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The U.S. Military Index: Grading The War

Five years into the war in Iraq, the index’s officers have an overwhelmingly negative view of many of the most important early decisions that have shaped the war’s course. They believe more troops were needed on the ground at the start of the fighting. They believe disbanding the Iraqi military was a mistake. In fact, ...

Five years into the war in Iraq, the index’s officers have an overwhelmingly negative view of many of the most important early decisions that have shaped the war’s course. They believe more troops were needed on the ground at the start of the fighting. They believe disbanding the Iraqi military was a mistake.

In fact, asked to grade a set of the war’s most prominent command decisions on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning the decision had a positive impact and 1 meaning the decision had a negative impact, the officers give troop levels at the start of the war a 3.3 and judge the order to disband the Iraqi military at 3.1, lower than any other policy decision measured. Asked more generally whether the civilian leadership set reasonable or unreasonable goals for the military to accomplish in post-Saddam Iraq, almost three quarters of the officers say the goals were unreasonable.

The officers do not, however, necessarily believe that victory is beyond reach. Nearly 9 in 10, for instance, say that the counterinsurgency strategy and surge of additional troops into Baghdad pursued by Gen. David Petraeus, the chief U.S. commander in Iraq, is raising the U.S. military’s chance for success there.

Download the complete U.S. Military Index data:

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