Vintage Wolfowitz

Kevin Drum points to some statements Paul Wolfowitz made in the lead up to the war in Iraq. Among them:

Mr. Wolfowitz…opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, “wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

….In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo.

He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that “stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible,” but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it. “I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction,” Mr. Wolfowitz said. He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help.

….Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath would take more time, he said. “I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact,” Mr. Wolfowitz said. Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high….Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. “To assume we’re going to pay for it all is just wrong,” he said.

3 thoughts on “Vintage Wolfowitz”

  1. You forget that these troop estimates have always been a political football, and the new political leadership at the Pentagon largely put a stop to the learned helplessness of the Clinton administration when faced with this type of subterfuge from the armed services.

    I’ve just read Samantha Power’s A Problem from Hell, which I’d strongly recommend. In it, she writes of how the military were willing to go into Bosnia when the European efforts collapsed, WITH SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND TROOPS. They wanted twenty thousand alone for securing Sarajevo airport, which the French eventually did with roughly a thousand legionnaires.

Comments are closed.