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Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy

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  • Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy

    Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy
    U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq But Losing the War, Some Officers Say

    By Thomas E. Ricks
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, May 9, 2004; Page A01

    Deep divisions are emerging at the top of the U.S. military over the course of the occupation of Iraq, with some senior officers beginning to say that the United States faces the prospect of casualties for years without achieving its goal of establishing a free and democratic Iraq.

    Their major worry is that the United States is prevailing militarily but failing to win the support of the Iraqi people. That view is far from universal, but it is spreading and being voiced publicly for the first time.

    Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning. But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."

    Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view and noted that a pattern of winning battles while losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an interview Friday.
    Full Story

    Gen. Swannack is talking sense here. Time for the others to listen.

    If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.
    -Dan Quayle
    I hate it when I see one of those road signs that says "Draw Bridge Ahead" and I don't have a pencil.
    -Lou Chiafullo

  • #2

    While I acknowledge the concerns of both officers, I think that a) they are voicing their concerns before they become serious problems, feeling that in this way, they will be addressed and overcome; or b) they are being possibly just a bit pessimistic. I don't place my viewpoints above those of two senior, and well experienced, officers, though I must question anybody who compares this war to Vietnam. A perhaps more apt comparison would be our Revolutionary War - the British won the majority of the engagements and still lost. In fact, all comparisons are valid only to a certain degree - no war is ever re-fought.

    We do need to re-focus to some degree, and I think this is occurring, if rather slowly. Our troop complement is still largely configured for Maneuver Combat, and we do need to retain that capability to a degree, but certain some more concentration on a more mobile force (al a 10th Mountain or 2d Cav) needs to be explored. We DO NOT want to lose our Heavy Maneuver divisions, only to need them 3, 5, 10 years down the road - reconstitution is a long process, a possible fatal error. Recall that our major rival in the next 10 to 25 years will be the People's Republic of China. Unlike Russia, the have a robust economy, capable (if somewhat obsolescent) armed forces, and an expansive R&D sector. Should we become embroiled against the PRC somewhere with only light forces, the battle will be over before it starts.
    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)


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