Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mr. Lowry, Ask the Military how to Manage WMD Battlespace

Re(1): 'Writing The War', National Review (subscriber) April 24 2006, Rich Lowry
Re(2): 'Muscular Multiculturalism', National Review, Rich Lowry

In the ‘National Review’ April 24, 2006, Rich Lowry opines on three books in the ‘books, arts & manners’ section. Namely:
  1. ‘The Assassins Gate’, George Packer
  2. ‘Cobra II’, Michael Gordon and General Trainor
  3. And ‘No True Glory’, by Bing West
In fairness, I will probably read all three – partly as a result of his review. But, and this is a pretty big but

Lowry yanks out the following:
Packer, Gordon, and Trainor are persuasive when they argue that the U.S. effort was harmed by limited forces. The invasion plan had substituted speed for mass – successfully. But as Gordon and Trainor write, ‘Mass, not speed, was requisite for sealing the victory.’ Certainly, if we had it to do over again, we would try the option of sending more forces.
I think Lowry et al. are wrong for at least three reasons:
  1. It is obvious that the original battleplan included about 40,000 seasoned Army troops that spent their time on a Med Cruise as a result of Turkey’s unexpected decision.
  2. If you are referencing Shinseki’s 400,000 (sung to the tune of McNamera’s 100,000) troop requirement, then think of how that would have been accomplished. The total ground force capability of America’s active duty forces was about 600,000 at the time. And Rumsfeld’s water spout was a bit higher in that water barrel back then. Where are you going to get 400,000 grunts when 40% - 50% of the soldiers and Marines at the time were POGs (Personnel Other than Grunts). And the UN dithered for half a year- leaving us about two months of acceptable combat weather. And, don’t forget South Korea, Bosnia, Africa, Asia, etc…
  3. And, actually most importantly, if you expect the battlespace to be marred by the use of WMD you DO NOT mass into a giant herd. Such a herd is a massive target of opportunity for a WMD strike. That is one huge reason to “substitute speed for mass” in the Iraq invasion plan. Oh, how soon we forget.
So, again, tell me that we should have massed up Shinseki’s fictional 400,000 (a number only a bureaucrat could love), attack through an ‘ally’ to get more soldiers to the combat zone, lose any element of tactical surprise, and ignore the threat of WMD..

In conclusion, it is apparent that Gordon, Trainor, and even Lowry are similar in one sense to George Packer
a liberal hawk, which sometimes seems to mean someone whose support of the war was contingent on nothing going wrong.
Actually, I think I am being a bit too hard on Rich Lowry. But it was fun – and I think it made a point. He is a journalist, not a military 3 type… And, I don’t claim to be one either – the above could be bunk, but it seems to make sense; and it made sense in 2001 and 2003…

1 comment:

Major Mike said...

Bohgie, Nice post. Don't second guess nailed it. I guess we have all forgotten about the months of UN dithering, that would have only spoiled the operational readiness of even MORE troops waiting to cross the LOD. Each and every battle could be fought, and won, a hundred different ways...each with slightly different results, successes, and setbacks...this is the nature of war and combat...a fact the these Monday Morning Armchair Generals, and amateur tacticians completely fail to realize. Good stuff...we'll be linking to you when we get some admin time. MM