I wrote the below nigh on three years ago. Things haven’t changed any in Iraq since–how could they? The key factors are the geography and the logistics, as is generally always the case in warfare. Geography, logistics, and the will to fight–that’s most of warfare. We have all three against us in Iraq, and hell it is even worse in Afghanistan.
I freely confess to being a military amateur. I gladly encourage persons with more military expertise than me to comment on the article. I don’t see how I am wrong anywhere in it. And as far as military amateurism goes, well, history records a book that came out in 1912 by this Polish civilian nobody named Bloch who predicted that the next European big war would involve massive armies fighting each other in trenches behind barbed wire with huge artillery bombardments and machine guns making infantry maneuver impossible; that the next war would be a mobilization of the entire industrial capabilities of Europe and the entire adult male populace, and it would last years, and would be more costly and destructive by far than any war that ever came before. Expert military opinion at the time universally said Bloch was a crank and was wrong on every single prediction.
So here it is. To any superpatriotic kneejerk who says that I am giving aid and assistance to the enemy, I must confess, partly guilty. It is well possible that my ideas are completely new to the Iraqis and Afghanis who fight against us in their homelands, and that they could well seize them, and use them, and defeat the US Army that invades and occupies their countries. I am completely guilty of being an American patriot, however, who remains astounded at our military overreach and stupidity and our apparent glad willingness to be crosswise with the facts on the ground, a cardinal and unforgivable sin in the profession of arms. It is simple. We can leave under our own volition, with some useful input into the futures of those countries, and their regions, or we can be forced out by military defeat and humiliation and have no input, save except via high explosives uselessly and pointlessly delivered by the USAF for as long as our spite has us do so. That is our choice, and whether or not we choose to see the obvious, and act appropriately on it, is entirely up to us.
Daniel N. White
February 11, 2010
Our Defeat is Certain, and it is Soon
Or at least that’s my take on the military situation in Iraq. The why goes back to World War II, and our air war against Nazi Germany. Formations of B-17’s and 24’s would fly and fight their way across Europe to their targets in Germany. Key word is formation–the planes flew in an ordered arrangement that was calculated to maximize defensive firepower and minimize risk. Events showed that the lead squadron in the formation was the most vulnerable to fighter attack, and there were times when the lead formation was savaged by German fighter attacks, and would lose a majority of its planes. But not always, and the task of flying lead rotated from squadron to squadron, so the risk was shared by all and minimized to each aircrew. What had the brighter USAAF intelligence officers worried was if the Germans, instead of scattering their fighter attacks across the entire bomber formation were to concentrate on annihilating the lead squadron. USAAF intelligence figured that the Luftwaffe could easily enough, if commanded properly, attack the lead squadron with however many airplanes it took and accept whatever losses came with the task and annihilate the lead squadron every raid. Intel figured that after a time–four or six or eight times in a row–USAAF would have to stop the bomber war. Between aircrew morale collapse, and incipient aircrew and command mutinies, nobody would fly lead, and no more bomber raids. Fortunately for us, the Luftwaffe never figured this out when they had the opportunity to do this–why they didn’t hasn’t been adequately investigated and answered to my knowledge, but I’d bet that the Luftwaffe generals never had the idea occur to them, that if any bright Luftwaffe pilot had the idea the Luftwaffe bureaucracy killed it, and the Luftwaffe intel boys never had a decent grasp of the psychology of their American enemy.
Much the same in Iraq now. Instead of the bomber formations, it is our supply convoys, who must travel a relatively small number of routes from Kuwait to Baghdad. Convoys of a couple of dozens of trucks, escorted by armored Humvees, Bradleys, and Strykers, that carry the absolutely essential supplies for the Army in Iraq from depots in Kuwait. The convoys get chewed up some now by IED’s and RPG’s, but what could really put a hurt on them are the wire-guided antitank missiles. These have a range of 2500 or more yards, and fire a warhead that is guaranteed to destroy any truck, Humvee, or armored vehicle and also kill everyone inside. Advantage they have, big advantage, over IED’s is the huge increase in area that needs watching closely. Planting an IED means you have to work next to the roads. With ATGM’s you’ve got 2500 yards on either side of the road, maybe more, to hide your weapons in. Watching roads is work enough; watching a mile and a half of all the countryside along every road is a different story. The newer missiles don’t miss, they aren’t that difficult to use, and the operator can be some distance away from the missile and its launcher to where finding the operator after the missile launches–it launches with a big blast of smoke and dust–is damned near impossible. These missiles are readily available and fairly cheap–something like $50,000 a copy.
