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Turgid Turtles

More on winning quick in Iraq. Plus: Soprano-Americans, the Angels, eco-snobs, and other favorites.

10.21.02

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JED BABBIN REPLIES
Re: Col. Hil Evers' "Good Speed" reply in Reader Mail's Nothing But War:

Col. Evers: Many thanks for your continued commentary. Let me end this round (but not our correspondence, certainly) with this:

No invasion force designed to topple Saddam Hussein can exclude Army heavy forces or light forces from the Army and the other services. But the Army is going to be commanded by Tommy Franks and the rest of the Turgid Turtles. As one friend of mine puts it, we are taking ugly dates to the party, but we still have to go. We have to deal with that reality, and in so doing we need to: (1) achieve tactical surprise and reduce casualties by overwhelming speed in striking Saddam's Scuds and as much of his personally-controlled assets as possible. That requires the use -- predominantly, over the first days or week -- of airpower and light forces; (2) combine the force so that the power of the heavies is ready to follow. It cannot lead and at the same time achieve the essential surprise. If we do this right, Saddam's people will mostly surrender. I think that because the experts -- people who have been there and are, in some cases, privy to current intelligence estimates, believe it. I have talked to infantry commanders who led forces against Iraqi ground forces in 1991. The Iraqis are down to about 30% of their 1991 strength. They will fold like a house of cards if we hit them fast enough, and hard enough to demonstrate that Saddam won't survive this round. That is the key. If we dawdle, and if Franks's tanks get stuck on the west bank of the Euphrates, we will encourage every Islamist in the world to attack us. Speed and lethality. That's what will win this sooner than later.

Gen. Franks, from what I have been told by those who know him, understands neither airpower nor the use of special operations. I do not mean to denigrate your decade-long study. It doesn't matter if Army doctrine doesn't work this way. Franks does. But the Army doctrine that permits the micro-management of ground forces, plans slow movement along staging lines, and fails to apply airpower as it should be is a recipe for disaster. I agree that hope is not a method of operation. Speed coupled with overwhelming airpower and light infantry, is a method not a hope.

Airpower is limited in close-combat situations. But when you have operations such as Blackhawk Down without proper air support, you have a disaster. In Afghanistan, American casualties were higher than necessary because airpower wasn't sufficiently integrated into the operational planning. When, early in the Tora Bora action, ground commanders suddenly wanted to be bailed out by air support, it wasn't on hand because no one had planned for it. It is this kind of thinking -- mainly from the Franks crowd -- that kills young Americans. If AC-130's were on station over Mogadishu they would, let me assure you, have been able to do one hell of a lot more than a couple of helicopter gunships. Take a look at the specs for that aircraft. Talk to the guys who fly it. They will convince you.

I can read a map, and I know that most of Iraq will never have to be visited by any American on the ground or in the air. Take a look at where the Scud Box is, where the Republican Guard is based, and where Saddam's palaces are. I'm not saying that heavy forces should be left out. I'm saying that the butcher's bill will be much higher if -- as they plan to do -- the Turgid Turtles dispense with tactical surprise, and too many Americans have to walk from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Best,
-- Jed Babbin

ON PARADE
Re: Francis X. Rocca's The Anti-Soprano Mafia:

I read your article on the Columbus Day parade, and was somewhat surprised by many of your comments. As a first generation Italian I feel that your remarks are a bit misguided, but I can sympathize with your views. I do understand that the comments by Mr. Fugazy seemed nonsensical, but from the perspective of an Italian they're quite correct. Most Italians would not like to be associated with organized crime, just like most Southerners would not want to be associated with racism and slavery.

I usually do not give any consideration to the "whining" of minorities, including Italians, simply because most of the time it is unwarranted. But the Sopranos issue is a valid one, not because of the way it portrays Italians -- his has been done before -- but for the way in which people seem not to care. If HBO decided to program a show which stereotyped an African-American family by portraying them as having links to the inner city gang scene, I'm sure most African-American organizations would be very vocal and pressure the network to change the show. I think Bloomberg's weak attempt to connect with the large Italian community of New York is really what is offensive, and for that reason I wouldn't want the actors in the parade. I feel that most minorities in this country take issues such as these a little too seriously, but I'm sure if this was an African-American, Jewish or Hispanic issue, fewer people would be criticizing Mr. Fugazy's comments.
-- Marc Forgione

ANGELS IN THE STANDS
Re: K. E. Grubbs Jr.'s The Triumph of the West:

After reading your article, "The Triumph of the West," I must make you aware of the fact that not all of us who are San Francisco Giants fans are as Marxist as you make us appear. Though I believe this makes me one of one in a demographic of conservative Giants fan, we are out there, pariahs we may be.

