BASRA POSTMORTEM….The New York Times reports on why Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s offensive in Basra stumbled so badly:
Interviews with a wide range of American and military officials…suggest that Mr. Maliki overestimated his military’s abilities and underestimated the scale of the resistance. The Iraqi prime minister also displayed an impulsive leadership style that did not give his forces or that of his most powerful allies, the American and British military, time to prepare.
“He went in with a stick and he poked a hornet’s nest, and the resistance he got was a little bit more than he bargained for,” said one official in the multinational force in Baghdad who requested anonymity. “They went in with 70 percent of a plan. Sometimes that’s enough. This time it wasn’t.”
That sounds….familiar, doesn’t it? Seems like the leadership team of some other country did pretty much the same thing in Iraq a few years back. It’s no wonder Bush is such a fan of Maliki: he sounds like a chip off the old block.
But then there’s this, describing what happened shortly after the offensive began:
In Baghdad, [Ambassador Ryan] Crocker lobbied senior officials in the Iraqi government, who complained that they had been excluded from Mr. Maliki’s decision-making on Basra, to back the prime minister’s effort there.
“I stressed the point that this was a moment of national crisis, and they had to think nationally,” Mr. Crocker said. “Because nobody should think that failure in Basra is going to benefit any element of the Iraqi community. The response was good. I have not found any element of the Iraqi government that will admit to being consulted.”
Is this a typo? Or am I missing something? What does Crocker mean when he says the “response was good” but no one would “admit to be being consulted”? In what way is this a good response?