Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Lesson Seldom Learned

Most of us have heard the old aphorism that the military is always preparing to fight the previous war. It happened to France and Britain in the 20th century. There is however, no clearer instance of this truism than the 2003 war in Iraq. Saddam prepared to refight the Gulf war of 1991 and did not take the threat of a U.S. invasion seriously. He knew the blow was about to fall but prepared to suppress a Shia uprising instead of allowing his military to defend against the Americans in April of 2003.

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.

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."

This micromanagement played into the hands of the coalition.

hat tip/ rantburg



Anonymous said...

Such a depressing blog. Only hate against those with other opinions and black thoughts - seems like the blogger is a person on his way out or down?

Why don't you go out in the nature and live as long as you have this short life?

Listen to the birds - smell the green grass and feel the wind through the trees.

And enjoy the children - take them to the see before it is too late for you.

All the stuff here will not change USA and certainly not the rest of the world. It only confirms the publik opinion all over about US nowdays.

Free gender.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Free Gender,
Thank you for sharing your philosophy and advice. Your comment would more appropriately apply to the Muslimsk våldtäktsvåg i Sverige post.

This blog is dedicated to Liberty which includes freedom of speech. It is understood that such concepts are not universally accepted . We do not censor comments here and therefore expressions of "hate" may be encountered from time to time. Please do not confuse the terms "disagreement" and "hate". We have an expression here in the U.S.: "whistling past the graveyard" which seems particularly appropriate to much of Europe these days