Thursday, April 03, 2003

Most people who know me will tell you that I can get ticked off by weird things. So maybe I'm the only one in the world who finds this statement really scary:

U.S. forces Friday occupied most of Saddam International Airport — about 10 miles southwest of central Baghdad, inflicting heavy Iraqi casualties on troops that put up little resistance, the military said.

They put up little resistance, so we were able to kill many more of them.


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Here's a question: Why on Earth do we have a debate within the Administration over whether to turn Iraqi reconstruction over to the UN?

If the UN is willing to step in with peacekeepers and a transition plan for kickstarting a government, why the hell wouldn't we want to just pack up, go home, and let them do the dirty work?

Unless...Is it possible that this war isn't really about establishing democracy at all?

No, that's just crazy talk.

Fineman does some unusually deep analysis of the debate. Which is to say, it's not very deep at all, but doesn't assume that all administration spin is a priori truth.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003 is its usual caustic self. Today they feature Rumsfeld briefing the press.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Administration officials over the past few days have been stressing that they never promised us a rose garden. "We always knew this would be a tough fight," the current spin goes.

Pretty much any well-traveled blog enthusiast knows by now that this line is unadulterated horseshit. Quotes from Cheney, Perle and Adelman that promised--or at least incautiously predicted--a cakewalk have come out of the woodworks, and even mainstream media outlets have momentarily awakened, groggy from their dreams of 'shock and awe,' to note the discrepancy.

But forget the quotes. If you want some evidence that these clowns thought we would have no trouble winning our lightning war, look at this, from A Plan Under Attack, a Newsweek article on MSNBC:

Unlike the air raids in the first gulf war, Operation Iraqi Freedom did not turn off the lights and water in Baghdad or blow the bridges. Iraqi state-run TV stayed on the air. The hope was that a new Iraqi government would announce the demise of the old after a few days of bombing. Instead, a growing parade of Baathist officials took to the airwaves to rally the troops.

The war planners didn't leave Iraq TV on the air out of concern for Iraqis who might miss their weekly 'Funniest Home Videos' fix. They did it because it didn't make sense to bomb a TV station--which they would need later--if they would have to fix it in just a few days.

Instead, seeing Saddam and Tariq Aziz in press conferences and speeches seems to have stiffened many Iraqis' resolve, giving the PsyOps campaign a big boost--to the other side.

The TV incident is just one indicator of the war planners' overweening confidence. More glaring, of course, are the stretched-to-the-limit supply lines:

The Third Infantry Division, one spearhead on the multiprong drive to Baghdad, paused for a few days last week to let its supply line catch up. Food and water ran low at times; some troops were reportedly on reduced rations. (The supply requirements of the Coalition forces are vast: 15 million gallons of gasoline a day and 26 Olympic-size swimming pools of water.) Sheer exhaustion wore down troops who were on the move for three days straight, then hunkered down through sandstorms and harassing enemy attacks.

One could blame sandstorms, or those crazy Iraqis who keep fighting dirty, or any number of factors, for these supply problems. But it seems obvious that, in addition to hoping for a coup and/or mass surrenders, the war plan depended on:

  1. The south of Iraq not fighting against our troops significantly when we tried to take their cities
  2. The south not harassing our supply lines even after the territory was 'secured'
  3. Decent weather

I'm not much of a student of military planning. But any plan that depends on that many iffy propositions seems like a bad plan to me.

I wish Rumsfeld et al. had listened to the military professionals before this thing got started. Now, we have to hope that Plan B can end this war before it heads to a nasty standoff during the Iraqi summer (which, you may recall, is the environmental factor that forced us to rush ourselves to begin with).

Keep your fingers crossed.