WASHINGTON – The U.S. military lost its dominance
in Iraq shortly after its invasion in 2003, a study concluded.
A report by the U.S. Army official historian said the military was hampered by the failure to
occupy and stabilize Iraq in 2003. As a result, the military lost its
dominance by July 2003 and has yet to regain that position.
"In the two to three months of ambiguous transition, U.S. forces slowly
lost the momentum and the initiative gained over an off-balanced enemy," the
report said. "The United States, its Army and its coalition of the willing
have been playing catch-up ever since."
The report was authored by Maj. Isaiah Wilson, the official historian of
the U.S. Army for the Iraq war. Wilson also served as a war planner for the
army's 101st Airborne Division until March 2004, Middle East Newsline reported. His report, not yet
endorsed as official army history, has been presented to several academic
In November 2003, the military drafted a formal plan for stability and
post-combat operations, Wilson said. Termed Phase-4, the plan was meant to
follow such stages as preparation for combat, initial operations and combat.
"There was no Phase IV plan," the report said. "While there may have
been plans at the national level, and even within
various agencies within the war zone, none of these plans operationalized
the problem beyond regime collapse. There was no adequate operational plan
for stability operations and support operations."
Other military commanders, including former Central Command chief Gen.
Tommy Franks, have disputed Wilson's conclusions. They said the military
entered Iraq with a stabilization plan.
The report disclosed the lack of planning by the U.S. military for the
occupation of Iraq. Over the last year, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and his aides have been blamed for lack of post-war planning based on their
assessment that the military campaign in Iraq would be brief and quickly
lead to a democratic and stable post-Saddam Hussein government.
In contrast, Wilson said army planners failed to understand or accept
the prospect that Iraqis would resist the U.S. forces after the fall of the
Saddam regime. He deemed the military performance in Iraq mediocre and said
the army could lose the war.
"U.S. war planners, practitioners and the civilian leadership conceived
of the war far too narrowly," the report said. "This overly simplistic
conception of the war led to a cascading undercutting of the war effort: too
few troops, too little coordination with civilian and
governmental/non-governmental agencies and too little allotted time to