The Professor already linked Tom Holsinger’s fascinating new essay, but one passage stuck in my head:
It is now possible for the United States to strike effectively on the ground throughout Iraq’s strategic depth at the onset of hostilities.
The United States does not have the heliborne forces to hit everywhere at once, but can hit almost anywhere with about an airmobile division equivalent on the first day (the “inside-out” plan with a real punch). That, with the usual overwhelming airpower and a second, air-transportable, division flown into captured airfields on the second day, is more than enough to shatter potential Iraqi resistance immediately, even without a reinforced corps advancing up the Euphrates from Kuwait. We might not use this plan, but certainly have the capability now.
Some readers of this post of mine complained that the US doesn’t have enough helicopter airlift to make it work. (Excuse the fact that at a late hour, I’d switched the 82nd and the 101st — I’d gotten it right in a previous discussion of the “rolling” or “two-stage” invasion option. One problem with blogging, as Norah Vincent mentioned, is that there’s no editor to catch those little errors.) Are the doubters about American mobility a little less doubtful now? As amateur as I am, Holsinger is professional.
Anyway, we have the airlift. Many of our assets are in place; more are moving into theater. The rhetoric — even from Colin Powell — is ratcheting up. Brace yourselves.