Jan 23, 2007

Petraeus On Errors Made By U.S. In Iraq

Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is poised to become the top commander in Iraq, believes that the U.S. government has made a host of serious mistakes there, according to written testimony he submitted yesterday to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Among the errors he cites are inadequate planning for the occupation, failing to recognize the emergence of the insurgency, not having enough troops in certain areas and holding elections in such a way that they deepened Iraq's sectarian divisions.

Some excerpts:

  • "[T]here were a number of assumptions and assessments that did not bear out. Prominent among them was the assumption that Iraqis would remain in their barracks and ministry facilities and resume their functions as soon as interim governmental structures were in place."

  • "There was the feeling that elections would enhance the Iraqi sense of nationalism. Instead, the elections hardened sectarian positions as Iraqis voted largely based on ethnic and sectarian group identity."

  • "There was an underestimation of the security challenges in Iraq. . . . It repeatedly took us time to recognize changes in the security environment and to react to them. "

  • "Disbanding the Iraqi army . . . without simultaneously announcing a stipend and pension program for those in the Army. . . ."

  • "We took too long to recognize the growing insurgency and to take steps to counter it, though we did eventually come to grips with it."

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