Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Failing To Plan Means Planning To Fail

Every teacher knows: If you don't plan, you are planning to fail.

The top Marine Corps commander knows it, too. Gen. Mike Hagee told CBS News he asked repeatedly about the post-Saddam plan for Iraq's major cities, and never got an answer. In other words, there was no plan:

As Commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during the lead-up to the war, Hagee was in charge of planning for the Marines' original push to Baghdad. So I asked him about one of the enduring mysteries of the invasion -- why there was no real plan for running the country once Saddam Hussein fell from power.

Unfortunately, Hagee's comments only deepen the mystery. He says he was deeply concerned about who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, like Najaf, as the Marines pushed through them on their way to Baghdad.

Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV -- military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military -- and never heard back.

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