Further recommendations for getting good-quality news: 1. Go to The Daily Kos and search on “Officer X”. 2. Read Officer X’s communiques.The deal: The pseudonymous Kos has a friend named Billmon. I can’t tell whether he has posting privileges on TDK, but he’s clearly a friend of the weblog. In his turn, Billmon is acquainted with Officer X, who made his first appearance in TDK on Tuesday morning with a piece called What the Experts Are Saying. It starts with Billmon’s introduction:
A reporter friend of mine just slipped me something interesting. It’s a background analysis of the situation facing the coalition forces in front of Baghdad, written by a fairly well known military officer and commentator who under the circumstances is going to have to remain unidentified, other than to say that he is fairly well known military officer and commentator. I was told I could post this as long as I carefully scrubbed out all personal references, which I think (hope) I’ve done.And so on. Officer X weighed in again today, with more startlingly blunt commentary, in More from Officer X:
This memo doesn’t spill any secrets, but it is a thoughtful analysis based on Officer X’s conversations with some of his colleagues — all of whom are harshly critical of the war plan and Rumsfeld’s meddling with it. I’ve added descriptions of some of the acronyms, and cleaned up the spelling a bit. Otherwise it is verbatim:
The “Shock and Awe” campaign failed completely. The traditional term of “Mass” has not been used by ground forces. Air power has supplied the mass, while the ground forces have suffered from “economy of force” being redefined. The march of 3rd ID (infantry division), while amazing, has left huge supply lines from Kuwait. These supply lines do not seem to be well guarded. The Apache attack on the Medina division was largely ineffective.
The 4th Generation War has begun with the fragging of the BDE TOC of the 101st by a Muslim soldier, and the use of irregular forces in Umm Qasr, Basra, Nasiriya and Al Najaf. Basra has not been taken yet, nor has Nasiriya.
The lack of ground forces, combined with Turkey’s refusal to allow 4th ID to attack from the North, has allowed Iraqi forces to concentrate their efforts on the Euphrates River and the numerous axes of advance from the South.If one or two heavy divisions were on the ground, the Iraqi OODA (Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action) Loop would be lengthened significantly. Instead of the Allied three division elements attacking at once, there would be at least a somewhat equal amount of Divisions on the ground to tackle the 6-8 Republican Guard Divisions in and around Baghdad. …
…Now look at how the top leadership is changing or modifying their stories, from quick victories to explaining a longer war.Do I believe in Officer X? Maybe I do. Maybe it doesn’t matter. His writing may not fingerprint as clearly as Salam Pax’s, but it has a coherent intelligence and a sense of context. More to the point, it’s very illuminating.
It has now gotten to the point that arrogance and an obession with technology undermines our ability to come up with effective grand strategy and (word missing) strategy, conduct operational art, and focus on the tactical battle as the means to the end to accomplishing those goals.
The CENTCOM plan: My perception
The plan was based on the false assumptions that the Iraqis would not fight, the people would welcome us, and that airpower would dominate and force — through the immature “shock and awe” or “effects based targeting” — the Iraqis to submit. The Army was only there to march and occupy Baghdad as an occupation force.
This explains in part why the force is small to conquer such a country. On the other hand, it is not too small — don’t let the generals say otherwise. They see strength as risk averse. The force was not task organized correctly and maneuver warfare was not applied correctly.
The M1s were too dispersed, particularly among the Marines, in equality. The 3ID (infantry division) took their entire trains instead of organzing into battle groups with resupply by air. The 3 ID battle groups should have taken the same route, but used the Marines to secure the western bank of the Euphrates.
The 101st could be used to secure FARRPS (forward area rearm and refuel points) to keep the forward edge of the 3 ID supplied. Use a mixture of Longbows and A10s constantly overhead of the advancing Armor to blow paths in front of the columns as they move.
The Brit battlegroups should have advanced with the 3rd ID. The Marines would establish a series of Guard and Screening forces west and south of the Euphrates River as the main effort advanced.
Use all air power to associate with the movement of the ground force, either as close air or tactical battlefield integration.We are now just discovering the fallecy of our planning. The troops are working and fighting hard — I am really proud of them — but we have not even began to fight the Republican Guard. It also seems the Iraqis studied the Kosovo War and the Serbians. But even 3-7 (Cavalry Squadron), after days of light contact, lost 2-3 tanks and a Bradley because they drove into an ambush. Only the incredible fire power of the U.S. and the mobility of the M1A1 (defined as the ability to maneuver under fire) saved 3-7 CAV. …