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Top 10 Lists: Top Ten Myths About the War in Iraq
Strategy page ^ | 2-24-03 | Strategy Page

Posted on 03/26/2003 5:54:44 PM PST by LadyDoc

March 24, 2003: Top Ten Myths About the War in Iraq- War brings forth strenuous efforts to report what is happening and why. It also brings forth many persistent myths. Here are ten of them. There are more, but you get the idea.

1-Iraqis Will (or Won't) Fight- Iraq has a dismal record in the warmaking department. However, the Iraqi secret police have an excellent record at inflicting violence on unarmed (or lightly armed) Iraqis. Several hundred thousand Iraqis work for Saddam performing this necessary (for keeping Saddam in power) function and these are the people who are fighting now. Not a lot of them, but all of them know that if Saddam falls, their jobs, and perhaps their lives, disappear. Note that the Iraqi army has largely avoided the coalition military units moving through Iraq. And the number of armed thugs willing to shoot it out with coalition troops is quite small.

2-The Republican Guard is a tough, well trained, combat organization. No, the Republican Guard selects people, especially officers, primarily for their loyalty to Saddam. They get paid a lot better than the regular army, have better equipment, barracks and rations. But as fighters, they are nothing special. During the Gulf War, the Republican Guard did stand and fight, and were blown away by American combat units, even when they outnumbered the Americans five (or more) to one.

3-The United States made a big mistake by not overthrowing Saddam in 1991. We had promised our Arab allies in 1990 that we would expel the Iraqis from Kuwait and would not invade Iraq. The Arabs said they could handle Saddam. They couldn't, but don't want to admit it. The U.S. waited twelve years, and then stopped waiting.

4-The United States armed Saddam. This one grew over time, but when Iraq was on it's weapons spending spree from 1972 (when its oil revenue quadrupled) to 1990, the purchases were quite public and listed over $40 billion worth of arms sales. Russia was the largest supplier, with $25 billion. The US was the smallest, with $200,000. A similar myth, that the U.S. provided Iraq with chemical and biological weapons is equally off base. Iraq requested Anthrax samples from the US government, as do nations the world over, for the purpose of developing animal and human vaccines for local versions of Anthrax. Nerve gas doesn't require technical help, it's a variant of common insecticides. European nations sold Iraq the equipment to make poison gas.

5-The United States is doing it for oil, as in seizing Iraq's oil and assuring cheap oil for the United States. When Gulf nations nationalized American oil companies operating in their territory over the last half century, the U.S. did nothing. Assuming that after the U.S. liberates Iraq it is going to turn around and steal all the oil is pure conspiracy theory, with no basis in fact or history whatsoever.

6-The world opposes the U.S. invasion of Iraq, so the world must be right. The rest of the world is different. One difference is that the rest of the world is more risk averse. They would rather tolerate Saddam and the threat he represents than take risks to eliminate his murderous tyranny. Moreover, many people in the rest of the world consider it more important (and a lot safer) to feel right than to do right. That's why everyone tolerates murderous situations in Congo, Sudan, Rwanda and North Korea. Saddam has killed over half a million Iraqis and driven 15 percent of the population into exile. The killing continues while the world preaches patience. Now the killers are getting killed, and soon the terror will be gone. Who is right?

7-The U.S. created Saddam. Arab nationalism created Saddam. He neither asked, needed nor got any help from the United States as he rose to power in the Baath party. When he took over in 1979, he promptly went to war with Iran a year later. Even before that, public opinion, and public policy, regarding Saddam (the bloody minded head of the secret police) was negative. You can go read it in the contemporary papers. Despite most Americans feeling OK about Iran getting hammered by Iraq (because Iran had held our embassy staff hostage for over a year), there was no move to provide Iraq with weapons. When the Iraqis looked like they might fold, and Iran's then fearsome Islamic Jihad (against less observant Moslems, and mostly against America, the Great Satan) might spread, the U.S. provided Iraq with satellite photos of Iranian military positions. After that war ended in a draw in 1988, the U.S. believed Saddam's pronouncements that he had seen the light and would rein in his aggressive impulses.

8-The U.S. strategy for invading Iraq is a colossal failure. Hard to say, as it's less than a week since the war began and the strategy is decapitation (eliminating Saddam), not fighting thousands of Saddams thugs before getting to the Big Guy himself. Come back in a few weeks and the truth will be revealed.

