Sunday, March 12, 2006
As Iraq teeters on a civil war the U.S. cannot control, the New York Times has an in-depth story about what happened with generals who protested the U.S.' initial rush into Baghdad:
The war was barely a week old when Gen. Tommy R. Franks threatened to fire the Army's field commander.
From the first days of the invasion in March 2003, American forces had tangled with fanatical Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary fighters. Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, who was leading the Army's V Corps toward Baghdad, had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear. Soon after, General Franks phoned Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the commander of allied land forces, to warn that he might relieve General Wallace.
The firing was averted after General McKiernan flew to meet General Franks. But the episode revealed the deep disagreements within the United States high command about the Iraqi military threat and what would be required to defeat it.
The dispute, related by military officers in interviews, had lasting consequences. The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.
The paramilitary Fedayeen were numerous, well-armed, dispersed throughout the country, and seemingly determined to fight to the death. But while many officers in the field assessed the Fedayeen as a dogged foe, General Franks and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld saw them as little more than speed bumps on the way to Baghdad. Three years later, Iraq has yet to be subdued. Many of the issues that have haunted the Bush administration about the war — the failure to foresee a potential insurgency and to send sufficient troops to stabilize the country after Saddam Hussein's government was toppled — were foreshadowed early in the conflict. How some of the crucial decisions were made, the behind-the-scenes debate about them and early cautions about a sustained threat have not been previously known.
¶A United States Marines intelligence officer warned after the bloody battle at Nasiriya, the first major fight of the war, that the Fedayeen would continue to mount attacks after the fall of Baghdad since many of the enemy fighters were being bypassed in the race to the capital.
¶In an extraordinary improvisation, Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile leader who was a Pentagon favorite, was flown to southern Iraq with hundreds of his fighters as General Franks's command sought to put an "Iraqi face" on the invasion; the plan was set in motion without the knowledge of top administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence.
¶Instead of sending additional troops to impose order after the fall of Baghdad, Mr. Rumsfeld and General Franks canceled the deployment of the First Cavalry Division;
General McKiernan was unhappy with the decision, which was made at a time when ground forces were needed to deal with the chaos in Iraq.
This account of decision-making inside the American command is based on interviews with dozens of military officers and government officials over the last two years. Some asked to remain unidentified because they were speaking about delicate internal deliberations that they were not authorized to discuss publicly.
No comments..?It seems everyone is no longer shocked, desensitized now weary. One scroll down the recent comments list and people are angry almost too angry. Is this the cause? More troops are going over, including but not limited to, a friends' brother. Is it too late? Any soldier idle has seen the changing face of the war and is now peeking around every corner hoping to not be blown away by a civilian in a dynamite jacket. Dissention at the top is felt down through the bottom(sort of like an economic theory of some). Isn't it strange how when one is at the bottom blametology rules do not allow the blame to go up. When one is at the top where is the blame to go then? Sidestepping... a mere tab key in the keyboard of life. Dear Mr. Melton, Please show us your skills and fly our boys and girls over there. Maybe you can take Mr. Rumsfeld with you.
Big surprise here: More evidence that Bush was going to attack Iraq no. matter. what. Regardless of WMD. Regardless of what the world thought. We know it already, of course, but hey let's pile on. Maybe he'll lost the other 30 percent who still approve of him. New York Times: In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war. But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times. "Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides. "The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin." The timetable came at an important diplomatic moment. Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was scheduled to appear before the United Nations to present the American evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons. Although the United States and Britain aggressively sought a second United Nations resolution against Iraq — which they failed to obtain — the president said repeatedly that he did not believe he needed it for an invasion. Stamped "extremely sensitive," the five-page memorandum, which was circulated among a handful of Mr. Blair's most senior aides, had not been made public. Several highlights were first published in January in the book "Lawless World," which was written by a British lawyer and international law professor, Philippe Sands. In early February, Channel 4 in London first broadcast several excerpts from the memo.
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.
Sign in to comment
Or login with: