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  • Iraq - What could go wrong ?

    One can read many articles on how the USA is going to strike Iraq and how soon the war will be over / how many casulties / what weaponsystems will be used etc.
    But I haven't read any article of what could go wrong. Lets assume that Saddam still has some SCUDs equipped with deadly biological or chemical weapons and that he will launch these missiles against Israel in case of an attack. Lets assume that one of these missiles hits Israel, killing thousands of innocents. I am pretty sure that Israel will retaliate, maybe they can be talked out of a nuclear strike but theyll definitely strike the Iraq hard. This could put some pro-west gov. in islamic states under enormous preassure, maybe overthrowing them. Now imagine these states, ruled by fanatics now, declare a holy war on the west. Imagine of of these states is Pakistan, suddenly atom bombs and some long range missiles are in the hands of islamic fanatics !
    Or what if Saddam uses WMD against the invading US troops ? George Bush has already announced that he will retaliate with nuclear weapons in such case! What is he going to do, nuke Baghdad ? If yes, the death of hundreds of thousands Iraquis will surly have a great impact, same as above, states might collaps, and the EU states will harshly protest, the political consequences will be enormous, I can imagine even NATO itself breaking apart.
    "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

    Henry Alfred Kissinger

  • #2
    The reason is probably so simple...

    Hello,

    The reason is probably so simple that it is hard to believe that at all!

    Nobody likes to dwell on the negatives of any prospect plans in invading or conducting an operation against any enemy.

    Nobody wants to hear about a possible nuclear exchange, nobody wants to hear what would have the Arab world done if Israel became actively participating in the war, nobody wants to even hear what if Saddam has actual WMDs to start with!

    That is why we're not seeing such articles.

    Planning a military operation is already bad enough in itself because it does only one thing: kill as many enemies as you can and occupy or achieve your objectives, that's it. There's nothing fancy or "non-lethal" about it. Actually, that's not it, but that's about simplistic you can get.

    What we are doing is something I call it "negative positivism." That means putting a lot of positive and well-thought out ideas into any plan or anything like with a few "footnotes" of possible negative results.

    Again, I emphasize my point, nobody likes to dwell on the possible negative results

    Nobody likes to hear about possible causalties if the civil war in Iraq were to break out, it would result in a few milllions of people dead and a devastated Iraq....

    Such unspeakable actions would be simply the by-products of removing a single tyrant....that is enough for anybody not wanting to dwell any more than is necessary on such negative outlook of any possible war with Iraq.

    Dan
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

    Comment


    • #3
      In my opinion, the media is focusing too much on the negative. They'll constantly speculating about our lack of preparation to fight in an urban environment, poor equipment, lack of manpower, etc.

      It would be inappropriate for the President of the United States to discuss our response to a possible WMD attack. First, that is providing more information to the Iraqis than I'd like them to have. More importantly, it's premature to announce a possible COA to a situation that will likely be very dynamic.

      President Bush Sr, told Saddam in a letter that the employment of any WMD against our forces would cause the US to use "other weapons," aka nuclear bombs. However, in reality the President had no intentions of using nuclear weapons. The basic plan was to attack the damns north of Baghdad. This would send a wall of water rushing south that once settled would submerge everything downstream in 6ft of water. The loss of life would have been horrific.

      Gen. Collin Powell went on to say the US would have used nuclear weapons if the situation and public opinion demanded. So the Bush Administration didn't commit itself eitherway because they needed to have a specific situation.

      This is the same situation. We can't say if Saddam uses chemical weapons, we'll strike with nuclear bombs. The WMD attack might not incur serious casualties, if any. Thus, one would be less inclined to killed tens of thousands of civilians. Maybe we wouldn't need to use WMDs because the military situation still favored our side. Another possibility is the availability of targets. We might not want to contaminate terrain we wish to occupy. There are many possibilities. We should understand this is a possibly and go in with "opened eyes." However, the US government should avoid committing or even discussing openingly what COAs it is considering.

      I've heard some discussion on the Israeli question. All possible plans being discussed now take into account the need to prevent Saddam from attacking Israel. Once attacked, few believe they will remain quiet. Though we would not prefer them to enter the world, as one congressmember stated on CNN a while back, no one could really fault Israel either.

