WAR Diary; End of Week One: no plan survives its first brush with reality! The situation from the outside looking in, look, while certainly not hopeless, or even disastrous, let’s just say troubling. We (the United States), have seemingly put too many eggs in one basket. We relied erroneously on the bulk of the Iraqi forces giving up without a fight—well almost without a fight—as they did in the last Persian Gulf War, now called Persian Gulf I. But then, unlike now, we pounded, assaulted, battered, and mauled the Iraqi Army with bombs and missiles to such a degree, that by the time the land war started in earnest, they had had enough, and gave up in large numbers. Now these Iraqi troops in contrast, are putting up a fierce illegal fight, giving the Army and especially, the Marines, no rest, harassing supply lines and whittling away at the nerves and (confidence?) of our troops.
Then too, we relied on Turkey allowing us to open a second front with the 4th Infantry Division (the 4th ID) to the North. And when that didn’t happen, instead of bringing the 4th ID’s heavy tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and armored personnel carriers, south out of the Mediterranean Sea and into the Persian Gulf, we let them linger close to the Turkish coast for almost a month wasting precious time. Now the ships have sailed, but they will not be able to off-load until at least the end of next week! Adding in time to prepare the vehicles for battle and we’re looking at the middle of April before the 4th ID can contribute to the push towards Baghdad.
Further, the lack of sufficient Human Intelligence (HUMIT), on ground in Iraq in the months leading up to this war has proven fatal, because we were caught unawares vis-à-vis the Iraqi irregulars, and militia or so called Saddam Fedayeen. Accurate and timely HUMIT might have shed considerable light on the numbers and concentrations of these civilian guised thugs and marauders.
Lastly, the strategy of playing leap-frog over heavily populated cities based on the forgoing has proved fool hearty, and is contrary to the stratagems of past wars of this magnitude. And while I can certainly understand the desire by U.S. war planners to want to shun the sort of fighting that would be necessary to secure these cities, not doing so has proved problematical to the long supply lines needed to prosecute this war. That, together with the constant and ongoing threat of the irregulars (paramilitary) and Saddam Fedayeen has slowed the progress of this war considerably.
All of these miscalculations and missteps have led to the current situation: troops from southern to central Iraq under constant attack from roaming bands of guerrilla fighters hell-bent on throwing out the invading infidels; supply lines under constant assault from along roads impossible to quell without a campaign of scoured earth warfare; a lack of true American military presence in Western and Northern Iraq, and the forward advance of the tip of the spear, the 3rd ID stalled fifty miles southwest of Baghdad. Reinforcements to subdue the opposition in the cities along the supply route, and a second front in the North are needed. Bottom line: Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Sec. of Defense Wolfowitz’s rolling start doctrine of ground warfare has serious flaws!
But there is hope; deployment of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions give me hope that soon the 3rd ID will soon get the reinforcement it needs. And the recent drop of 1,000 U.S. paratroopers from the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade which parachuted into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq under the cover of darkness, in order to secure an airfield so that elements of the 1st Infantry Division, out of Wurburg, Germany, equipped with Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, can be airlifted into Northern Iraq gives me reason to believe that given time we can triumph in a significant way. And let us not forget the 4th ID which already has orders to deploy, albeit from Kuwait, but deploy nonetheless.
Busy day, can’t wait to see what the night has to bring.