I haven't had a chance to look at the just-released Army study of the Iraq War (just finished meeting some demanding deadlines at work, and the PDF for the study is STILL downloading). However, I'll pass along one preliminary observation.
Yesterday, I heard Donald Wright, one of the authors of the report, on The News Hour. I was listening to it on the car radio, which can be hazardous to your health if you hear someone say something so stupid that you almost lose control of the vehicle in anger and disbelief. When asked to explain the avalanche of bad decisions in 2003 to 2005 that made the Iraq war the nightmare that it has been, Wright said that the Army was unprepared for an "unprecedented" kind of war.
Unprecedented. Mull that word over for a moment. Unprecedented. Happily, you're not driving this blog post while reading this post (but if you are, you're already endangering yourself and other drivers.)
Sure, he used contemporary Army jargon about "full spectrum operations." In Iraq terms, that means simultaneously handling offensive operations, defensive operations, population security, civic action projects, and a bunch of other stuff. Wow, that's tough. Never faced anything like that before, Wright said.
Unprecedented, only if you overlook the Vietnam War.