not presented with options.  According to CIA Director Tenet, "In none of the meetings [concerning Iraq] can anyone remember a discussion of the central questions.  Was it wise to go to war?  Was it the right thing to do?  The agenda focused solely on what actions would need to be taken if a decision to attack were made."[129]  Based on his interviews, Bob Woodward reported, "Both Powell and Rice knew that Powell had never made an overall recommendation on war [against Iraq] to the president since he had never been asked."[130]  Why did the United States go to war against Iraq?  Not even those closest to the policymakers know the answer.  Former State Department official and State Department official Richard Haass told a journalist that he would "go to his grave not knowing the answer."[131]

The National Security Act of 1947 created the National Security Council as the organization responsible for coordinating policy and making recommendations to the president for issues related to the national security of the United States.  The president's assistant for national security affairs is responsible for coordinating the inter-agency process and making recommendations to the president.  During the first term of the Bush administration, Condoleezza Rice held this position and in the view of most observers did not do a good job.  Richard Armitage of the State Department thought that the NSC under Rice was "dysfunctional."[132]  According to a member of Rice's NSC staff, "Condi was a very, very weak national security advisor…"[133]  In his memoirs, George Tenet wrote, "Quite simply, the NSC did not do its job,"[134] and another CIA official was even more critical saying "I think Rice didn't really manage anything, and will go down as probably the worst national security advisor in history."[135]

In the absence of Rice asserting the perogatives of her office, the department of defense and the office of the vice president became the principal sources of national security policy direction in the Bush administration.  Dick Cheney provided overall guidance for the Iraq war, and Rumsfeld conveyed his wishes to the civilian and military leaders in the field.

Cheney was considered to the most influential vice president in history, and he was particularly interested and influential in foreign policy.  In fact, he established a kind of mini-NSC within his office headed by his chief of staff, Scooter Libby.  After he left office, Powell was asked whether a different NSC with more effective leadership would have had an effect on foreign policymaking in the Bush administration and he reponded, "I don't know.  Probably not."  The interviewer asked why not, and Powell responded succinctly with one word, "Cheney."[136]  After leaving office, Powell's long-time aide and chief of staff of the State Department from 2002-2005, Larry Wilkerson, was even blunter: "In President Bush's first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security—including vital decisions about postwar Iraq—were made by a secretive, little-known cabal.  It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld."[137]  The result, according to Wilkerson, was the "ruinous foreign policy of George W. Bush…It's a disaster.  Given the choice, I'd choose a frustrating bureaucracy over an efficient cabal every time."  Former CENTCOM commander, Marine General Anthony Zinni was also scathing in his criticism: "In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption.  False rationales presented as a justification; a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military…"[138]


Scholars have noted that the process of decision making can have an influential effect on the substance of policy.[139]  The short-circuiting of policymaking in the George W. Bush administration clearly had an unfortunate effect on the decision to go to war and on the occupation of Iraq.  What if the assumptions of the proponents of the war would have been subjected to rigorous analysis and assessment?  What if the advice of experts in their field, such as Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, would have been taken seriously rather than dismissed summarily?  What if the president and his national security affairs advisor had insisted that the inter-agency process operate as designed by the National Security Act of 1947?  In the tragedy that developed in Iraq, there are many what-ifs.

Although the ultimate result of the war in Iraq is uncertain at the time of the publication of this paper, several facts are clear: the war has cost the lives of almost 4,000 American military personnel and at least 100,000 Iraqis.[140]  In addition, 25,000 U.S. military personnel have been seriously wounded.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has estimated that close to 1.6 million Iraqis have been displaced since March 2003.[141]  The economic costs to the United States, in contrast to the rosy assurances of members of the Bush administration prior to the war, are estimated to be a minimum of one trillion and more likely closer to two trillion dollars.[142]  No one knows what the economic consequences of the war will be for Iraq.

Who or what is responsible for the mistaken assumptions, faulty intelligence and outright mistakes described in this paper?  President Truman had an engraved plaque on his desk in the Oval Office, which stated the fundamental truth of the presidency: "The buck stops here."  In this sense, President George W. Bush bears direct responsibility for the decision to go to war, the implementation of the occupation and the resulting disastrous effects.  Through the entire war, he has consistently been optimistic about the results of the war assuring aides that the United States was going to win because "we have no other option."  Such optimism in the face of the brutal facts on the ground is at a minimum delusional, if not irresponsible.  But the president does not bear responsibility alone.  Vice President Cheney is second in command in the U.S. government and usurped power to influence policy inordinately.  Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld consistently disregarded the advice of top military leaders.  The top military leaders also bear responsibility.  According to many military officials, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, and the Vice Chairman, General Peter Pace, would not challenge the policy recommendations of their civilian superiors with disastrous results for those whom they led.