9-It will cost the U.S. billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq. Last time anyone looked, Iraq was sitting on several trillion dollars worth of oil and, as such, can easily obtain loans to pay for its own reconstruction.

10-The UN embargo hurt the Iraqi people more than Saddam. The Kurds in northern Iraq, getting the same per capital share of the oil for food money as the rest of Iraq (controlled by Saddam) has done dramatically better than any Iraqi ruled by Saddam. That may be because the Kurds are not building palaces, new missiles, bunkers and military bases. Nor did the Kurds have a large army, or a secret police organization. Iraqis and Kurds know who was sticking it to most of the (anti-Saddam) Iraqi population. Just ask them, as reporters often have, and they will tell you (unless one of Saddam's thugs is nearby.)


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraq; iraqifreedom; war
go to link for other observations.
1 posted on 03/26/2003 5:54:45 PM PST by LadyDoc
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To: LadyDoc
February 6, 2003: Worst Things That Can Happen If Iraq is Invaded

1-Iraq successfully uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against U.S. troops, Israel or even Turkey, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Kill at several hundred Americans and the U.S. has said it would retaliate with nukes. Unlikely, but depending on which way the media runs, America could be seen as heroic or foolish for being on the receiving end of this. Any Iraqi use of "weapons of mass destruction" would not change the outcome of the war. The U.S. is trying to avoid this situation by pointing out that all Iraqis who have anything to do with the use of these weapons against Americans would be hunted down and prosecuted. In the Arab world, it is recognized that the Americans can be very relentless, and successful, in this department. Iraq still loses the war.

2-Terrorists, either Iraqi sponsored or doing it in the name of "the Iraqi people" pull off another massive terrorist attack and kill several hundred, or more, Americans. Again, won't change the outcome of the war. Iraq still loses the war.

3-Saddam convinces thousands of hard core supporters to fight to the death. This causes all of them to die in particularly messy ways, along with thousands of civilians who could not get out of the way fast enough. Several hundred Americans also die and large chunks of Baghdad get smashed. Iraq still loses the war.

4- After the fighting begins, Saudi Arabia changes its mind and closes it's airbases to American aircraft and stops shipping oil. The latter is very unlikely, as Saudi Arabia is broke, in debt and needs to sell lots of oil just to prevent a popular uprising. Iraq still loses the war.

5- Civil war breaks out in Iraq between die hard Sunnis (Saddam's power base), Shia militias (that have been maintaining training camps in Iran) and Kurds. None of this would last long. The invasion is largely to stomp on Saddam's Sunni backers and that will happen no matter what. The Turks will take care of any violent Kurds, something the Turks have been doing quite handily for over a thousand years. The Shia militias couldn't defeat the Republican Guard, and they certainly can't defeat the U.S. Army. Iraq still loses the war.

6- After the fighting is over, the Iraqi people become angry at the United States (for liberating them from Saddam?). Anyway, widespread unrest attracts the international media which proceeds to say unkind things about America. Saddam is not returned to power.

7- The Palestinians redouble their terrorism efforts, and the unrest spreads to Jordan (where Palestinians make up a majority of the population.) Palestinians in Jordan attempt to over throw the monarchy. Whether they succeed or not, Iraq still loses the war.

8- Saddam's flunkies follow orders and set fire to many of Iraq's oil fields and facilities. When this was done in Kuwait, the fires were put out and the damage repaired within a year. It cost nearly $6 billion, which was a lot less than many expected. If the Iraqi oil fields burn, Iraq still loses, and has plenty of oil revenue to pay for the repairs.

9- The Kurds try to advance south and take the Kirkuk and Mosul oil fields. Turkey says no, and sends in troops. Kurds don't stand a chance against Turks (never have.) Maybe the Turks decide to keep northern Iraq. In any event, Iraq still loses the war.

10- An Iraqi underground resistance develops after Saddam is defeated. Iraqi guerillas fight on against American occupiers and their Iraqi lackeys. America finds itself in another Vietnam. While Iraqis have never, in their several thousand years of history, operated like this, it is a worst, worst case. Iraq still loses the war.


