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Our English Friends

March 27th, 2003 - 12:02 am

I posted a few words on this to The Command Post earlier, but it deserves greater attention as an object lesson in media bias and/or stupidity. (No need to pick just one.) Read this snippet from The Times (UK) Online:

More than 30,000 American reinforcements were ordered to the Gulf last night as fierce battles raged through southern Iraq and the Republican Guard went on the offensive.
A thousand paratroops were also dropped into northern Iraq, where they seized a key airfield in the first sign that America was opening up a northern front.

The deployments came as war planners were forced to change tactics and put the battle for Baghdad on hold; Pentagon chiefs conceded that they had underestimated the resistance they would face in other parts of the country.

The push towards the capital has been severely hampered by repeated attacks on armoured columns and supply convoys trying to bolster the American front line 50 miles south of Baghdad. These ambushes have fuelled criticism that the Pentagon went to war with too few troops.

This story doesn’t deserve a good, hard fisking, but it does warrant a little more attention than the typical newspaper reader is going to give it.

The claim that the Pentagon suddenly finds itself needing “30,000 more troops” is just plain silly. 4th Infantry Division was expected to be in the opening assault, moving in from Turkey. We know what happened — Ankara fiddled while our transport ships burned fuel going in circles. It will take another week to ten days to get 4ID in place in Kuwait or Umm Qasr, and that takes care of half the 30,000.

The other half the Pentagon didn’t know it needed until just now? Let’s see. Down at Ft. Hood, Texas, the men and women of the 1st Cavalry Division (basically an armored division with extra Apaches and transport choppers), got their “get ready to deploy” orders on March 2. Two days later, “Old Ironsides,” the 1st Armored Division, was told to get ready to move.

Those two divisions alone represent more than 30,000 troops. Add in 4ID, and you’re talking more than doubling our current land firepower. Odd, isn’t it, that the deployment orders went out to all three divisions, weeks before the “crisis.” With foreknowledge like that, it’s a wonder we didn’t take out Saddam on the first night.

I’m not saying the battle plan has gone without a hitch. Surely, the Times is right when it claims CENTCOM underestimated Iraqi resistance. Eisenhower’s observation that “no plan survives contact with the enemy” has become clich

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