As American warplanes streaked overhead two weeks after the invasion began, Lt. Gen. Raad Majid al-Hamdani drove to Baghdad for a crucial meeting with Iraqi leaders. He pleaded for reinforcements to stiffen the capital's defenses and permission to blow up the Euphrates River bridge south of the city to block the American advance.This micromanagement played into the hands of the coalition.
But Saddam Hussein and his small circle of aides had their own ideas of how to fight the war. Convinced that the main danger to his government came from within, Mr. Hussein had sought to keep Iraq's bridges intact so he could rush troops south if the Shiites got out of line.
General Hamdani got little in the way of additional soldiers, and the grudging permission to blow up the bridge came too late. The Iraqis damaged only one of the two spans, and American soldiers soon began to stream across.
To protect Baghdad, Mr. Hussein selected Brig. Gen. Barzan abd al-Ghafur Solaiman Majid al-Tikriti, a close cousin, to head the Special Republican Guard even though he had no field experience, had failed military staff college and was a known drunkard. Asked about his military skills, General Tai laughed out loud. Even so, the Special Republican Guard commander was closely monitored by Mr. Hussein's agents and later told American interrogators that he had held the most dangerous job in Iraq. "They watched you go to the bathroom," he said. "They listened to everything you said and bugged everything."
Once the war began, field commanders faced numerous restrictions, including bans on communications, to minimize chances of a coup.
"We didn't believe it would go all the way to Baghdad," a senior Republican Guard staff officer later told his interrogators. "We thought the coalition would go to Basra, maybe to Amara, and then the war would end."
hat tip/ rantburg