The long-term consequences of the war in Iraq are not known at the present time and, indeed, may not be known for years or even decades.  What is clear that this "war of choice" rather than necessity has cost for more lives and national treasure than the members of the Bush administration confidently predicted, that the members of the American and British militaries have paid a disproportionate price in fighting the war, and that it will be many years before Iraq is stable and peaceful.

In his memoirs, General Norman Schwarzkopf wrote, "I am certain that had we taken all of Iraq [in 1991], we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit—we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of that occupation."[143]  As this paper has demonstrated, Schwarzkopf was just one of many voices warning of the dangers and pitfalls of waging war and occupying Iraq, but the Bush administration chose to ignore the warnings of many top civilian and military leaders basing their policies on mistaken assumptions and wishful thinking.  Of the many tragedies related to the Iraq war, perhaps the worst is that many predicted the disastrous aftermath of this war of choice, and only time will tell if Iraq becomes a fatal "tar pit" for the United States.[144]

[1] Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), p. 3.

[2]  George Packer, The Assassin's Gate: America in Iraq (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), p. 448; Larry Diamond, Squandered Victory: The American Ocupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq (New York: Henry Holt, 2005), p. 292.

[3] Dennis B. Ross, Statecraft: And How to Restore America's Standing in the World (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), p. 131.

[4]  Quoted by Timothy Egan, "Courage Without the Uniform," New York Times, June 30, 2007, p. A 27.

[5]  Ali A. Allawi, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), p. 460.

[6]  "Gen. Zinni: ‘They've Screwed Up,'", May 21, 2004; available at

[7]  For a comprehensive bibliography on the Iraq war, see Dan Caldwell, "Selected Bibliography on the Iraq War," Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO).

[8]  Quoted in Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003), p. 200.

[9]  See, for example, Paul Wolfowitz, "Victory Came Too Easily," by Packer, p. 28 and Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad, "Overthrow Him," Weekly Standard.

[10]  Letter from the Project for the New American Century to President Clinton, quoted by Ricks, p. 17.

[11]  Public Law 105-338, adopted October 1998.

[12]  For an excellent analysis, see Robert S. Litwak, Regime Change: U.S. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11 (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

[13]  Quoted by Woodward, p. 24.

[14]  Ron Suskind, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004, p. 51.

[15]  Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2004), p. 32.

[16]  George Tenet with Bil Harlow, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: Harper Collins, 2007), p. 306.

[17]  Woodward, p. 2.

[18]  Woodward, p. 2; also see Tommy Franks with Malcolm McConnell, American Soldier (New York: Regan Books, 2004), p. 315.

[19]  Quoted in Packer, p. 45.

[20]  Tenet, p. 341.

[21]  Author's interviews with members of the U.N. inspection team.

[22]  David Johnston, "Saddam Hussein Sowed Confusion About Iraq's Arsenal as a Tactic of War," New York Times, October 7, 2004, p. A 22.

[23]  Thomas E. Ricks and Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Plans Major Changes in U. S. Strategy," Washington Post, May 7, 2001, p. A 1.

[24]  Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon, 2006), p. 46.

[25]  Franks, p. 329.

[26]  Franks, pp. 165, 400.

[27]  Ricks, p. 75.

[28]  Ken Adelman, "Cakewalk in Iraq," Washington Post (February 13, 2002), p. A 27.

[29]  Paul Wolfowitz quoted by Karen DeYoung, Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), pp. 460-461.

[30]  Woodward, pp. 22, 259; see also Michael R. Gordon, "Faulty Intelligence Misled Troops at War's Start, "New York Times, October 20, 2004, p. A 1.

[31]  Quoted in L. Paul Bremer with Malcolm McConnell, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006), p. 36.

[32]  National Intelligence Council, "Can Iraq Ever Become a Democracy?" cited by Tenet, p. 425.

[33]  Wolfowitz quoted in Bob Herbert, "George Bush's Trillion Dollar War," New York Times, March 23, 2006, p. A 27.

[34]  Bremer, p. 112.

[35]  Tenet, p. 493.

[36]  Robert Jervis, "Understanding the Bush Doctrine," Political Science Quarterly 118, no. 3 (Fall 2003); Ross, p. 125.

[37]  White House, The National Strategy of the United States of America, September 17, 2002.

[38]  Quoted in Woodward, p. 81.

[39]  George W. Bush, "Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People," September 20, 2001, quoted by Daalder and Lindsay, p. 86.

[40]  George W. Bush, "Remarks by the President at the 2002 Graduation Exercise of the United States Military Academy," West Point, New York, June 1, 2002 available at:

[41]  Ricks, p. 15.

[42]  Franks, p. 343.