So here’s what the insurgency has to do to win the war handily and quickly. Select a couple of hundred men or women and train them in operation of whatever ATGM you choose to get. Get a couple of hundred of these missiles and preposition them in preselected ambush sites on the 200 miles of the main highways between Kuwait and Iraq. Select and train more people to be lookouts, and give them cellphones and codes. Once everything is set, put your men in place and start attacking the convoys. Attack and kill the last vehicle in every convoy, no matter how many ambushes and missiles it takes. Much like every bomber formation had a lead squadron, every convoy has its last vehicle in it, a tailend charlie. You don’t have to bother shooting up the rest of the convoy, although with ATGM’s that’s an easy enough task. Best if the tailend charlie vehicle is a military armored vehicle like it normally is–more US casualties. Nail the last truck in the convoy, too, if tailend charlie is military–get civilian drivers killed, run them out of the theater. Lot of the truckdrivers are civilians, and it won’t take more than half a dozen of them in a row killed before they all quit, particularly when each convoy comes in with a load of dead GI’s from an incinerated Bradley, too. The Army can replace the quit civilian truckdrivers with soldiers, easy enough. But morale in the Army isn’t good enough now, this late into this sour war, to withstand the psychological pressures of certain death for tailend charlie. The Army’s morale will break after 20 to 50 successful ambushes. Mutinies of some sort will happen, mostly at the command level first, then at the grunt level. When that happens, the convoys stop, and we are defeated, and our war there is over. We’ll be able to fight our way out of Iraq, that won’t be that hard, and the Air Force will be put to good use evacuating civilian and military personnel, but we’ll leave lots of stuff behind. Big humiliation for the US, done on the cheap, by less than 5000 Iraqis and $10,000,000 in armaments.
The Iraqis haven’t done this yet because first they don’t have any ATGM’s that are worth a shit. They aren’t organized enough yet, we think, to put together that many people in a training program, and to organize enough ambush and storage hides in advance. That and they haven’t thought through things enough, and like the Luftwaffe they don’t understand their US opponents well enough, to realize that an attack on US Army morale is the key to victory. They will probably require the assistance of some outside nation player to supply and more importantly, train them. When all these things come together, which they can quickly with the right leadership, it is about two months from start to finish on this project. For all we know, it is happening as we speak, and the battle could be sprung tomorrow. If the Iraqi resistance is worth half a shit, this is what they will do, and we will have no counter.
And the consequences to the future of the Army will be severe and permanent–the Army defeated, the USA defeated, the complete collapse of our military venture in Iraq. It will be a very difficult defeat for the military and their civilian shills to swallow–defeat on a small item like this would be ten times harder to swallow than an epic standup knock-down dragout fight on some battlefield. Mutinies, defeat, and disgrace–bad medicine for the military. The US political system will have a hard time swallowing it too–there’s been too much internalization of our military omnipotence in conservative political circles to accept a defeat like this. The domestic political fallout is apt to be severe and extreme, because of the resentment, the blameshifting, the evasion of responsibility that will follow.
It’ll be a lot less painful, costly, and humiliating to leave sooner under our own volition some than be forced out by defeat–just ask the French about Dien Bien Phu. We need to get out before we are forced out. We need to get out now under the best terms we can get, or sooner or later we will be defeated and forced out. The Iraqis will get smart and organized and that’s the end of it. That’s our choice. The facts on the ground are unavoidable and unchangeable, as is always the case in warfare. We must not get crosswise with them, and if we do, this late in this sorry game, well it serves us all–the Army, the US military, and the American nation and people–right.
[DS added the videos]
Civilian deaths anger Iraqis
February 13, 2010
US and Iraqi troops have been accused of killing several civilians during a military operation in Iraq’s Maysan province, on the border with Iran.
The troops say they were raiding Iranian-backed fighters and weapons smugglers when they came under attack. A gunfight ensued in which lives were lost.
But Iraqis are angry and they are calling on the central government to punish those responsible for the civilian deaths. (13 Feb 2010)
US Raid In Southern Iraq Kills and Maims Innocents – Eyewitness Report
February 13, 2010
Recorded February 13, 2010 at 0900GMT