Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2004 » The incompetence of "the war president"...

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10/01/2004: The incompetence of "the war president"...


From Sherman Wright who, as a West Point grad and former Army officer, knows whereof he speaks:

The unrest in Iraq can be traced back to a single root cause: Bush Administration incompetence. This incompetence has been manifested in many ways, but as related to the Iraq insurgency it all stems from very poor judgment about how Iraqis in general and the Iraqi military in particular would react to being conquered by a foreign power. The best way to appreciate this is to consider what American soldiers would do in the same situation. This is an easy one for me because of the time I spent in the US Army, particularly my combat arms branch assignments before and after my involvement with intelligence. Specifically, I was a platoon leader in an Armored Cavalry troop, and later was a company commander in a Combat Engineer company. Both assignments had me in close contact with some very lethal weaponry and materiel. For example, my armored cavalry platoon had 20mm cannons that rapid-fired explosive rounds. (For movie buffs, this was the weapon that Clint Eastwood used to break into a bank vault in the film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot). My platoon also had a 106mm mortar track. This is large as mortars go. Both of these weapons are reasonably portable, and can be effectively deployed in, say, a pickup truck. In addition, the troop had a full complement of personal weapons: M16 rifles, .45 automatics, and M203 grenade launchers. My Combat Engineer company had all of these personal weapons plus all manner of explosive devices and materiel. So why am I telling you this? Well, had the US been invaded and, in the subsequent chaos, a public announcement made that the US Army would be disbanded, I can tell you exactly what would happen. Within minutes dozens of pickup trucks would pull up to the company armory and start loading up with anything that would go BANG. All this stuff would be out on the road within an hour and buried by sundown. Then, once things settled down, we would have dug it up and started shooting at the enemy. Does anyone think it would matter that the enemy talks about elections? Bringing this back to Iraq, itís clear that disbanding the Iraqi army at the close of initial hostilities was a colossal mistake. It gave the Baathist officer corps the motivation, indeed almost the imperative, to hide all of their weapons and explosives. Had the Bush Administration instead announced early in the invasion (maybe on those leaflets it was dropping) that cohesive Iraqi Army units would be retained for stability operations, officers would have had an incentive to keep their men and materiel secured. Then, these units should have been quickly given a mission like anti-looting to reinforce their new role. This would have killed two birds with one stone, keeping the military cohesive as a force for stability while preventing the looting that virtually destroyed Iraq as a functioning modern society. All of this should have been clear to any officer or former officer. It was certainly clear to all of the fellow academy alumni I talked with back then. That these basic issues were ignored just reinforces that the Bush Administration doesnít have a clue.


Len on 10.01.04 @ 09:17 PM CST



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