The Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Anthony Cordesman has penned a new analysis of the American experience in Iraq, titled “American Strategic, Tactical, and Other Mistakes in Iraq: A Litany of Errors.” Examining planning before, during, and after the initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Cordesman claims that a “litany of errors” has been committed along the way and that if it wants to succeed in Iraq, it needs to deal with what went wrong without playing the “blame game.” For starters, Cordesman says that the Office of the Secretary of Defense put “intense pressure” on the military for the lowest possible level of military deployment. After the invasion, errors arose from failures to properly assess tribal affiliations, diplomatic back channels, and over-reliance on exile groups that had limited credibility. In order to succeed at this point, Cordesman says, the US needs “ruthless self honesty and objectivity” in crafting strategies and directing resources.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.