Monday, November 18, 2002


We’re getting close to mobilization and open, rapid deployment to the region around Iraq if we are to invade between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There is talk that implies that moving armor for Army and Marine Corps heavy forces from American ports would take a month and is therefore a crucial warning sign. Although I think McCaffrey’s 30-day estimate for getting a substantial mechanized force to the Gulf is a good one, I think that shipping heavy forces from the United States is a red herring. I guess we already have the heavy armor there. We already had a division’s worth of Army equipment in the Gulf prior to this crisis. We’ve shipped heavy equipment for a couple more brigades out of Germany—and they did not go to Norway. And if we haven’t been able to sneak in another brigade’s worth of tanks over the last six months in bits and pieces, I’ll be shocked. We’ll save the airlift for bringing in 101st Airborne and 10th Mountain at the last moment. Or maybe just the latter. The 101st has lots of helicopters so maybe that will need to be shipped in—who knows, maybe it has been shipped overseas already. The equipment could be sitting in ships at Diego Garcia or near Djibouti for all I know.

So everybody, keep watching those American ports for signs that we are getting ready to ship tanks. When we start loading, I bet the invasion starts shortly after they sail—those tanks will be a good hedge in case we encounter serious resistance and need fresh vehicles, but they likely won’t see action in the war.

Whoa, talk about mind-numbingly stupid decisions: Iraqis in Jordan are apparently taking advantage of Saddam’s amnesty to go home. If this attitude of acting on your wishes and hopes rather than your experiences and logic is typical of Iraqis, they are doomed to defeat. Luckily, I don’t think our troops will think they are in for a walk in the park. All the talk about urban warfare and the intense training the troops are getting has likely quelled over-confidence in their abilities—dying numerous times in mock assaults will get that point across. The very fact that our upper leadership is preparing the troops this much is a good sign too. Of course, the bar is pretty high for what is expected of us. All the pundits who warn it won’t be a cakewalk will likely moan and gnash their teeth if it isn’t a cakewalk.

Prepare for the worst but focus on what we will do to them, not the other way around. Truly, the Iraqi military has far more to worry about than we do in a war between us.