Interesting bit of possible disinformation, fed to the un-analytical New York Times:
The marines who will lead the charge toward Baghdad believe that the Iraqi Army will crumble before them, but worry that Saddam Hussein will barricade himself in the city to force a siege and a humanitarian crisis to play to world public opinion.
“That is my fear, quite frankly,” the colonel in charge of intelligence here at the First Marine Division’s forward headquarters said. “That he pulls back into Baghdad.”
From a strictly military standpoint, having the cream of the Republican Guard backed into Baghdad would do us no end of good.
Look at it logistically. Do you know what it takes to feed an army? Do you know what it takes to feed a city of millions? Let’s be conservative, and say that it takes a whole lotta food. A typical city has a three- to five-day supply of food on hand. Add a bunch of soldiers, and the supply problem increases. Cut a city off from the countryside, and before long the shelves are bare.
We wouldn’t have to wait too long before surrender starts looking like a better option than just sitting there starving, even to the hand-picked war criminals of the Special Republican Guard Division.
Also think of the propaganda advantage. “We don’t want to bomb or hurt the innocent Iraqi residents of Baghdad, so we”ll just sit outside the city and wait for Saddam to come out. His intransigence is keeping Iraqis without food, while he’s fat and safe in his underground bunker.”
So by all means, please, Saddam, call your best forces home to Baghdad. They’d rather not fight, we’d rather not fight them, and no one (except perhaps yourself) wants to see your fine city suffer more than it has to.
It’s elementary strategy, really — but too complicated for the New York Times.