Wednesday, April 26, 2006

General "Maintenance" Eight (8) Steps Up...

Re(1): 'Bush Speaks Out for Rumsfeld', Washington Post, Peter Baker and Josh White
Re(2): 'Remember Millenium Challenge?', Warblogging, March 30 2003
Re(3): 'Headline: Iraq War / Military Campaign / Sandstorm / War Cost', Television News Archive

Apparently the eighth General "Maintenance" is out there...

His name is Marine Lt. General Paul Van Riper. He retired in 1996. I thought I had heard of him - he is a bit of a maverick. He is now hollerin that we should have attacked with more troops. However, the total ground troop strength was cut in half on his watch. He participated in a war game excercise in 2002 where he proved that we would be driven into the sea and a carrier battlefleet would be sunk if we attacked Iraq with Rumsfeld's transformed military:

As Slate's Fred Kaplan pointed out on Friday, however, Wallace's statement simply isn't true. "Militia fighters did play a crucial role in a major war game designed to simulate combat in Iraq," Kaplan says, referring to Millenium Challenge 2002. The thing is that the Pentagon completely ignored the actions of the militia and repeatedly stopped the game and said "that didn't happen" when Red (the side representing Iraqi forces) inflicted massive damage on Blue (Anglo-American) forces.


In one instance, as I reported in September of last year, Riper "sunk" the American invasion fleet before they had a chance to land an amphibious assault force. How did the Pentagon officials managing the exercise respond? They stopped the exercise and ordered the fleet "re-floated". In another example Riper used motorcycle messengers to send messages between Red Force troops — thereby escaping the effects of American eavesdropping technology. Again, the Pentagon ignored the effects of the use of motorcycle messengers.

Uuuuummmm, this article appeared in the March 30, 2003 issue of Warblogging. - ten days into the war. Was the author using this example to predict the failure of the Iraq invasion as a result of the "Great Sandstorm" of March 25/26 2003. Ah, the futility and the failure. The sandstorm crushed us just as the Russian winter destroyed Napoleon’s invading empire...

I would like to remind the ardent few who read this blog - the invasion of Iraq is now considered one of the finest military feats in history. The militia did NOT play a critical role in the invasion and a carrier was not sunk. Lt. General Riper may attempt to use his previous statements to back his current blathering, but that would be disingenuous. The excercise he was involved in dealt with the invasion plan - not post war necessities.

1 comment:

Major Mike said...

If I very first call into the Hugh hewitt show was directed at the MMQB, second guesser, sideline types, who because they (and their huge egos) weren't in charge, felt that the whole invasion was doomed and a fiasco. Fools all. As usual, the military outperformed, by far its critics, including those former insiders who thought they knew what was going on...they all make me puke.

Second. I have yet to (and likely never will again) particapte in a operational gaming exercise where the OpFor is not granted a considerably more leeway in the conduct of their forces than the "green" forces. This almost always results in disasterous "defeats" for the "green" forces, and scalding criticisms for the poor commander trying to execute out of the established playbook. Van Riper got his motorcycle messangers via a gift from an umpire...did he account for all the necessary, training, mapping, and other logistical requirements for this ad-hoc force? Based on what I've seen before I doubt it, but a "green" commander could never make such an ad-hoc move without meeting or accommodating, most, if not all of these factors.

Three. van Riper was not the commander of the Iraqi forces on the ground, now was he? The "enemy" is the sum total of his parts...his generalship, his weapons, his training, the caliber of his troops, his troops' morale,...a myriad of factors, so meeting his "paper" capability on the "board" really has very little to do with determining who will win the fight. It is useful for testing logistical plans, general schemes, tactical-support integration, etc., but it will not tell you who will 'win" the war.

Lastly. As my grunt friend have reminded me many times..."when the shooting starts, everyone beocmes their own squad leader." This is true on a dozen levels, but it hits upon a salient point about is often the individual troop on the ground...certainly battalion level actions and below, where the battle is won or lost...and no damn board game, nor any arm chair general is ever going to change that.

Since 1991, our forces have crushed in the field, every model derived for them for "war games." What is broken, are our gaming models.

Get over it, like me are no longer in the game. go to your "I love me" rooms, lament about the good ole days, BUT STAY OUT OF THE PRESS.