Saturday, November 09, 2002

Invasion Plans

The Washington Post says we’re going in big. Good. I’ve heard more than enough about some magical "bold" plan that somehow wins with a corporal’s guard worth of troops. Go in big and the Iraqis may surrender and defect. Go in small and they may think they can win—because they don’t know if we can defeat them and God help them from Saddam’s vengeance if we don’t. That’s not the kind of wager an Iraqi will take these days. Make it easy for them to defect—go in big. I’m glad Franks stuck to his guns.

We’re supposed to go in from the north with the 101st and a British airmobile outfit. I still think I’d rather have the 10th Mountain up there (even though I know it is not really a mountain outfit—just light infantry) and have the airmobile stuff for crossing the Euphrates River. Keep the Brits up there and you still have three brigades of infantry.

In the south the Marines and British armor secure the Basra region, as I’ve speculated. The British give a good heavy armor component to bolster the Marines as the Army provided in 1991, and save the Army heavy stuff for the main effort.

The report also explicitly says we will occupy western Iraq. It does not say with what strength and since the article doesn’t even mention where the core of two heavy divisions goes, I really believe western Iraq is where they are going. I’d put 101st Airborne here too.

In addition, there will be no prolonged air campaign before the ground war starts. This too is expected. Go in fast with what we’ve got and airlift in the rest. If the Iraqis revolt, great; if not, the first wave prepares for the reinforcements to drive on Baghdad. Hmm. Could be a ploy to lull the Iraqis into thinking they have more time. I’d rather lunge for the Euphrates and Baghdad going right up that Jordan-Iraq highway. But then again, my weakness is knowing what the logistics can handle. (shoot, I underestimated what we could do in 1991, maybe I’m just overcompensating now) the way the northern and southern prongs are described in more political terms (keeping the Shiites quiet and protecting the Kurds/keeping them quiet with US troops in the area), bolsters my belief that the main effort is out of Jordan. Insiders do say the plan is innovative. Still, I’ve always read that the Iraqi intelligence services are very active in Jordan. Could we pull this off in secret? Do we have the Iraqis rolled up/compromised?

Still, a big force is a comfort to me. I’m a big believer in crushing your enemy with overwhelming force. Never, ever let your enemy think they can win.

We’ll be in Baghdad soon. All the pundits who say we still need two or three months to get enough in place have been saying that for months now without lowering their time estimates. I think we will be able to go much faster than anybody thinks. Just after Christmas, if I have to call it.