Military deployments suggest US is up to something else

sherrynstan at sherrynstan at
Mon Mar 17 07:22:49 MST 2003

Irtaq definitely requires heavy armor to sustain and protect an occupation force.  It's that kind of terrain in the West particularly.


Here's an excerpt from a piece that FTW will be publishing in the next couple of days (not for mass distribution yet, and it is only an exceprt):

... ...The actual tactical situation, never terribly auspicious because of the Kurdish wild card that receives far too little attention (and which I will address later), has deteriorated for the US.  The denial of a ground front from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey has completely reshuffled the tactical deck, and caused many a sleepless night for harried commanders from Task Force Headquarters all the way down to lonely infantry platoon leaders.

The ground attack will now go though Kuwait, a single front across which an unbelievable series of heavy, expensive, high-maintenance convoys will pass, many on long journeys to 18 provincial capitals, 19 military bases, 8 major oil fields, over 1,000 miles of pipeline, key terrain along minority Shia and Kurdish regions, as well as Baghdad.  But attacking forces are not the only mechanized ground forces.

The huge logistical trains that must consolidate objectives, set up long-term lines of communication, and deliver daily support, will also be held up until airheads are seized within Iraq to augment ground transportation with airlifts of people and equipment.  This shifts a higher emphasis onto airhead seizures (and therefore Ranger units), and forces the security of the airheads themselves before they can become fully functional.  

Baghdad may require a siege, which has already been planned, but now that siege doesn’t begin without a much lengthier invasion timeline that depends much more heavily on airborne and airmobile forces that can be dropped onto key facilities to hold them until mechanized reinforcement can arrive.  At this writing, the 101st Airborne (which is actually a helicopter division) has not even completed its deployment into the region.  Sections of the 82nd Airborne (a genuine paratroop division) are still occupying Afghanistan.

The increased dependence on airlift is further complicated by weather.  While extreme summer heat doesn’t reach Iraq until May, the pre-summer sand storms have already begun.  US commanders have pooh-poohed the effect of these storms, but they are simply putting on a brave face for the public.  Sand can be a terrible enemy.  It clogs engine intakes, just as it clogs eyes and noses, gathers in the folds of skin, falls in food, works its way into every conceivable piece of equipment, and takes a miserable toll on materiel, machinery and troops.  When air operations become more critical to overall mission accomplishment, and when light forces (like airmobile and airborne divisions) are operating independent of heavier mechanized logistics, weather like sand storms matters… a lot.

The order of battle is widely available on the web, and there’s no reason to recount it here.  The reason is,....

...The Iraqi military won't prevail because they can't. They are weak, under-resourced, poorly led, and demoralized.  What the delays mean is that the US will depend on sustaining the initiative and momentum through brutal, incessant bombing designed to destroy every soldier, every installation, every vehicle, every field kitchen in the Iraqi military. War will inflict terrifying casualties on the Iraqi military.  There will be collateral damage to civilians, even with the attempt to attenuate that damage, and in case we fail to remember, soldiers are like everyone else.  They have families and loved ones. What is uncertain is the aftermath. This is the variable that is never factored into the thinking of our native political lumpen-bourgeoisie; their deeds plant the seeds of future and furious resistance.

If half million Iraqi soldiers die, and 100,000 civilians are killed in collateral damage, we have to remember that there are at least ( for the sake of argument) five people who intensely love each of the dead.  And if we think of the grief of millions after this slaughter, and of the conversion of that grief into rage, and combine that with the organization of the internecine struggles based on historical ethnic fault lines (that the Ba’ath Party has repressed), we begin to appreciate the explosive complexity of post-invasion Iraq.

This invasion will also ignite the fires of Arab and Muslim humiliation and anger throughout the region.

Most importantly, in my view, there are the Kurds.

Anyone who has followed the news has heard about “Saddam’s” gassing of the Kurds.  That’s how it is portrayed.  Nonetheless, few people have bothered to find out what the truth is, or even to investigate this claim.

Stephen Pelletiere was the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.  He was also a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000.  In both roles, he had access to classified material from Washington related to the Persian Gulf.  In 1991, he headed an Army investigation into Iraqi military capability.  That classified report went into great detail on Halabja.

Halabja is the Kurdish town where hundreds of people were apparently poisoned in a chemical weapons attack in March 1988.  Few Americans even knew that much.  They only have the article of religious faith, “Saddam gassed his own people.”

In fact, according to Pelletiere – an ex-CIA analyst, and hardly a raging leftist like yours truly – the gassing occurred in the midst of a battle between Iraqi and Iranian armed forces.

Pelletiere further notes that a “need to know” document that circulated around the US Defense Intelligence Agency indicated that US intelligence doesn’t believe it was Iraqi chemical munitions that killed and aimed the Kurdish residents of Halabja.  It was Iranian.  The condition of the bodies indicated cyanide-based poisoning.  The Iraqis were using mustard gas in that battle.  The Iranians used cyanide.

The lack of public critical scrutiny of this and virtually all current events is also evident on the issue of the Kurds themselves.

That issue will come out into the open, with the vast area that is Kurdistan, with its insurgent armed bodies, overlaying Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and even parts of Syria, which will realign the politics and military of the entire region in yet unpredictable ways.

As part of the effort to generate an Iraqi opposition, the US has permitted Northern Iraqi Kurdistan to exercise a strong element of national political autonomy since the 1991 war.  This is a double-edged sword for the US in its current war preparations, particularly given this administration’s predisposition for pissing all over its closest allies.  Iraq’s Northern border is with Turkey, who has for years favored the interests of its own Turkmens in Southern Turkish Kurdistan at the expense of the Kurds, who have waged a guerrilla war for self-determination against the Turks since the 1970s. 

The Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan or PKK) (Kurdish Worker’s Party), Turkish Kurds fighting for ...

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