(I posted this before, but don't have the link)
2 posted on 03/26/2003 5:56:03 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: LadyDoc
Military Synergism Meets Baghdad
by Austin Bay
March 26, 2003
For the moment synergism meets sand. Soon, U.S. military synergism will meet Baghdad.

"Synergism" is Pentagonese for choreographing a military ballet. When Central Command says its operations employ synergism, it means its commanders seek to make best use of each military unit's and each weapon system's capabilities, and to use those capabilities at the most decisive moment. "Best use" of one unit reinforces best use of another, and the total effect is greater than the individual parts. A finger alone is a poke. A clenched fist, where fingers fit together, is deadly.

That's the theory. Reality is tough on theories -- ask the honest "antiwar human shields" who went to Baghdad and discovered the Iraqi people despise Saddam's regime and long for liberation. War is the harshest reality and tends to chew to bits military theories. German strategist Carl von Clausewitz said war is the realm of friction. Friction means the unexpected and the expected will frustrate the best plans. Tire blowouts, tired soldiers and misread maps are friction, as are enemy snipers, enemy divisions and fedayeen fanatics mixing with civilians.

And then there is sand -- the weather as flying friction. The sandstorms blotting Iraq are classic battlefield friction.

That's why plans drawn by smart soldiers are flexible. That's why the smartest soldiers demand "redundancy" -- more units and more weapons and more munitions. Flexibility and redundancy reduce the threat of the unexpected.

Technology does mitigate the sandstorm's effects, though a tanker with sand in his goggles might scowl at the statement. U.S. aircraft can deliver a variety of precision bombs in all weather conditions. Intelligence gathering continues, though the danger of "friendly fire" incidents does increase and most helicopters are grounded.

In an odd way, the sandstorm should be a relief to the tired soldiers in the US 3rd Infantry Division. The 3rd ID's advance from Kuwait has been startling, according to reports covering 240 miles in 40 hours. This bold race was an act of utter audacity, but now 3rd ID soldiers must rest before tackling the Republican Guard. A wall of blowing sand gives them the opportunity.

The 3rd ID's lightning advance positions it to "freeze" the Republican Guard divisions around Baghdad so they can be destroyed by precision munitions. The advance has risks. Bypassing towns means Iraqi fascist militias can conduct "stay behind" attacks. While these have had minimal military effects, the political effects -- which include inciting fear among Iraqi civilians and taking POWs -- have been large.

The 3rd ID, when it engages the Republican Guard, will link "smart boots" with "smart bombs." Smart boots means superbly trained soldiers using "synergistic" techniques. Real-time intelligence provided by sources from cavalry scouts to satellites is supposed to give the smart boots a real combat edge. Combine that with smart bombs, and the 3rd ID can -- theoretically -- fight faster and with fewer troops.

Technology has altered old military math. The United States can now use B-52s as close-support artillery, dropping heavy bombs with great precision. When synergy works, one modern U.S. division has the firepower to rapidly defeat several Republican Guard-type divisions. The 101st Airborne can strike an enemy from every direction. There is no "front line" against the 101st.

The old math, however, hasn't fully disappeared and never will. The British are demonstrating this in Basra, as they aid the popular uprisings against Saddam. In many combat situations, there is no substitute for a large force of highly trained infantry.

But back in Baghdad: Eventually, the U.S. Marines and the 101st Airborne will reinforce the 3rd ID.

Once precision munitions begin to break the Republican Guard, look for offensive thrusts by the 3rd ID's tanks and mechanized infantry to further isolate areas of resistance.

Destruction of the Republican Guard sets the stage for uprisings within Baghdad aided by allied special operations forces. Wargaming analysis indicates this is one likely course of action.

The margin for error provided by another high-tech armored infantry division would virtually eliminate any "what ifs." The 4th Infantry Division was originally slated to attack from Turkey, but ground attack from Turkey was not permitted. That unit has yet to debark in a Persian Gulf port. Should friction foil plans, it will be a long 10 days before the 4th ID can enter the battle.

