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Signs Show U.S. Underestimated Iraq War
Associated Press ^ | September 26, 2003 | Robert Burns

Posted on 09/26/2003 1:48:48 PM PDT by AntiGuv

WASHINGTON - Wear and tear on tanks in Iraq is outpacing the Army's efforts to repair and resupply. The administration is scrambling to find thousands more troops by early next year. Stressed American soldiers are suddenly being given two-week vacations.

Five months into the American occupation of Iraq, there are growing signs that the Bush administration vastly underestimated what it would take to stabilize the country after Baghdad fell in early April.

Pentagon planners had not expected that such a large U.S. force, now totaling 130,000 troops, would be required for such a long period — more than a year it now appears, rather than weeks.

They won't acknowledge the miscalculation publicly, but recent developments make them obvious:

* Wear on tank treads and vehicle tires that has far outpaced the Army's ability to resupply them. Treads that normally are replaced once a year are wearing out in two months. Asked whether war planners had anticipated such heavy work for U.S. ground troops this long after the war, Gen. Paul Kern, the Army's materiel chief, said, "Some did, some didn't."

* The decision to require 12-month tours for all troops in Iraq, including reservists. When the 3rd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force conquered Baghdad in early April, those troops thought the war was over and they would be headed home in a matter of weeks. Instead they stayed for months, and their replacements will serve even longer.

* The disclosure this week by senior military commanders that they may have to take the politically sensitive step of calling up thousands more reservists for Iraq duty than was planned just weeks ago. A troop rotation plan announced in July included mobilization of two National Guard brigades. But that plan is being re-evaluated in light of continuing attacks on American forces and slow progress in getting other countries to contribute troops.

* The Pentagon's decision to begin granting troops a vacation break, leaves that began this week and are expected to increase in number.

"They planned to pull the troops out quickly," said Anthony Cordesman, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. That plan was based on what Cordesman called an illogical assumption that U.S. forces would be greeted almost universally as liberators, that political control could be handed over to Iraqis quickly and that there would be no insurgency.

"We never really had a nation-building plan," Cordesman said.

Pentagon planners did foresee some postwar difficulties. They were prepared, for example, to deal with a refugee problem, with acute hunger, with a torching of oil fields or with an explosion of ethnic violence — none of which happened.

What they did not fully foresee was the violence aimed at U.S. occupation troops and the other security problems that have hampered the reconstruction efforts and angered many Iraqis.

An early indication that the administration did not foresee a long and violent postwar period was a statement made by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Feb. 27, shortly before the war began.

"It's not logical to me," he told reporters, to think it would take as many troops to keep the peace as it would to win the war. The implication was that once Baghdad fell, U.S. forces could begin to draw down as Iraqis took over more of the security duties around the country.

It remains the plan to transfer security and other responsibilities to the Iraqis. But the looting and lawlessness that descended upon parts of Iraq immediately after Saddam Hussein fell — followed by increasingly sophisticated and deadly ambushes of U.S. troops — have prevented any substantial decrease in the number of American troops on the ground.

Some say it may have been beyond the Pentagon's capacity to anticipate these problems.

"Military operations, in my experience, rarely turn out exactly as you envisioned them, without having to make adjustments," said Steve Abbot, a retired four-star Navy admiral who was deputy commander of U.S. European Command when it ran the air war over Kosovo in 1999. "Clearly there have been major adjustments."

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 09/26/2003 1:48:49 PM PDT by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv
This AP reporter can kiss my a$$

"what they did not foresee ..."

"Suddenly" being given leave

Spares are slow getting there (really, THAT never happened before in the military not fighting a day-to-day conflict)

etc. etc.

Another sky is falling report.

I'd give u 100:1 this guy is NOT a veteran
2 posted on 09/26/2003 1:52:18 PM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: Blueflag
taking a clue from Lazmataz, I did my post WITHOUT reading the entire article.
3 posted on 09/26/2003 1:52:52 PM PDT by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitor)
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To: AntiGuv
So, the new tactic is to find a liberal, from a liberal think tank, to give his liberal opinion to a liberal news organization, and call it NEWS?

I see this as nothing but desperation.

4 posted on 09/26/2003 1:54:22 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Blueflag
Right on, Blueflag. (As the hippies used to say!!)
5 posted on 09/26/2003 1:54:59 PM PDT by Iris7 (Victory, always Victory, at any cost, though the beasts of Hell march against us!!!!!)
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To: AntiGuv
Some say...

this article should be an example of how NOT to write in a real journalism class.

6 posted on 09/26/2003 1:55:03 PM PDT by rhombus
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To: Blueflag
Yeah, I don't think it is a negative to point out lessons learned. I would HOPE that war planners WOULD learn from past mistakes, miscalculations, etc.
7 posted on 09/26/2003 1:55:58 PM PDT by Cacophonous
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To: AntiGuv totaling 130,000 troops, would be required for such a long period — more than a year it now appears, rather than weeks.

Don't quite remember anyone saying the troops would only be there for "weeks". Give me a fricking break!

8 posted on 09/26/2003 1:57:57 PM PDT by Professional
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To: Cacophonous
Every war has mistakes, overestimations, and underestimations...there is no such thing as total perfection in any war.
9 posted on 09/26/2003 1:59:08 PM PDT by kaktuskid
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To: kaktuskid
That's my point. I don't think it is unpatriotic to point out that lessons need to be learned.

