Ups and Downs in the Iraq War

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On March 19 this year, the US attempted its “decapitation attack” and it failed miserably. In the weeks that followed, the war looked like it was going very badly for the US. Then on April 5, the US entered Baghdad, and all those who drew attention to the flubs and missteps were told to shut up.

At some point in those weeks, Lew wrote his essay “War and Central Planning,” which appeared on April 1, and later appeared in the Free Market. His hook to the piece was the comment byGeneral William Wallace: “The enemy we’re fighting is a bit different from the one we had war-gamed against.”

On May 1, Bush announced that the war against Iraq had been won, and just 43 days after the start of the war. Those who predicted quagmired and drew attention to guerilla fighting early in the war were denounced as naysayers who didn’t understand the all the glorious things that the use of power can accomplish. War games work!

Here we are two months later, and it would appear that the original insights of the anti-war writers, Lew among them, were correct after all. The neocons and the war cheerleaders look rather silly and naive. It is very interesting, at this late date, to reread Lew’s essay and see where he was right and the necons wrong. War games don’t work!

4:20 pm on July 2, 2003