Lt.Gen. Jay Garner Director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, in Washington and from March, in Baghdad January – May 11. 2003
Quality of information trumps quantity During Garner’s short reign the planning started for an Iraqi force. It was named ’New Iraqi Corps’, NIC, and the focus was on quantitative aspects. How many divisions ready for action when? How many instructors are needed for training them, and so on and so forth. One overlooked snag was the meaning of NIC in Arabic. It means ”fuck”. ’NIC’ in other words communicated total ignorance of Arabic and of Iraqi culture. It took three weeks before the name was changed to New Iraqi Army.
Timing is often as important as quantity In late May 2003 Ambassador Paul Bremer decided, one of the first decisions he made in his new capacity as Presidential Envoy to Iraq, that the original Iraqi Army should be disbanded without exceptions. The consequences were disastrous, since NIC or NIA was not yet an alternative. Four and a half years later NIA is still not functioning too well.
Quantitative information can be treated as irrelevant if the use of the right wording is forbidden. Months before the Rwandan genocide took place the plans were delivered to UN HQ from the Force Commander Romeo Dallaire. When the genocide actually started in April 1994 the official use of the word ’genocide’ was forbidden within UN. If that word had been used a full scale intervention would have been mandatory for many states according to earlier UN resolutions against genocide. The Rwandan genocide was during the critical months characterised as ’mass killings’, ’tribal killings’, ’acts of genocide’, but never ’genocide’.
Finally, on May 17, 1994, after several hundred thousands killed, the UN conceded that "acts of genocide may have been committed." Still the word ’genocide’ was not considered appropriate or relevant.