U.S. Ignored Militia Warnings

Every now and again it’s tempting to become “reasonable” and imagine that the Bush administration isn’t quite so insular and close-minded and impervious to common sense as it’s usually portrayed to be. But then comes along an article like this telling us that, no, it’s all true:

U.S. officials were warned for more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq’s security forces and taking control of neighborhoods, but they failed to take action to counteract it, Iraqi and American officials said….

“The American politicians couldn’t understand the deepness and complications of the region,” said Falah al-Nakib, the interior minister from June 2004 to April 2005, who said he raised the militia problem and the growing Iranian influence in Iraq with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. “They didn’t take us seriously.”…

Senior officials dismissed the reports as “nay-saying” and “hand-wringing,” said two former senior officials in Washington who were responsible for Iraq policy through most or all of that period and one top official who remains in government.

Any complaints that went against the steady drumbeat of triumphalism were waved aside. Sound familiar? (Maybe they figured the “biased” media was inflating the strength of the Badr Corps.) Granted, stopping the infiltration of Shiite militias was a difficult task in any case, but stories about senior officials ignoring steady streams of dire warnings about this or that have also become much too common to be chalked up to mere coincidence.