      The public should be aware of the risk. To that end the media isn't doing their job. They are usually advised by a bunch of under-qualified analysts who couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag, let alone consider all the risk available. FOX news was advised by a man with no military background. He just had alot of sources.

      Alot of the topics Kraut raised have been discussed in the media. However, not enough. The media is too busy saying our military are a bunch of amateurs who don't know how to fight and will get creamed by the Iraqis.

      As Secretary Rumsfield stated two weeks ago, this will not be World War III. While there is opposition to invasion, alot of it is just talk. The EU might complain if we use WMDs, but I doubt they'd completely turn their backs on the US. In the end, we need each other. Besides, the US would not use nukes without consulting the EU and NATO.

      I also believe Cheetah772 made some good points. Polls suggest people are unwilling to accept costly consequences, so ignore the questions all together. I hope this changes. War requires total committment, no matter the cost. If we are willing to risk the life of one man, we should accept the lost of 20,000.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

      Comment


      • #4
        I think if the Israelis or the US end up using WMD (Nukes) against Iraq then people in Europe and indeed the rest of the world would be completely stunned and horrified! I think many people in the USA would also be of the same opinion.
        If Saddam still has any meaningful supplies of Chemical or Biological weapons left they are most likely to be used in major urban centers as area booby traps. Naturally the use of such weapons would be horrific and immoral but are unlikely to be capable of inflicting more than a few hundred casualties at a time. From a military point of view their main effect would be to slow down and hamper military operations and perhaps force the US military to back off and pulverize urban areas in advance before troops are sent in to occupy what’s left. In any event if a major battle for Baghdad does take place the refugees alone will create a major humanitarian crises. In all probability many thousands of civilians will die in this war.
        Re the Israelis they did not attack last time round and unless the Iraqis strike lucky are unlikely to do so. The chances are that western Iraq will be occupied in advance and any Scuds hunted down before the major invasion gets under way.
        But who knows for sure. '' When men make plans, the Gods laugh!''
        http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

        Comment


        • #5
          Here is the list of things I think can go wrong:

          Iraqi tankers use the "trick" to leaves their engines off until they get a flank or rear shot, unlike last time where they did it just once, AFAIK.

          Somebody may have come up with better ammunition for the T-72. I am no gun ballistics expert, but if you are assuming the tank will not survive more than two or three shots anyway, I think that you can raise penetraion by deliberately overloading the chamber.

          Saddam is retreating into the cities from start. Half of the military installations are turned into civilian bunkers with western press associates in or near them.

          Iraqi military concentrates on tricking the US troops into situations prone to friendly fire and/or figure out how to weaken US identification mechanisms.

          I eastimate the training of US tankers is less good than in 1991, where most came fresh from constant cold war training from Europe.

          Combining the last two points I can imagine quite a few losses on the US side. Nothing that would make Iraq win the war, but not making it a cakewalk for the US either.

          Comment


          • #6
            The US army is so civilian casualty conscious that the Iraqis may use civvies are "human shields". Dont be suprised if a HMG position is on the roof of an orphanage etc....

            Urban combat is scary as hell, because no matter what we do right, if we are concerned about casualties ambushes are far too likely.
            Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

            Comment


            • #7
              Invasion of Iraq?

              Hi folks, some very good and intresting points have been put forward towards this particualr discussion, I have a few ideas myself about some of the aspects that a war in Iraq would involve.

              1. Israel being hit by a WMD or two... The Israelis were under the same threat in the Gulf War and did not retaliate. I believe that the rest of the Arab League does want peace between Israel and the state of Palastine and therfore will not push against Israel, because when Israel takes a step backwards, it steps on the U.S's toes.

              2. Saddam using WMD against Allied troops? again during the Gulf War his much hyped up Guard Division was obliterated on the Basra road, there was very little stopping the Allies from running over Baghdad, and he still did not use them, why? I don't think he has any, I believe he is simply deceiving the U.S and trying to make them look like a fool (which doesn't take a lot of hard work, a few tin cans and some camo-nets look like a SCUD from a satelitte in space).