Now what the motivations of the author are, I cannot fathom. But there is nothing wrong with act of pointing out mistakes and areas requiring improvement.

10 posted on 09/26/2003 2:02:48 PM PDT by Cacophonous
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To: rhombus
But you see there is a big difference between journalism and reporting.
11 posted on 09/26/2003 2:04:22 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: Pukin Dog
Given your experience in the Navy, do you think think Bush/Rumsfeld are trying to run the military "on the cheap?" Particularly with respect to Iraq?

An ex-reservist I know complained about the increasing demands on the reservist and got out and I suspect he would agree with the sentiments of the article, even if the article's intent is a cheap shot at Bush

12 posted on 09/26/2003 2:13:33 PM PDT by eeman
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To: Blueflag
Tank treads wear out faster during wartime conditions? Spares are harder to find in a war zone? Prewar estimates aren't dead-nuts accurate?

Shocking news. Thanks Mr. AP man...

13 posted on 09/26/2003 2:16:01 PM PDT by AngryJawa (Just JDAM!!!)
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To: AntiGuv
I'd say they're doing pretty good in comparison to the Iraqi military.
14 posted on 09/26/2003 2:34:27 PM PDT by Bud Bundy
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To: AntiGuv
How many times have we heard about how well "Clinton's military" has performed under Bush, no matter how inept the leadership? This story is pretty clear evidence of just the opposite. It illustrates how much the military had been hollowed out during the Clinton years, and how well the men and equipment have performed even when stretched to the limits.

Clinton piddled away the Reagan-Bush peace dividend, and the bill has now come due.
15 posted on 09/26/2003 2:37:11 PM PDT by MainFrame65
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To: eeman
I'll tell you what I know.

The sad fact is that our military is trying to recover from the first actual spending cuts(real cuts, not increase cuts) in it's history. This is what Bill Clinton did to our Military. In addition to spending cuts, Clinton changed the priority for how the remaining dollars get spent. In my 22 years, only under Clinton were flight hours cut back for pilots in both training and proficiency flying.

The military that Rumsfeld recieved was close to a shambles. This is the real secret. Bush could not let this be known, for national security reasons. Right now, this very day, the US armed services are in their worst shape ever, and the men and women in the services right now are busting their asses, doing the jobs of 2 or 3 men to keep up readiness.

Donald Rumsfeld is a national hero. He has taken a core group of believers across the services and jury-rigged a military that is both powerful and stable, although it holds on by a thread. The military has been betrayed by ticket-punching Generals and Admirals more concerned about their future private sector jobs then about the future of the men who would follow them. The military wasted huge sums of money on projects and programs that could never ever work, except to line the pockets of a contractor, who would remember the General later on with either a job or a consulting contract.

There are very serious problems with maintanence costs these days because weapon systems that should have been replaced decades ago are still relied upon. The very last Tomcat that I flew was built while I was in high school. I am 44 years old, and that bird is still out there pulling Gs on that airframe. For every hour a Tomcat flies, almost 20 man-hours of maintanance are required. That is a disgusting figure. It is much less with Hornets, but the Hornet is also much less airplane if you ask me.

To answer you, No. Rumsfeld is not running the military on the cheap, he is putting his way too small budget to best use. Were we not at war, there would be different priorities. Iraq is getting almost all availible dollars right now. There just are not a lot of dollars to go around. Bush and Rumsfeld have to tread a fine line. The more they spend, the deeper the deficit. If Bush loses the next election(he wont), Democrats will slash the budget even more. What Democrats hope to do, is reduce the Military to such levels that it cannot perform without the support of the UN. THey would take that extra money to pay for additional socialism on our shores, making people more dependent, and keeping them in office.

Were it not for Rumsfeld, we would be in much much worse shape. He has passed over much of the current military leadership, and is working only with those men who get it. The Army brass hates him for this, and the Air Force is not far behind in that regard. Rummy is putting the emphasis on fast, mobile independant attack units, which goes against everything we learned in War College. The fact is, this is all we can afford. Our military is being forced to fight wars almost like guerillas with good weapons.

Clinton caused thousands of capable officers and NCOs to leave in droves. Today's military is just not as competant and capable as it once was. To bring us back to those levels would cost too much while a war is underway. We have to fight a cheap war until we have cleaned house of the Clinton Generals, and the Defense contractors they love.

I hope thats a good answer to your question.

16 posted on 09/26/2003 2:43:44 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: eeman
When you get a chance, pick up the book on John Boyd, if you really want to know how bad things were.
17 posted on 09/26/2003 2:47:48 PM PDT by Pukin Dog (Sans Reproache)
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To: Pukin Dog
great post
18 posted on 09/26/2003 2:53:55 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: AntiGuv
The original plan to turn over Iraq to Chalabi and the INC via Jay Garner was nixed by State.

Rummy wanted to handoff to the Iraqis and let them organize and handle the situation via a provisional govt.

Why the provisional govt wasn't set up is the fighting between State and the Pentagon.

Blaming the Pentagon after State took over......

19 posted on 09/26/2003 2:57:56 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Pukin Dog
Thanks for your answer, thanks for your service to our country.

A bit off topic, but I enjoyed reading some of your previous posts, last Spring, about Major Schmidt and the death of the Canadian soldiers from "friendly fire". Your posts provided a perspective that only someone such as yourself could provide

20 posted on 09/26/2003 2:59:51 PM PDT by eeman
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