Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Within 60 days of the invasion of Iraq, the present disaster was evident
From Ewen MacAskill at The Nuargiad
John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess"..That assessment is reinforced by Major General Albert Whitley, the most senior British officer with the US land forces....The mistakes include:
· A lack of interest by the US commander, General Tommy Franks, in the post-invasion phase.
· The presence in the capital of the US Third Infantry Division, which took a heavyhanded approach to security.
· Squandering the initial sympathy of Iraqis.
· Bechtel, the main US civilian contractor, moving too slowly to reconnect basic services, such as electricity and water.
· Failure to deal with health hazards, such as 40% of Baghdad's sewage pouring into the Tigris and rubbish piling up in the streets.
· Sacking of many of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party, even though many of them held relatively junior posts.
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