Excellent writing nonetheless.

Yours,
-- T.M. Kimball
Reno, NV

As an Angel fan I enjoyed your article. I also am very excited that our beloved Angels are in the World Series. I also was in the stands when Dave Henderson put the Red Sox in the lead with a 9th inning home run off Donnie Moore. I was sitting in the second deck just a little bit past 1st base. I clearly remember Dr. Schuller and many members of his family sitting directly in front of me. Mr. Autrey was not in that section of the park.

Regards,
-- Ken Corman
Anaheim, CA

K. E. Grubbs Jr. replies: Many thanks for the comments. I got the story directly from Dr. Schuller and took his word for it. If it's apocryphal, it supported a nice sermon anyway.

CHABLIS PLAYGROUNDS
Re: Bill Croke's Maddening Martz:

Talented correspondent Bill Croke has struck again. This time he has gone after the elitist carpetbaggers who want to lock up Montana for their very own vacation retreat and leave the local peons to serve their personal needs in the service industry instead of making a good living in mining, logging, cattle or other employment the envirowackos find to be politically incorrect.

Montana is a cold, lonely and ruggedly beautiful chunk of God's handiwork. Instead of allowing the natives to make decent economic use of the vast resources, the brie and Chablis snobs would freeze-frame Montana as their playground.

This program of locking out the rest of us from places like the National Forests is widespread. Here in Oregon, once well tended Forest Service roads have been left to decay into tree and shrub choked footpaths where only the strong young REI and Eddie Bauer equipped backpackers can set up camp and open their tins of food from Dean & DeLuca and pastries from Williams-Sonoma as bottles of Napa Valley wines chill in the nearby stream. Old cripples like me can take cold comfort in only looking at photos of the area because my pickup cannot leap a stream where once a bridge spanned the water. Further, those who fight forest fires are hampered by being unable to deliver the numbers of ground pounds necessary to suppress the raging infernos and thus the once beautiful stands of timber are destroyed and lost to both the visual beauty and the economic possibilities of renewable harvests. Except for the tiny numbers of selfish liberals, the rest of us lose big time.
-- Al Martin
Portland, OR

NONE DARE CALL IT ...
Re: George Neumayr's Clinton's Cuban Spy:

I just read your article on the pro-Cuba traitor, and I enjoyed it very much. It just confirms my belief that these one-worlder types threaten the security of the U.S. -- or any other nation state for that matter. You can't be a good Globalist and a good patriot at the same time. I think we need to press for a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution to modify the legal definition of treason against the United States. Who knows when a better time will come?
-- David Williams

NOT SO KEEN JEAN
Re: Enemy Central's Clinton-Carter's Korea:

While historian Arthur Schlesinger recently said he would flunk President Bush on his interpretation of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he would surely find issue with Sen. Carnahan's knowledge of American history as shown on her Senate webpage where she blasts President Bush for not supporting the payment of disability payments to military retirees.

On the site's 1st page she notes:

"The practice of docking a disabled veteran's retirement pay started shortly after the Mexican-American War at the turn of the 20th Century, when the country had too little money for the government to pay them both their full retirement pay and their disability pay."

As I'm sure Mr. Schlesinger (and probably President Bush) know, the Mexican-American War took place in the 1840s -- it was the Spanish-American War that took place shortly before the dawn of the 20th Century.

I enjoy your articles,
-- R. Gartrell
Washington, D.C.

THE CARTER GLORY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Canoist Without A Paddle:

He lusted in his heart and his wife was the "first" Hillary. Hearing him speak makes us cringe. Our hostages suffered because of his weakness.
-- Andersons

WHAT'S TO ENJOY
Re: George Neumayr's Falwell Was Right:

I enjoyed "Falwell Was Right." Some great quotations from those lovely old books!

One thing is for sure, those Muslims sure are touchy! Imagine if someone put the Koran in a jar of urine and called it art! If Muslims suffered the slanders on Christianity, they'd be tearing their shirts and ripping their beards!

Thanks again for a great read. I'll be popping in to American
Prowler
from now on.
-- Robert Einarsson

THE HONEST TRUTH
Thank you, sirs. Finally something to read, something that makes sense, something that doesn't look for a way to fit the lie but instead prints truth. Honest editorials? God how I love it!

Thanks again.
-- Robert L. Sabia
Windsor, CA

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