Iraqi Operational Arts

At the end of Gulf War I, Gen. Norman Schwartkof described Saddam as being ignorant of the "operational arts" of war. It appears he learned little in the intervening 12 years. John Keegan has added his criticism. Saddam did learn that he could not win in a straight up fight at the border. He expected a long bombing campaign would give him warning of the coming ground offensive, thereby giving him a chance to set his oil fields a fire and destroy the bridges on the approaches to Baghdad slowing an advance. The early start to the ground offensive robbed him of the opportunity to set the well on fire. Coalition special forces units made it difficult to destroy the bridges. While most of them were wired for destruction, combat engineers were usually able to disable the explosives before Iraqi's could detonate them. They were able to do this because the Iraqi's failed to put out sentries to warn of the US advance or the people in charge of bridge destruction did not follow orders.

The US plan also made it difficult for Iraqi forces to use their WMD by destroying delivery systems and keeping the Iraqi defenders reeling and off balance. The rapid advance did not give them the static fighting positions they needed for effective use of the chemical weapons. Saddam had hoped to attrite the US forces to the point that by the time Baghdad was under attack his irregular forces could attack and create casualties unacceptable to US public opinion. Instead he has had to face full strength armored forces that are very different from the light units the US used in Mogudishu. His Blackhawk Down strategy has been as inept as his '91 strategy.

The Saddam regime appears to be left with nothing more than a wacked out "Information Minister" and a few thugs with automatic weapons and RPG's. Other than a few places in the north, there is no Iraqi army to fight. Saddam and his sons may be nothing more than smoking dust in the crater left by four bunker busters. Other government buildings are under attack. The media folks feel like they are under attack. A tank fired on the Palestine hotel that houses much of the foreign press, after receiving sniper fire. Al Jazeera has dropped their pretense of impartiality after one of their reporters was killed. They reported the accident as a crime. It is typical of the emotional reaction to the war by many in the Arab world. For the Iraqis who have survived Saddams evil appartus, and the war to liberate them, they will know who the criminals are and be grateful to the US for brining justice to Iraq.

Osama Tape

He's back. Would you believe he thinks the answer to the US war to liberate Iraq is human bomb atacks. He also wants to use human bomb attacks against the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. A strategy of self destruction is not a winner.


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