( the author of all these pieces is Austin Bay )
3 posted on 03/26/2003 5:59:01 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: LadyDoc
*Applause*
4 posted on 03/26/2003 6:02:48 PM PST by ChadGore (288,007,154 Americans did not protest the war today)
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To: LadyDoc
Marked - Got a guy at work who's particularly obnoxious with his distortions.
5 posted on 03/26/2003 6:04:32 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (ABCNNBCBS Lie!)
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To: LadyDoc
Bookmarking for later read ...
6 posted on 03/26/2003 6:07:00 PM PST by BunnySlippers
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To: LadyDoc
Well written.
7 posted on 03/26/2003 6:16:18 PM PST by Tennessean4Bush
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To: LadyDoc
I was just getting ready to post this excellent article (which I got via e-mail a few minutes ago from my brother).

Thanks.

8 posted on 03/26/2003 6:52:26 PM PST by the_doc
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To: LadyDoc
re #9 - The Saudi's and Kuwait have already pledged FIFTY BILLION for the reconstruction.

Somebody tell Hitlery she can stop going to the senate floor and whining we don't have enough money to rebuild Iraq.
9 posted on 03/26/2003 7:05:16 PM PST by CyberAnt
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To: CapandBall
Nice analysis pieces.
10 posted on 03/26/2003 7:06:44 PM PST by m1911
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To: LadyDoc
BUMP
11 posted on 03/26/2003 7:13:40 PM PST by KineticKitty (Government Philosophy = If it isn't broke, fix it till it is.)
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To: LadyDoc
Ping for later
12 posted on 03/26/2003 7:14:39 PM PST by rattrap
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To: LadyDoc
LadyDoc, thank you for posting.

"The Republican Guard is a tough, well trained, combat organization. No, the Republican Guard selects people, especially officers, primarily for their loyalty to Saddam. They get paid a lot better than the regular army, have better equipment, barracks and rations. But as fighters, they are nothing special.

They are scumbags of the lowest order. Cowards who abuse and illuse women and children, hospitals and day care centers, schools, as their shields.

13 posted on 03/26/2003 7:24:51 PM PST by harpo11 (Godspeed Brave USA Troops! My Families Thoughts and Prayers are Being Sent to YOU!)
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To: LadyDoc
good read bump
14 posted on 03/26/2003 7:28:46 PM PST by error99 ("I believe stupidity should hurt."...used by permission from null and void all copyrights apply...)
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To: LadyDoc
BUMP
15 posted on 03/26/2003 7:44:47 PM PST by flutters (God Bless The USA)
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To: LadyDoc
Related MYTHs:
1. Peace Demonstrations Ended the Viet Nam War.
2. Viet Nam was Nixon's War.
3. The USSR was on our side in 'Nam.

These, I have heard from young "peacenik" co-workers.
16 posted on 03/26/2003 8:54:18 PM PST by PizzaDriver (an heinleinian/libertarian)
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To: PizzaDriver
Bump to find later
17 posted on 03/27/2003 5:54:11 AM PST by listenhillary (May the peace pissants soon be shamed by the free Iraqi's)
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To: m1911
ping
18 posted on 03/27/2003 7:21:15 AM PST by CapandBall
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To: N8VTXNinWV
Ping-o-rama
19 posted on 03/27/2003 7:24:15 AM PST by shezza
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To: PizzaDriver
Say #2 in bold please .....

Related Myth
2. Viet Nam was Nixon's War.

20 posted on 03/27/2003 7:45:09 AM PST by hobbes1 ( Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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To: PizzaDriver
Funny how the Left in this country forgot the

"Hey Hey Ho Ho, LBJ has got To GO" Chants...

21 posted on 03/27/2003 7:46:05 AM PST by hobbes1 ( Hobbes1TheOmniscient® "I know everything so you don't have to" ;)
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To: hobbes1
Bump again!
22 posted on 03/27/2003 7:59:17 AM PST by listenhillary (May the peace pissants soon be shamed by the free Iraqi's)
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To: CapandBall
"Recursive ping" ping
23 posted on 03/27/2003 8:15:24 AM PST by m1911
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To: LadyDoc
Thanks for informing me to this Website. (bump)
24 posted on 03/27/2003 8:35:09 AM PST by Poincare ((not a good time for a Frenchish screen name))
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To: m1911
oh... missed your "Nice analysis pieces" ping... infinite loop ... system halt ... cycle power.
25 posted on 03/27/2003 10:25:44 AM PST by CapandBall
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: bjcintennessee
Ping for later reading.
27 posted on 09/21/2003 3:14:57 PM PDT by bjcintennessee (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff)
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