Carlton Meyer / The Magazine of Future Warfare – 2004-09-04 09:04:24
The Magazine of Future Warfare May Issue, 2004-1950.
A careful reader of the limited news coming out of Iraq will discover the US military situation is perilous and a few more bad moves could send the US Army and Marines retreating back to Kuwait in the same manner they fled southward 54 years ago in Korea. That was when a million Chinese foot soldiers suddenly appeared and attacked as overextended US forces approached the Chinese border.
American firepower, airpower, and technology was unable to compensate for the confusion and lack of supplies for American ground troops.
The main problem in Iraq today is the massive logistics effort required to sustain US Forces at over a hundred dispersed camps. Over 95% of supplies arrive by ship, and the closest major seaport is in Kuwait.
This means everything must be hauled hundreds of miles over war-torn roads among hostile natives. This is far more difficult than Vietnam, which had a long coastline where supplies could be dropped off.
Iraq Logistics Worse than Vietnam
A recent article by Tom Ricks of the Washington Post noted that most convoys are attacked, and that soldiers must stop to check each bridge for explosives because there is not enough manpower to guard them. Other reporters tell of recently destroyed bridges, forcing convoys to travel on secondary roads which doubles their travel time. In addition, many civilian truck drivers have refused to drive and many foreign logistics contractors have left Iraq.
Sensational reporting by Arab television networks has aroused anti-American hatred throughout the Arab world. The religious co-leaders of unstable Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa (a law) urging Muslims to use “all means” to stop what it called “the fierce onslaught” on Muslims by “occupation forces” in Iraq. It “urges every fair person among Muslims and others in the world to denounce this fierce onslaught and strive by all means to stop it and punish those responsible for it”, said the fatwa, carried by the Saudi state SPA news agency.
Bush’s Policies Incite Arab Anger
This was not reported by American media, and the effect is difficult to measure, but worrisome enough that the US government immediately ordered all non-essential US citizens to leave Saudi Arabia. President Bush further infuriated Arabs by announcing that he would not seek an agreement to end the Israeli occupation of Arab land, but will support whatever Israel wants to do.
As a result, Iraq has become a magnet for young, adventurous jihadists from Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran whose leaders have begun to openly voice disapproval of the situation.
Iran has a population of 70 million, compared to 25 million in Iraq. If one million armed Iranians slip across the border and attack American infidels, the US may have to retreat.
Anyone who thinks this is implausible should read about the US Army’s embarrassing retreat from North Korea in 1950. Army Generals were extremely optimistic, dismissive of their enemy, and thought airpower could always protect them.
This historical document: Staff Operations: The X Corps in Korea, December 1950 includes these comments:
It seemed as if the war was winding to a successful close. So sure were Almond and his staff of the enemy’s weakness that they thinned forces across the entire front. Almond told officers of one regiment:
“We’re still attacking and we’re going all the way to the Yalu. Don’t let a bunch of Chinese laundrymen stop you.”
That regiment was overrun a few days later, by Chinese laundrymen.
Carlton Meyer is the editor of
The Magazine of Future Warfare
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