              3. People think that Saddam would stay in Baghdad, I don't think he would, he has a whole army in the north (his 1st Army, mostly made up of veteran units usd in the Iran-Iraq war and against the Kurds) which could use the hills and mountains to its advantage.

              4. U.S's main Ally, Britain is simply not ready for a long sustained (over 1 month long) war in Iraq, last year in Oman when on exercise the British had so many problems from the foot up it would be impossible for us to take on an army used to the heat and conditions of Iraq. In Oman the Helicopter blades for out Lynx Anti-Tank Atack Helo's needed changing everyday due to weathering, the SA-80 Assault Rifle clogged with sand, the Challenger II's engines became clogged up with fine siand and choked to death, the basic Infantryman needs two things to fight, if his Rifle clogs with sand then he can't even run away because his boots have already fallen apart from the suns heat!

              I don't know what state the U.S's weaponry and basc equipment is, but Britains is far from good, infact it is useless. Unless the British are the 1st wave?

              As I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no Evil.

              For I am the meanest mother f***** in the valley.

              George Patton jr.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thats an excellent point. In '91 the army tankers and troops had all the practice they wanted in germany. But now we have less experienced tankers. In terms of tanks, weapons, and such the army is alright. The M16 a4 is much less prone to clogging, and the M1 a2 tank is designed for extreme conditions. I think that the real problem this time around is that the forces will not be able to take out every target strategically with air resources. There is almost a guarentee of house to house fighting.
                Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wolfe Tone

                  I think if the Israelis or the US end up using WMD (Nukes) against Iraq then people in Europe and indeed the rest of the world would be completely stunned and horrified! I think many people in the USA would also be of the same opinion.
                  I don't think the United States will ever employ Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. However, everyone should understand that it is a possibility. This is a war, not a boxing match. If the American people demand it, and the situation and casualties are severe enough to lead commanders to conclude WMDs are the only way to salvage the operation, then we should consider employing them.

                  If Europe and the world will be stunned and horrified by the US using WMDs, what will it say about Saddam? I wouldn't be surprised to hear Germany claim Iraq was defending itself with weapons it wasn't suppose to have. For once, the "Double-Standard" will probably get the US.

                  Israel has every right to hit Saddam with nuclear weapons if Iraq attacks them with WMDs. The international community should make it clear to the Arab League and whoever else that attacking Israel with WMDs might force a very ugly response supported by the world.

                  I doubt Israel will retaliate with nuclear weapons. However, they are under alot of stress, and I would not say it's out of the question. Protecting Israel from a WMD attack should be our top priority. That means seizing Western Iraq quickly. I just pray it doesn't happen.

                  Originally posted by Alvis_Striker

                  2. Saddam using WMD against Allied troops? again during the Gulf War his much hyped up Guard Division was obliterated on the Basra road, there was very little stopping the Allies from running over Baghdad, and he still did not use them, why? I don't think he has any, I believe he is simply deceiving the U.S and trying to make them look like a fool (which doesn't take a lot of hard work, a few tin cans and some camo-nets look like a SCUD from a satelitte in space).
                  I have to disagree. First, it wasn't the RGFC that was hit hard on the road toward Basra, that was his regular army in Kuwait. CENTCOM estimated that 66% of the RGFC escaped VIIth and XVIIIth Corps with 50% of their equipment. They used the Medina and Hammurabi Divisions as the blocking forces and the rest escaped behind it. The maneuver was made successful by the pre-mature ceasefire.

                  Secondly, if Saddam has WMDs, we have to assume he's developed means to deploy them. That means placing them on SCUDs. While I wonder if he possess the sensitive fuses and other technology required to protect the agents during flight and deploy them effectively, we can't rule out the possibility. Saddam used Chemical weapons in the past, and UNSCOM did find chemical and biological weapons early on in their mission. So there is no reason to believe he doesn't have them. US intelligence believes Saddam possess chemical and biological agents with ability to deploy them with artillery, rockets, hand grenades, bombs, and even special rifle ammunition. There is no reason to doubt the accuracy of these statements.

                  Saddam didn't use WMDs the first time around because he didn't know just how far north Coaltion Forces had advanced. If he did, the Iraqis had to notice our turn West. Saddam likely understood we had no intentions of taking his regime. Since we didn't want Iraq, the US could use nuclear weapons without worrying about contaminating the battlefield for friendly forces. All this made him less inclined to use WMDs. He also knew that employing them would mean the end of his regime.