[43]  Packer, p. 116

[44]  Linda Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz, "Encore," Milken Institute Review 18, no. 4 (Fourth Quarter 2006): 76-83; see also Scott Wallsten and Katrina Kosec, "The Iraq War: The Economic Costs," Milken Institute Review 18, no. 3 (Third Quarter 2006): 16-23.

[45]  Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2002, p. A 3.

[46]  "Germany Speaks," New York Times, September 24, 2002, p. A 30.

[47]  Hassan M. Fattah, "U.S. Iraq Role Is Called Illegal By Saudi King," New York Times, March 29, 2007, p. A 1.

[48]  Ricks, p. 348.

[49]  James Fallows, "The Fifty-First State?" The Atlantic Monthly, November 2002, p. 54.

[50]  Quoted by Elisabeth Bumiller and James Dao, "Cheney Says Peril of a Nuclear Iraq Justifies Attack," New York Times, August 27, 2002, p. A 8.  In his memoirs, George Tenet (p. 315) noted: "The [Cheney] speech went well beyond what our analysis could support."

[51]  National Intelligence Estimate, October 2002, cited by James Risen, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (New York: Free Press, 2006), p. 107.

[52]  The Independent, January 30, 2003 quoted by Mark Bowden, "Wolfowitz: The Exit Interviews," The Atlantic Monthly (July/August 2005): 114.

[53]  Risen, pp. 89, 143.

[54]  Richard Perle quoted by Ricks, p. 57.

[55]  Tenet, pp. 397-398.

[56]  Ahmed Chalabi quoted by David Sanger, "A Seat of Honor Lost to Open Political Warfare,"New York Times (May 21, 2004): A 1.

[57]  Richard Perle quoted in Ricks, p. 54.

[58]  Peter Spiegel, "Investigation Fills in Blanks on How War Groundwork Was Laid," Los Angeles Times, April 6, 2007, p. A 10.  The Inspector General of the Department of defense investigated the operations of Feith's Office of Special Plans and released a report critical of it in April 2007.

[59]  Tenet, p. 321.

[60]  Franks, p. 362.

[61]  Author's interviews with UN weapons inspectors.

[62]  Franks, pp. 418-419.

[63]  Franks, pp. xiv-xv.

[64] Don Van Natta, Jr. "Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says,"  New York Times, March 27, 2006, p. A 1. 

[65] Memorandum from Matthew Rycroft to David Manning, July 23, 2002 ("Downing Street Memo") reprinted in Mark Danner, The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History (New York: New York Review of Books, 2006), pp. 88-89.

[66]  Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger, "Powell's Case, a Year Later: Gaps in Picture of Iraq Arms," New York Times, February 1, 2004, p. A 10.

[67]  President George W. Bush, quoted by David L. Phillips, Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2005), p. 65.

[68]  Paul Pillar quoted by Scott Shane, "Ex-CIA Official Says Iraq Data Was Distorted," New York Times, February 11, 2006, p. A 6; see also Paul Pillar, "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq," Foreign Affairs 85, no. 2 (March-April 2006), pp. 15-28.

[69]  Phillips, p. 159.

[70]  Sam Tannenhaus, "Interview with Paul Wolfowitz," Vanity Fair, June 2003.

[71]  Tenet, p. 310.

[72]  Tenet, pp. 317, 348.

[73]  Franks, pp. 167-168.

[74]  There are several histories of the military aspects of the war including Gordon and Trainor; Ricks; John Keegan, The Iraq War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004) and Williamson Murray and Robert H. Scales, Jr., The Iraq War: A Military History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003).

[75]  Gordon and Trainor, p. 4.

[76]  Franks, p. 331.

[77]  Gordon and Trainor, pp. 101-102.

[78]  The Levin-Shinseki exchange is reprinted in Ricks, p. 97.

[79]  Author's interviews with generals who led previous occupations.

[80]  Paul Wolfowitz quoted by David Rieff, "Whom Bungled the Occupation?" New York Times Magazine, November 2, 2003, p. 44.

[81]  Franks, p. 394.

[82]  John M. Broder, "Filling Gaps in Iraq, Then Finding a Void at Home," New York Times, July 17, 2007, p. A 1.

[83]  Tenet, p. 399.

[84]  Among the best accounts of postwar reconstruction in Iraq are Allawi, Bremer, Diamond, Gordon and Trainor, Packer, Phillips, Nora Bensahel, "Mission Not Accomplished: What Went Wrong with Iraqi Reconstruction," Journal of Strategic Studies 29, no. 3 (June 2006): 453-473, and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).

[85]  Ricks, p. 221; Gordon and Trainor, p. 464.

[86]  Ricks, p. 115.

[87]  These quotations are from the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, February 11, 2003, quoted by Phillips, p. 122.

