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No Plan, No Peace – The Inside Story Of Iraq's Descent Into Chaos - BBC1 Documentary 10.15pm - 28th Oct 07

Politics / Iraq War Oct 28, 2007 - 03:26 PM GMT

By: BBC

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleFor the first time on British television, John Ware looks at what became of the Bush-Blair dream of turning Iraq into a stable, democratic, human rights-respecting showcase for the Middle East.

The programme asks how the American and British Governments undertook the biggest occupation of a foreign country in modern times without a coherent plan.


It reveals, with testimony from British and Americans who were there, how the drumbeat to war drowned out the repeated warnings from British Generals, civil servants and the British Embassy in Washington of the "black hole" in American post-war planning.

One General, seconded to work with the Americans, recalls their position: "The long-term plan was – we do not need a plan."

Initially only 170 officials, mainly American, were sent in to administer a country with a population of 26 million and they acknowledge they were totally ill-equipped for the task.

One former American Ambassador, who became the Mayor of Baghdad, says: "We were really using a Lonely Planet guide book from some time in the early Nineties. It's a great guide book but it shouldn't be the basis of an occupation."

Almost five years after the occupation began, nearly 4,000 American troops and 170 British soldiers have been killed. Conservative estimates put the total of civilian deaths at 90,000, with four million Iraqis displaced, and the cost so far of trying to win the peace at almost $450b.

Part 1 - on BBC 1 Sunday 28th October at 10.15pm

Part 2 - on BBC1 - Monday 29th October 2008 at 10.45pm

In the second part of his investigation into what many consider the most serious British foreign-policy debacle in the past 50 years, John Ware reveals criticism of the mismanagement of the occupation through the testimony of high-ranking diplomats, senior political advisors and the top military commanders who were there.

Having invaded without a detailed plan of governing a country of 26 million Muslims, British and American officials tell the programme the assumptions made about Iraq were badly wrong.

The programme looks at how anarchy and looting on an industrial scale dominated from the start. The security problem goes from bad to worse – 500,000 tonnes of ammunition were left unguarded and slipped into the hands of criminals and insurgents. Some would argue that the Coalition began on the back foot and never recovered the initiative.

One former British General who was part of the reconstruction team described the situation in Iraq as "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory".

KR


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