                  This time aroud, Saddam knows we mean to depose him. So he'll use whatever is in his arsenal, if just to kill more enemy soldiers. I always point to this, and I'll raise it again.

                  A CIA psych report on Saddam highlighted this incident to define the dictator's character.

                  After he participated in an attempted coup, Saddam was surrounded by Iraqi security forces. All he had was a .45 with one magazine. He fired every round before surrendering.

                  It doesn't matter whether or not he is going to loose. To Saddam defiance constitutes victory. Saddam cherishes his power. As we saw in the Gulf war, he was more concerned with protecting his regime than keeping Kuwait once the ground war began. He will first try to protect his regime. Once this becomes impossible, he'll use WMDs just to take as many of the enemy with him as possible. That's just how he thinks.

                  Originally posted by Alvis_Striker

                  3. People think that Saddam would stay in Baghdad, I don't think he would, he has a whole army in the north (his 1st Army, mostly made up of veteran units usd in the Iran-Iraq war and against the Kurds) which could use the hills and mountains to its advantage
                  You are absolutely correct. He doesn't need to remain in Baghdad to command his Army. However, taking the capital is militarily and pyschologically important. If Saddam doesn't control Baghdad, he doesn't control Iraq, at least from a political standpoint. Taking the city would deny him use of critical installations and equipment there. And if I'm not mistaken, the city is at the center of routes leading in all direction. We need to take Iraq quickly, but not at the outset of the invasion. That might be foolish.

                  Originally Posted by Alvis_Striker

                  4. U.S's main Ally, Britain is simply not ready for a long sustained (over 1 month long) war in Iraq, last year in Oman when on exercise the British had so many problems from the foot up it would be impossible for us to take on an army used to the heat and conditions of Iraq. In Oman the Helicopter blades for out Lynx Anti-Tank Atack Helo's needed changing everyday due to weathering, the SA-80 Assault Rifle clogged with sand, the Challenger II's engines became clogged up with fine siand and choked to death, the basic Infantryman needs two things to fight, if his Rifle clogs with sand then he can't even run away because his boots have already fallen apart from the suns heat!
                  The British did fine the first time around. And I think they are prepared to fight now. The British have a history of fighting in the desert. It's troops will be prepared to fight no matter how long. Although, I doubt the war will last more than 3 weeks.

                  Someone posted a little while ago concerning all this. They stated the British were more prepared than the media portrayed. I can't believe UK military in such disarray.

                  The Brit's will be critical to rapidly seizing key objectives early on. They have more light forces, particuarly paratroopers, available than the US. If we are going to try to seize Baghdad early on, the Brits will play a key role.

                  Originally posted by HeadShot

                  The US army is so civilian casualty conscious that the Iraqis may use civvies are "human shields". Dont be suprised if a HMG position is on the roof of an orphanage etc....

                  Urban combat is scary as hell, because no matter what we do right, if we are concerned about casualties ambushes are far too likely.
                  Very good point Headshot. While we should try to minimize civilian casualties, everyone must understand it requires alot of cooperation. If the Iraqis are inclined to sacrifice their civilian population, then we can't just walk away. I don't want US troops to level citities, but I do understand just how destructive urban combat is. Those who want to support the war must accept it in all it's ugly forms, that includes dead civilians.

                  I truly pray we don't place outrageous ROEs on our forces that appeases a bunch of jerks who would level the city if they were in the same position. This is a war.
                  "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Headshot
                    Thats an excellent point. In '91 the army tankers and troops had all the practice they wanted in germany. But now we have less experienced tankers.
                    The real danger is that tankers shoot Bradleys.

                    Especially if the Iraq soldiers activly try to create situations prone to friendly fire.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deltapooh
                      In my opinion, the media is focusing too much on the negative. They'll constantly speculating about our lack of preparation to fight in an urban environment, poor equipment, lack of manpower, etc.
                      "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

                      My comments on some of the above statements:

                      "Israel being hit by a WMD or two... The Israelis were under the same threat in the Gulf War and did not retaliate."
                      Yes, but know Israel is ruled by a different gov., Sharon has already publically announced that Israel _will_ retaliate this time!
                      And unlike 1991 were Saddam was the agressor this time the US will strike first and the propaganda down there will have no problems to convince the people from the streat that this is an attack by the godless west and the zionist to destroy Islam. Ppl belived this already in 1991 and they'll get even more furious this time with a real danger of uprisings trying to install islamic gov.s !