[88]  James Dobbins, et al., America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2003); Edward P. Djerejian and Frank G. Wisner, Co-Chairs, Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, February 2003); John Hamre, et al., Iraq's Post-Conflict Reconstruction: A Field Review and Recommendations (Washington, DC: Center for International and Strategic Studies, July 17, 2003); Richard W. Murphy, Chair, Winning the Peace: Managing a Successful Transition in Iraq (Washington, DC: American University and the Atlantic Council of the United States, January 2003); Conrad C. Crane and W. Andrew Terrill, Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, and Missions for Military Forces in a Post-Conflict Scenario (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, February 2003); Michael Eisenstadt and Eric Mathewson, eds., U.S. Policy in Post-Saddam Iraq: Lessons from the British Experience (Washington, DC: Washington Institute on Near East Policy, 2003).

[89]  Gordon and Trainor, p. 159; Ricks, p. 102; Phillips, p. 5.

[90]  Tenet, p. 419.

[91]  Michael Gordon, "The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War," New York Times, October 19, 2004.

[92]  Garner quoted in Ricks, p. 102.

[93]  Gordon and Trainor, p. 159; Ricks, p. 102; Chandrasekaaran, p. 37.

[94]  Dobbins, et al.

[95]  Dobbins, et al., p. 154.

[96]  Bremer, p. 10.

[97]  Gordon, "The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War."

[98]  Bremer, p. 106.

[99]  Gordon and Trainor, p. 497.

[100]  Chandrasekaran, p. 69; Packer, p. 195; Tenet, p. 426; Bremer, pp. 45, 57.

[101]  Bremer, p. 297.

[102]  Recommendation 27 in James A. Baker and Lee H. Hamilton, Co-chairs, Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward—A New Approach (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), p. 65.

[103]  The text of CPA Order Number 2 is included as an appendix in Gordon and Trainor, pp. 586-590.

[104]  Ricks, p. 161.

[105]  Tenet, p. 429.

[106]  Franks, p. 441; Bremer, p. 223.

[107]  Tenet, p. 428; Risen, p. 3.

[108]  Diamond, p. 91.

[109]  Franks, p. 421.

[110]  Yochi J. Dreazen, "How a 24-Year-Old Got a Job Rebuilding Iraq's Stock Market," Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2004, p. A 1; Chandrasekaran, pp. 95-99.

[111]  Packer, p. 184.

[112]  Tenet, p. 423.

[113]  Baker and Hamilton, p. 92.

[114]  Phillips, p. 134.

[115]  Patrick Tyler, "New Policy in Iraq to Authorize G.I.s to Shoot Looters," New York Times, May 14, 2003, p. A 1.

[116]  Rumsfeld quoted by Diamond, p. 282.

[117]  Packer, p. 139.

[118]  Quoted in Diamond, p. 288.

[119]  Quoted in Ricks, pp. 102-103.

[120]  DeYoung, p. 332.

[121]  Franks, p. 376.

[122]  Franks, p. 281.

[123]  Packer, p. 325.

[124]  Author's interview.

[125]  Diamond, p. 29.

[126]  DeYoung, p. 10; see also Packer, pp. 444-445.

[127]  Ross, pp.121, 139.

[128]  Franks, p. 544.

[129]  Tenet, p. 308.

[130]  Woodward, p. 437.

[131]  Haass quoted in Packer, p. 46.

[132]  Quoted in DeYoung, p. 477.

[133]  Quoted in Risen, p. 64.

[134]  Tenet, p. 447.

[135]  Risen, p. 64.

[136]  Quoted in DeYoung, p. 520.

[137]  Lawrence B. Wilkerson, "The White House Cabal," Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2005, p. B 11; also see Dana Milbank, "Colonel Finally Sees the Whites of Their Eyes," Washington Post, October 20, 2005.

[138]  General Zinni quoted in Tom Clancy with Anthony Zinni and Tony Koltz, Battle Ready (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2004), p. 426.

[139]  Alexander L. George, Presidential Decisionmaking in Foreign Policymaking: The Effective Use of Information and Advice (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1980); Alexander L. George, Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice in Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1993).

[140]  In 2004, the British medical journal, Lancet, estimated that deaths attributable to the war in Iraq during the period March 2003 to September 2004 exceeded 100,000 people.  In an October 2006 report, Lancet estimated that total deaths in Iraq for the period of March 2003 to July 2006 might have exceeded 650,000.  See the reports at

[141]  Walter Pincus, "1,000 Iraqis a Day Flee Violence, U.N. Group Finds," Washington Post, November 24, 2006.

[142] Bilmes and Stiglitz.

[143]  Norman Schwarzkopf with Peter Petre, It Doesn't Take a Hero: The Autobiography (New York: Bantam, 1992), p. 498.