When the western coalition invaded Iraq the problem was not the initial military campaign; Saddam Hussein was toppled in just days. It was instead the lack of adequate planning for the post-invasion scenario, with insufficient thought given to how the country would be run after the invasion.
Most news channels are focusing this morning on William Hague’s comments (on the Andrew Marr Show) that Gaddafi’s time is running out. (Some defecting officers, never the most reliable of sources, also told a Sunday newspaper that the regime is crumbling).
If this is the case, however, where is the reconstruction plan? In Hague’s own words, there is one, but it is only in “embryonic” form. It involves keeping some of the “technocrats” in the current government rather than repeating the mistakes of the “de-Baathification” of Iraq*, he said. The foreign secretary said he hoped that the National Transitional Council in eastern Libya would soon “put more flesh on the bones of” the proposals. They don’t sound as detailed as one might hope at this stage.
* When Saddam loyalists, who knew how to run the country, were rooted out of the government and administrative apparatus.
UPDATE: Also worth observing that Hague acknowledged that we could now be there for the long haul, contrary to the early indications from the coalition:
“We’re not going to set a deadline. You’re asking about Christmas and who knows?…. It could be days or weeks or months. It is worth doing.”