Opinion

May 4, 2005 3:00 AM

Lessons from Iraq: Rand offers War 101 textbook

It isnt all that often that a think tank dependent on government contracts dares tell the emperor that he is naked, and that makes a recent Rand Corp. report to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on lessons learned in Iraq all the more remarkable. The Rand report puts the finger on what went wrong there and makes a case for change, and even urgency in fixing those problems in a brief and frank distillation of what its researchers found in more than 20 studies focused on the Iraq invasion and what has followed. Rand, although independent now, was originally formed by the U.S. government and is often hired by the Pentagon to conduct major research on military operations. The Rand researchers found that the shock and awe air attacks against the enemy leadership did not achieve the advertised objectives of decapitating, isolating or breaking the will of that leadership. They added that future operations should not be predicated on expectations of fast regime collapse through air attacks because of a host of limitations, some self-imposed to avoid civilian casualties.

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