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Is the war going to plan?(21 posts)

Is the war going to plan?Me Dot Org
Mar 30, 2003 11:21 PM
And if it is, whose plan is it, anyway?

A lot of buzz, some of it cable hum, some of it real. The problem is separating the wheat from the chaff. Did Rumsfeld and Franks have profound disagreements? If you listen to the talk shows, everything is hunky-dory.

But General Wallace (the commander of U.S. ground forces) says "The enemy we're fighting is different from the one we war-gamed against." You get the impression that the Fedayeen were probably underestimated as a fighting force before the invasion.

True, a .50 caliber machine gun in a Toyota pickup is no match for an Abrams tank. But the U.S. did not anticipate the presence of Russian-made Kornet AT-14 ATGM laser wire-guided anti-tank missiles. These enable a guerilla army to do more than harass supply lines. When guys on the front lines are told to cut down to one M.R.E. a day, I'd say supplies are a problem.

On one hand, Allied forces are less than 60 miles from Baghdad after a week of fighting. On the other hand, Allied forces do not control a single major city.

On one hand, Allies enjoy virtual air supremecy. On the other hand, it looks like this war will eventually come down to house-to-house combat, or a seige of Baghdad. Either route will mean a lot of civilian casualties, and increasing world pressure to stop hostilities.

So is it a busted war plan? Well...let me straddle a fence here. I think it really hurt when Turkey wouldn't let us open a second front in the North. This war plan was thin on troops as it was, without the 4th division, I don't think there are enough troops to defend the long supply lines, pacify the southern cities, and still have enough to take on the Republican Guard and invade Baghdad. The problem was that the clock is ticking as far as wanting to end hostilities before the dog days of summer. No one wants combat, let alone wearing chemical weapons suits when it's 110 degrees. The forcast is for 91 in Kuwait this week. So the coalition had to "go in thin", hoping that psyops and a lucky first strike might cause the regime to crumble. It hasn't happened like that. It's not the end of the world for the allies, but they are not really in a position to advance until their supply lines are more secure and the Southern Cities are pacified. The 101st Airborne can play backup for hotspots, but I think Centcom is balancing the wait between the onset of summer, the rising heat of public opinion throughout the world, and the arrival of the mechanized 4th division.

So what do you think? War plans rarely survive the reality of combat. The best thing about this plan is that it seems to be flexible in response to changing conditions. The communications and GPS capablities of Central Command give them a better snapshot of the situation than ever before. It's just that the situation they are seeing is probably not the one they expected to see.

So will Centcom wait until the 4th division arrives before launching a major offensive? Or will there be something dramatic, perhaps involving special forces and the 101st?

And of course, the big variable is chemical weapons. If Saddam wants to play that card, he pretty well loses all support outside of the Islamic Fundamentalist world. But play it he might, especially if he equates the survival of Iraq with his own survival.
It looks as if you sized things up pretty wellLive Steam
Mar 31, 2003 6:05 AM
As you said, it is doubtful that any battle goes as planned much less any war. I would imagine - "expect the unexpected" is the mantra to live by.

Should the coalition have planned on outside support for Iraq in the form of specialized weaponry supplied by countries purported to be allies and supporters of this effort? Probably, if you are to expect the unexpected. The military should know better than any that these countries cannot be trusted. Russia (read KGB) has been gaming against the US and GB for decades. Syria and Iran are hostile nations, no matter what they say publicly.

I am not so sure this war plan isn't going as planned as much as it is not going as the media predetermined it would, based on catch phrases such as "shock and awe". I think if one listens more closely to the media implants rather than the assessments made by the desk jockeys, one would get a better feel for what the Iraqi people desire and the effectiveness of the battle plan.

If the SOB chooses to use WMD, the Iraqi people will suffer the most. He will further justify this action and, I believe, will also legitimize this war before the majority of Muslims in the World.
re: Is the war going to plan?Alpedhuez55
Mar 31, 2003 6:42 AM
I doubt it is going strictly to plan, but the war is going very well so far. There is also going to be disagreement between the generals and the DOD. The bobming raids have been effective. The ground forces if anthing advanced too quickly.

I think you are right, the Fedayeen were probably underestimated. I guess they did not expect them to take family members hostage to force people to fight. THey seem to be getting them under control though.

I think the thing that has hurt the US the most has been the sand storms. The timing of them was bad. It shut down the supply lines for a few days. THey have been able to reopen them though and the rations and supplies have made it back to the troops.

Mike Y.
Absolutely, 100 percent!OldEdScott
Mar 31, 2003 7:14 AM
It's the Neo-cons' Mideast dream come true. Syria and Iran have bumbled into giving them an excuse to widen the war. Other governments in the region are on the verge of destablizing. If things continue along this glorious path, we will very soon be armpits-deep in a general Middle Eastern War. Life will be good. The Pax Americana is in sight.
How can we get Lybia involved, too? (nm)Captain Morgan
Mar 31, 2003 8:58 AM
fire the coach, bring in some new players...mohair_chair
Mar 31, 2003 7:19 AM
We're just not getting the production we need out of the first line. I don't think anyone is giving 110%. The defense seems to have some holes in it, so we might need to go back to fundamentals. Ticket prices are way too high. $20 for parking??? What is up with that. Love those cheerleaders, though. Yummy!

Wait, what are we talking about again?
It's the Tom Clancy geneMe Dot Org
Mar 31, 2003 9:34 AM
Just to let you know, I was against this war, and marched in opposition to it. But now that it has started, I want to see it end quickly.

