I agree with Mr. Babbin that General Franks has been micro-managing U.S. forces in the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and that such an approach against Iraq could lead to disaster. However, Mr. Babbin is wrong to choose the light as opposed to heavy plan placed before President Bush. First, Mr. Babbin is wrong on the number of sorties flown in the Gulf War by the coalition: it was not 300 per day but over 2500 per day on average (about 100,000 over 40 days if I recall correctly). Despite the intensity, when VII Corps took on the Republican Guard, it found that about 75 percent of their heavy weapons were intact. If this happens again, Mr. Babbin’s favored light forces will be massacred; one can just imagine the reaction of the American people when they see the 101st Air Assault Division troops being run over by T-72s! Secondly, special forces only work when they have excellent intelligence, a traditional U.S. failure, and if the current paucity of hard evidence on Iraqi WMDs is anything to go by, still a shortcoming. They also tend to wilt when faced by massed armor.
The argument is often made that the technology in precision munitions is far better than that available in 1991. In fact, the A-10, which will be the premier tank killing weapon in any war, uses the same Maverick missile used in 1991. And due to airspace constraints, fix wing airpower is very limited against massed tank formations (which was proved when in the Gulf War the airforce was expected to stop the Iraqi armored forces trying to escape VII Corps with F-111 strikes, which failed dismally as aircraft had to be deconflicted resulting in something like only one strike every 20 minutes, each dropping two bombs, which did little to destroy the Iraqi armor).p>The answer is a combined light-heavy thrust, focused on speed and firepower. Light forces (airborne and air assault) should be used to capture bridges over the Euphrates to be met by a heavy force of at least an armored cavalry regiment and 5 heavy Army brigades which would charge up from Kuwait. Hopefully the light forces will be able to hold out in defensive positions for the 48 hours or so it should take for the heavy forces to arrive. Once over the Euphrates, the forces will drive to Baghdad where the bulk of the Republican Guard armor will be located (conveniently close to civilian buildings to avoid airstrikes). These will be destroyed by U.S. armor which will escort the light infantry into the urban areas to deal with any hold-outs. I hope that the U.S. infantry is brushing up on their MOUT training! While the light forces are busy in the city, the heavy forces will complete to encircle the city, which will convince the remaining Iraqi soldiers that the game is up (or at least to cut off their supplies). Basra should be taken by a combined land-sea assault by the Marines. Do you think Bush’s desk can accommodate one more plan….? br> — Patrick Bechet br> Cape Town, South Africa /p>
The “light” military option favored by Mr. Babbin is very appealing, in the engineering sense, for its elegance and parsimony.
I continue to be puzzled, though, by the widespread belief, apparently shared by Mr. Babbin, that surgical excision of nasty regimes can effect a sea change in a nation-state’s future propensity to bad behavior. It seems to me, rather, that this is an untested notion. I am unaware of any historical examples of such a root change in a national culture absent a horrendous and general punishment inflicted from without. Japan and Germany are, of course, the most recent examples. Now perhaps the most pacific of Western nation-states, they were brought to this happy condition by military campaigns which wrought death and destruction throughout.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online