                      "Saddam using WMD against Allied troops? ... I don't think he has any"
                      He definitively had WMDs, he used them against his own ppl in 1984 and the weapon inspectors found huge amounts between 1991-1998 and destroyed them. It is unclear whether Saddam still has WMDs but its not unlikely.

                      "People think that Saddam would stay in Baghdad, I don't think he would..."
                      If he stays in Baghdad and a long urban fight erups with huge US casualties... will the US still support their president ?? I guess most americans are expecting a quick war with very little losses like in 1991. The press might tell them that they have to expect heavy losses but they told them the same in 1991 and luckily it didn't occured. I think many americans expect the same now, and if the unexpected happen and the Iraquis does not surrender en mass but put up a stiff fight in Baghdad the US might head towards another Vietnam.

                      "Somebody may have come up with better ammunition for the T-72"
                      IIRC most iraqui tanks were equipped with training munition because they are ten times cheaper but of course they are also far less lethal. With the proper munition even a T-72 can take out a M1A2 if he gets a rear shot or is very close (urban combat!)
                      "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose."

                      Henry Alfred Kissinger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would like to point out several differences between this, and nam.

                        1. No big bad boy. The soviet union err russia is our deranged friend this time around.

                        2.The war will not be controlled fromwashington, noone lets bush run a coffee maker for gods sake.

                        3.Weve done it before.

                        4. The civvies are with us. Although we could change that...
                        Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Deltapooh

                          You are right in saying there would be double standards applied if Iraq used WMD against coalition forces in a forthcoming war. However by the US using WMD I mean Nukes, which by their nature are very casualty intensive, with long term after effects lasting generations. If Iraq has any WMD they are most likely small stocks of chemical weapons which of course it would be immoral to use but are unlikely to be militarily of that much use to them. In other words they don't have enough (if they have any at all) to effect the overall outcome.
                          In fairness to the Iraqis though would you not say that if America were invaded by a foreign group of nations that the US would not feel fully justified in throwing everything in their armory against the invaders?
                          http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally Wolfe Tone

                            In fairness to the Iraqis though would you not say that if America were invaded by a foreign group of nations that the US would not feel fully justified in throwing everything in their armory against the invaders?
                            You don't want to destroy your own land and kill more of your people than the enemy. When the fight is over with, you will be the that has to deal with the long term effects of NBC weapons. From a defense standpoint, WMDs should be employed away from your civilian population. For the Iraqis, that means the desert. We already know the open desert means mobility. Thus making it difficult for the Iraqis to fix our forces. So I really can't see why they would employ WMDs when their stated strategy is fight the invading force in the urban environment. Hitting front line Coalition troops with WMDs will likely kill just as many, or more Iraqis as foreign soldiers. If the civilians realize who just gased them, chances are they might turn and support the allies. So IMHO, the Iraqis would do more damage to their own mission by employing Weapons of Mass Destruction, than ours.

                            Unfortunately, Saddam is far from a military commander. He will go all out and worry about the consequences later.

                            As for the Coalition response, I don't think hitting the enemy back will do much good. Weapons of Mass Destruction, no matter who employs them, slows our advance. The more these weapons are used, the slower, and more vulnerable, we become to additional attacks. Speed is critical to success with minimum casualties. We should avoid compromising this for anything.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is very true that speed will end the war and get the outcome that we wish for. But sending Spec Ops in wont be the answer. Speed doesnt always mean sleek. Perphaps we should take a bit of a lesson from germany and not just use speed, but use the biggest hammer we can find. If we bombard those troops weve got a really good chance of them surrendering. Lets not make the same stupid urban combat mover we made last time, im somalia, and end up with our "surgical strike" dead in the water.

                              ~happy Detroit Lions road loss everybody who watches the NFL~
                              Dooley
                              Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

                              Comment

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