I think it's the Tom Clancy gene that enables me to disassociate myself from the human suffering and look at the war as a strategic exercise. But it is my fervent hope that the war end quickly, and that the suffering of the Iraqi people will not be prolonged.

We look at the maps, try to understand the weapons, the tactics and the strategies to try to get some rational handle on what's going on. Some say war is a continuation of diplomacy by other means. War is an admission of failure. But it is what is happening now.
It's sports talk radiomohair_chair
Mar 31, 2003 10:05 AM
I swear, I watch the coverage sometimes and it's no different than listening to sports talk radio. It's a bunch of yahoos who call themselves experts blabbering away. I heard a journalist the other day actually called for Gen. Franks to be fired! I couldn't believe it. As if he were the coach who lost the big game and now the alumni want his head.

I've gotten in the habit of turing on the news only on the hour or half-hour to get the "headlines" and turning off all the so-called analysis. I don't even discuss the war with co-workers anymore because they are the same way. These are people who have no idea what the word "enfilade" means but nevertheless are now experts in military strategy. What makes me sick is the detachment of it all, as if it was a game. That comes from watching too many of those Discovery and History channel shows where war is about bombs dropping perfectly down smokestacks. When regular people start using "JDAM" in conversations, something is wrong!

I just wish all the ex-generals and such would shut up and go back to retirement. I wish the members of the press who have no idea what they are talking about but are suddenly experts, would shut up. Especially when they think can measure success on the battlefield and in the theater and make judgements about it.

The press loves to pull out the old "public needs to know" argument, but the fact is, we don't need to know what the strategy is, how it is changing, where it is going wrong, etc. Any military force that expects to win does not reveal or comment on their war plans until well after the fact, and if they do, you have to question if what they are doing is revealing misinformation. The Iraqis seem to have that part down. They only time they show up on TV is to spread propaganda!
how do you plan?DougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 7:49 AM
Wars don't take place like scientific experiments. With all the variables, all you can do is provide for flexibility and contingencies; I would think that if you thought you can run a war the way you build a construction project on a schedule and sequence, you would lose every time, and that's hard enough, given no one is fighting back.

I think some people are too eager to announce "failure" for the administration.

how do you plan?Jon Billheimer
Mar 31, 2003 8:29 AM
I just read an interesting analysis piece in the paper this morning on how war planning often goes. The first problem, according to one military analyst, is that we tend to assume that the enemy will behave as we would; the second assumption is called "American exceptionalism", that is our cultural belief that we're the good guys and everyone will welcome us in with open arms as liberators.

Another interesting point that was made is the tendency to stick with a plan once senior people begin to develop a preference among options. "Red flaggers", military people brought in from outside the planning organization to poke holes in developing plans, tend not to be too welcome since they disrupt organizational momentum that begins to develop.

I think it's patently obvious, regardless of one's support or lack thereof of the war, that some pretty flawed assumptions were made.

Another point, if you listen to our spin doctors everything is going just fine. If you follow any of the Arab media, they of course are triumphing over us. As Doug said, look at opposing viewpoints and balance them out. Likely neither side is telling the "objective" truth. Most "news" is heavily subsumed by editorial spin. This is nothing new.
I would thinkDougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 8:36 AM
I would think we would have remembered the lessons of our Revolutionary War in every war since...

It's happeningStarliner
Mar 31, 2003 10:38 AM
In that our casualties haven't yet burst through the roof, I'd say the big brass is content. The unexpected problems encountered have been small scale and containable up to now. Most of the strategic damage seems to have been logistical, and there's many solutions we have yet to fall back on, such as airdrops of food and ammo to the front lines.

Assuming we eventually topple Saddam, then what. That's when we'll really realize how unprepared we were to have done what we did.
casualty numbers?DougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 11:13 AM
Are accidents, like helicopters crashing, considered in the casualty (who came up with that term, anyway?) numbers?

Mar 31, 2003 11:37 AM
I'd include those accidents among the count. A casualty of war is a casualty whether by friendly fire or enemy fire, or whatever way sh!t happens.
is that the "official" way of reporting? nmDougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 11:41 AM
hell if I know, must you have it be "official"? -nmStarliner
Mar 31, 2003 11:47 AM
I just want to know who is included in reports?DougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 1:38 PM
I just want to know when we hear "49 casualties," is that all of them or not?
Mar 31, 2003 11:44 AM
I'd include those accidents among the count. A casualty of war is a casualty whether by friendly fire or enemy fire, or whatever way sh!t happens.
another thought, maybe far better than planned (and question)DougSloan
Mar 31, 2003 11:20 AM
What if we really did kill SH the first day? That sounds like things went a little better than planned... Too bad his troops just don't know it, yet.

Question, while we're at it -- what is the ("Elite") Republican Guard? Is there any comparable unit in our forces? The media acts like these guys are superheros or something, but it seems to me that they are nothing more than regulars with real weapons instead of sticks and stones (not a good metaphor, I realize). What are they?

Republican Guardmohair_chair
Mar 31, 2003 1:21 PM
The Republican Guard are the best troops of the Iraqi Army, usually recruited from Saddam's tribe, which ups the loyalty quotient. Compared to the regular conscript Iraqi army units, they are well trained, well fed, and well equipped, and are therefore expected to keep the regime in power.

I don't think there is a true parallel to the US Army, except to say that the RG is the most capable of taking the US Army on. Many of the Iraqi regular units are basically cannon fodder.
There's also reason to believe that chem weapons havesn69
Mar 31, 2003 1:34 PM
been delegated to the regimental level with certain Repub Guard units. We'll see....