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The War Nerd April 6, 2003
 
Down We Go!
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 5
 
It would only have taken 90 days to ship the three extra armored divisions. I mean, why not play it safe? We've got'em; let's put'em in place in case we need'em.Rumsfeld didn't budge; he just ranted on about how one division was enough. It was "old" thinking, all this massed-armor talk! Besides, it cost money. One division would be cheaper and more macho-show the world we could take on anybody with one arm tied behind our back.

Of course it would've been even cheaper not to invade Iraq at all-about $80 billion cheaper-but that was never an option for Bush & Co.Rumsfeld screamed at the brass, firing anybody who spoke for caution, until he got his way.

By this time he'd wasted ten months fighting with the generals. (Remember, it would only have taken three months to move three full armored divisions to Kuwait.)

What ever happened to the three divisions that weren't sent, you may be wondering. Well, the 4th Division, one of the divisions the brass had wanted to ship to Kuwait, just left base last week. They should be in Kuwait a month from now. I guess Rumsfeld decided they were necessary after all.

All this only came out in the past week, but it was obvious something was radically messed-up way before that. I said months ago (in eXile #158) that there was no way it should take longer to set up an invasion of Iraq than it did to plan the Normandy landings.

Now we know why it took so long: because Rumsfeld kept telling the JCOS to do it smaller and cheaper, throwing tantrums and firing any officer who didn't go for his low-rent plan.

But what nobody knew or suspected was that in Fall 2002 Rumsfeld did something so crazy I still can't believe it: he scrapped the Army's logistical Bible, the TPFD. The TPFD is the basis of American power projection. It's this big, boring, incredibly complex inventory/program of all the things an American army will need, from soap to nukes. It's why our troops have the ammunition and food and medical supplies to outlast our enemies.

Rumsfeld took over--his great brain would replace the TPFD. He'd decide what units went where, when, with what. He cooked up a plan that would've been perfect for the Wehrmacht. It called for a blitzkrieg by armored columns, an express train to Baghdad.

One problem: the plan was suicide for an American army, because it threw away the two things we really do well: air attack and supply. Instead of Powell's months of air attack, Rumsfeld ordered a few hours of bombing--fireworks bombing, 4th of July bombing--to "shock and awe" Baghdad. His main worry was pinching pennies and putting his stamp on military history as the latest paradigm-shifter, instead of worrying about his soldiers' lives.

The generals hated the plan and never thought it'd work. According to these anonymous emails I've been getting from someone at DoD, a lot of the brass blame Tommy Franks as much as Rumsfeld, because he could've resigned. He didn't. He went along with a plan everyone knew was garbage, hoping we'd get lucky.We didn't.

Rumsfeld threw the dice and lost. But it was the Gis who paid the debt. Who're still paying, and going to pay for a long time yet. And the most amazing thing is this: Rumsfeld is already trying to pass the blame to Tommy Franks. "This is General Franks' plan," he said at a news conference. Wayta cover my back, fella!

Now that everyone knows we're screwed, some big, big names are talking, starting to drop heavy hints that Rumsfeld's to blame. Here's a quote from Gen. Barry McCaffery, who was one of the best commanders in the first Gulf War:

"At the end of the day the question arises: why would you do this operation with inadequate power? ...Is it because you have such a strong ideological view and you're so confident in your views that you disregard the vehement military advice from, particularly, army generals who you don't think are very bright?"

That's about as close to screaming "Rumsfeld screwed it up!" as you can get without ending up in a libel suit.What's weird is the way nobody I talk to wants to blame Rumsfeld or his boss, Bush.


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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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