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Home | The Sunni Heartland | The Unexpected War | Paying the Price

The Unexpected War

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"Bring 'em on"

photo: Tom Bullock

So there was another anxiety: were there enough troops in Iraq to do the job?

Before the war, Pentagon planners said additional troops for post-war Iraq were unnecessary, as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz made clear in prewar congressional testimony.

"It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine."
- Wolfowitz' testimony to Congress, February 2003.

By July, even as the average death rate averaged one U.S. soldier a day, President Bush concurred with the Pentagon's original assessment.

"Bring 'em on. We have the force necessary to control the security situation." -President Bush, responding to a reporter's question in a White House news briefing on July 2, 2003.

By September, the White House had to reverse the assessment, the U.S. could not go it alone, after all. Critics say U.S. planners should have anticipated the problems.

Next: Learning from past experience