by R. Jeffrey Smith – R. Jeffrey Smith is the managing editor for national security at the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to producing original investigative journalism. A draft military report on a “Decade of War” reveals U.S. armed forces haphazardly entered misunderstood conflict zones and mismanaged manpower.
When President Obama announced in August 2010 the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, he complimented the soldiers who had served there for completing “every mission they were given.” But some of military’s most senior officers, in a little-noticed report this spring, rendered a harsher account of their work that highlights repeated missteps and failures over the past decade, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
There was a “failure to recognize, acknowledge and accurately define” the environment in which the conflicts occurred, leading to a “mismatch between forces, capabilities, missions, and goals,” says the assessment from the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. The efforts were marked by a “failure to adequately plan and resource strategic and operational” shifts from one phase of the conflicts to the next.
For more on this story, visit: International – R. Jeffrey Smith – U.S. Military Admits Major Mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan – The Atlantic.
Ten years of war have given the U.S. military more than its share of frustrations. According to an internal Pentagon study, two of them were as fundamental as they were related: Troops had terrible intelligence about Iraq and Afghanistan, and they told their own stories just as badly.
Those are some preliminary conclusions from an ongoing Pentagon study into the lessons of a decade of combat, authorized by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the multi-tour Iraq veteran and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Neither of these criticisms are unfamiliar to observers (and veterans) of the war. But the study is designed to help shape the military of the 2020s — which could accordingly see a greater emphasis on both local knowledge of foreign hotspots and, well, spin.
For more on this story, visit: War Study: Troops Had Bad Intel, Worse Spin | Danger Room | Wired.com.