[A-List] Civilian-military split
sherrynstan at igc.org
Thu Dec 19 03:52:10 MST 2002
[While I remain VERRRRY skeptical about claims from the US govt of the possibility of high US casualties in Iraq - it seems to me a way to get the country to breathe a sigh of triumphalist relief and consolidate support for the war - I have met Gen Jones USMC in Haiti (Hideous Dream, p 211) and gained a good impression of him as someone with a lick of sense, unlike the usual dolts at the Pentagon. Meyers is certainly a complete buffoon, like his new Daddy, Rumsfeld. Methinks they've painted themselves into a corner with their noise about WMD. The generals are taking them seriously. The mere possibility of chemical weapons can force commanders to put their troops in full protective posture - a horribly debilitating and uncomfortable combination of a full body charcoal impregnated oversuit, rubber overboots, rubber gloves, gas mask with hood, etc. Anyone who's ever tried to just fire their personal weapon in this get-up knows you can't even line your eye up behind the rifle sights through the protective mask lenses. Drinking water is a complex task. And these things are HOT!!! In Iraq @ 1991, the protective posture was so disruptive that troops were taken off their protective posture even when chemicals were circulating subsequent to bomb attacks and explosive destruction of chem sites. It's one of the causative agents for all the health problems troops have experienced since. This is why Franks and Jones et al are saying this won't be the dynamic Wagnerian movie sequence envisioned by that fuken idiot Rumsfeld. -SG]
US military chiefs break ranks to say war 'will be bloody'
Marine Corps and Army generals distance themselves from Pentagon as
inspections chief prepares to brief UN
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
19 December 2002
The senior commanders of the US forces most directly involved in the ground
part of any war with Iraq are said to fear the campaign could be a more
protracted and bloody affair than some in the Pentagon's civilian leadership
The Washington Post says Army chief General Eric Shinseki and General James
Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, are worried at excessive confidence
that Iraqi resistance would speedily collapse after an invasion, and that
President Saddam Hussein's removal would be a formality.
Neither man commented publicly on the reports yesterday. But Air Force
General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the
Pentagon's most senior uniformed official, denied that current planning was
based on assumption of an easy triumph.
General Myers said nobody at the Pentagon believed "this sort of endeavour,
if we were asked to do it, would be a cakewalk". Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy
Secretary of Defence and a prime civilian hawk on Iraq, also rejected
charges that that the US had not been over-confident in its planning.
It would be a "terrible mistake" to predict how a war would unfold, he said,
stressing that full account was being taken of the risk that President
Saddam would unleash chemical or biological weapons against invaders.
But General Jones, who takes command of US forces in Europe next month,
confirmed to the Post that he disagreed "with those who seem to think this
is pre-ordained to be a very easy military operation".
The divisions reflect long-standing tensions between the civilian leadership
under Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, who from the outset has
demanded that planners "think outside the box" in devising a blitzkrieg-like
strategy to topple President Saddam quickly. Many uniformed commanders
favour a more traditional approach, involving a much larger force, advancing
more slowly on its objective, but projecting overwhelming force.
This latter camp includes General Tommy Franks, the chief of US Central
Command, who would be in direct charge of a war against Iraq. He is said to
have insisted that a force of 200,000 to 250,000 would be needed. This is
admittedly far smaller than the half-million-strong coalition assembled for
the 1991 Operation Desert Storm, which drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
But it is a far cry from the once-mooted "inside-out" operation aimed at
Baghdad itself. This would rely on tactical surprise with a short, very
fierce bombing campaign and commando strikes on suspected weapons of mass
destruction and missile sites.
A welter of leaks over the past few months has given the impression that a
compromise has emerged over the planning, which combines elements of both
The renewed argument over tactics has coincided with the first solid
evidence of war preparations by the Iraqi regime and reported claims by US
intelligence officials that President Saddam intends a "scorched earth"
strategy in the face of an invasion.
Intelligence photographs show barriers have been put up on runways at a
group of four remote air bases near oil pumping stations in Western Iraq.
These installations could could be targets of the US, as it tried to take
out potential missile launch sites which could be used against Israel in the
initial stages of a war.
Officials say similar defensive measures are being taken at bases around
Baghdad and in south-eastern Iraq. The barriers could be moved, Pentagon
officials said, but their presence might be a cause for delay. "The bases
are essentially unused, so you wouldn't want to bomb them then have to
repair the runways," one said.
* Warplanes from a US-British operation patrolling southern Iraq fired on
air defences in southern Iraq yesterday after Iraqi forces moved a mobile
radar system into a "no-fly" zone, the US military said. It was the fourth
attack in five days by aircraft monitoring the zone.
Is the US criminal justice system a weapon of mass destruction?
Money for reparations, not for war!
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