Since I'm reading At Dawn We Slept, about Pearl Harbor, questions about when the military learns something and how they evaluate and distribute their information and analyses are of particular interest to me, and not only from an historical standpoint.
From River Cities' Reader Online, here's a story filed by their correspondant in Iraq:
Article Posted Wednesday, September 03 2003 ~ 11:32am
A year ago, American General John Abizaid published an internal Defense Department book about urban warfare. Abizaid’s “Doctrine for Joint Urban Operations” [see below]was all but ignored by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks, who ran the Iraq war and the initial postwar occupation.
Abizaid wrote about the massive troop requirements for urban warfare; warned of rapid burnout of soldiers and equipment assigned to urban battlegrounds; and time and again referenced catastrophic instances of over-confidence and under-preparedness among commanders and of disastrous misunderstandings of local cultures and their motivations. He also stressed how “essential” it is that “law enforcement” and other “routine activities” be “returned to civilian agencies as quickly as possible.”
Abizaid was brought in a month ago to clean up the mess created by Franks and Rumsfeld. But it might be too late.
General Accurately Predicted Many Problems in Postwar Iraq
A few excerpts from “Doctrine for Joint Urban Operations,” by U.S. General John Abizaid, published by the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, September 2002:
• Urban operations increase support demands due to the high level of injury and exhaustion of personnel, damage to equipment, and to the potential need to provide support to noncombatants.
• In combat operations, the need to secure cities building by building, room by room, requires large numbers of infantry.
• Nearly all operations in urban areas, including predominantly air operations, take significantly longer than originally expected.
• Urban operations result in a significant increase in ammunition expenditure, need for personnel replacements, medical personnel and supplies, casualty evacuation, and food and water. ... Commanders and planners must make every effort to anticipate and specifically plan for these resources.
• Forces will need reconstitution more frequently. ... Historically, it is necessary to pull units back for rest and reconstitution far more frequently in urban combat than in other types of operations. ... When that is coupled with the high casualty rates normally associated with urban combat, the problem of reconstitution becomes a serious one, requiring foresight and prior planning and preparation.
• Urban combat is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, and the psychological effects on all participants (including health-care personnel) can be devastating.
• [Seven factors that have historically led to the commission of war crimes:] (1) high friendly losses; (2) high turnover rate in the chain of command; (3) dehumanization of the adversary; (4) poorly trained or inexperienced troops; (5) the lack of a clearly defined adversary; (6) unclear orders; and (7) high frustration level among the troops.
• Urban operations may impact the abilities of national and theater strategic assets and can easily affect coverage of other geographical areas.
• The severe drain that urban operations can have on resources can cause either attacker or defender to exhaust capabilities earlier than anticipated.
• [Quoting a book about the 1994 Russian invasion of Grozny:] Instead, [the Russian battlefield generals] believed the erroneous assumptions generated at the strategic level and subsequently directed a woefully inadequate effort to understand the battlespace in all its complexity. This disregard for intelligence adversely affected virtually every other warfighting function at the operational level.
• Rapid urbanization is changing the physical and political face of nations. ... In many places, this rapid urbanization has overburdened already weak infrastructure, scarce resources, and fragile economic bases.
• In all operations, it is essential that routine activities such as providing sanitary services, food, law enforcement, and health services be returned to civilian agencies as quickly as possible because of the demand they can place on joint force resources.
• [Quoting from Joint Military Operations Historical Collection:] The importance of understanding local politics and integrating indigenous decision makers into an urban operation cannot be overstated.
• Faced with superiority of U.S. forces, most adversaries seek an asymmetrical advantage. Urban areas are the natural battleground for terrorists.
• [Quoting George Wilson, Air Force Times:] If you don’t understand the culture you are involved in; who makes decisions in these societies; how their infrastructure is designed; the uniqueness in their values and in their taboos – you aren’t going to be successful.
• The Joint Force Commander must give great care in the establishment of population-control measures, depending on the situation and characteristics of that population. Inappropriate controls could exacerbate the populace and resources control problem.
Update: I knew this reminded me of something else. Back in June, Josh Marshall had a short item in TPM:
If you've been keeping score at home, you know that, back when Army general Eric Shinseki predicted that occupying Iraq would require "several hundred thousand troops," Paul Wolfowitz and Don Rumsfeld pounced, with Wolfowitz proclaiming the number "wildly off the mark." But unlike Wolfowitz's and Rumsfeld's far too optimistic expectations -- which seem to have been based on nothing that fancy -- Shinseki's was based on a study conducted by the Army War College and published in February 2003. The study drew on past peacekeeping and occupation missions to figure out what tasks would need to be performed, and can be read here. It's perceptive and strangely prescient. But did Rumsfeld read it?
Here is the executive summary of the report's conclusions:
• To be successful, an occupation such as that contemplated after any hostilities in Iraq requires much detailed interagency planning, many forces, multi-year military commitment, and a national commitment to nationbuilding.
• Recent American experiences with post-conflict operations have generally featured poor planning, problems with relevant military force structure, and difficulties with a handover from military to civilian responsibility.
• To conduct their share of the essential tasks that must be accomplished to reconstruct an Iraqi state, military forces will be severely taxed in military police, civil affairs, engineer, and transportation units, in addition to possible severe security difficulties.
• The administration of an Iraqi occupation will be complicated by deep religious, ethnic, and tribal differences which dominate Iraqi society.
• U.S. forces may have to manage and adjudicate conflicts among Iraqis that they can barely comprehend.
• An exit strategy will require the establishment of political stability, which will be difficult to achieve given Iraq’s fragmented population, weak political institutions, and propensity for rule by violence.
So, the obvious question is, since these reports are presumably commissioned for some specific reason, and people put time and effort into making them, why were they totally ignored in favor of the neocon's ideologically-driven vision of an easy liberation and reconstruction of Iraq?
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.