Obama Demands Pentagon Release Unclassified Study of Postwar Iraq Plan to Congress
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today sent the following letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, calling on him to immediately release an unclassified study of the postwar planning for Iraq prepared by the RAND Corporation in 2005. According to press accounts, the Army suppressed the RAND study after it concluded that the Bush Administration failed to address the enormity of Iraq's reconstruction challenges. In the letter, Obama also called on Gates to justify his decision if the report is not released.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary Gates:
I am troubled by news reports that the U.S. Army suppressed an unclassified study of the planning for postwar Iraq prepared by the RAND Corporation because it was critical of the White House, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies.
Press reports indicate RAND submitted an unclassified version of the report titled "Rebuilding Iraq" in 2005 in the hope that its publication would contribute to the public debate about how best to prepare for future conflicts. The RAND study reportedly concluded that the Administration miscalculated the requirements for reconstruction and that "there was never an attempt to develop a single national plan that integrated humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, governance, infrastructure development, and postwar security." It also reportedly concluded that poor planning had "the inadvertent effort of strengthening the insurgency" because of the lack of security and basic services for Iraqis.
The conclusions of this report emphasize yet again the need for transparency in the management of postwar efforts in Iraq to ensure that our current approach is not jeopardizing our military's efforts to bring this war to a responsible end. Accordingly, I ask that the Department of Defense provide a copy of the unclassified report prepared by the RAND Corporation on "Rebuilding Iraq" to Congress. If the unclassified report will not be provided to Congress, I ask that you provide a justification for this decision.
I look forward to your prompt response. Thank you.
United States Senator