2004-07-03

Operation Iraqi Freedom revisited

--- Die US-Army hat einen gut 500-Seiten langen W�lzer mit dem Titel On Point: the United States Army in Iraqi Freedom herausgegeben. Das 1,5 Millionen US-Dollar teure Projekt, das haupts�chlich aus der Feder von Lt. Col. E.J. Degen, Col. Greg Fontenot und Lt. Col. David Tohn stammt, soll die Geschichte der W�stenoperation nacherz�hlen: Col. Greg Fontenot, USA, Ret., and co-author, said �It is an Army book with authors� conclusions,� done at the request of Gen. Peter Schoomaker, chief of staff, who wanted a work that looked at �the rocks and shoals� but could be done quickly. He said the book is not a definitive history of the war, in part, because it does not take into account what the Iraqis were doing. �Soldiers see what is in front of them, not the big picture,� he said. �We wanted to communicate clearly and effectively what happened. This is the story of America�s Army.� Fontenot added that the authors were not asked to change their conclusions about failures such as those occurring with the 507th Transportation Company and in aviation when the book was going through the review process. Tats�chlich geht es nicht um reine Heldenverehrung. Dies betont David Zucchino, selbst ein embedded journalist w�hrend des Irak-Kriegs, heute in einem Bericht �ber das Buch in der LA Times. Er hebt vor allem auf die genannten Schwachstellen der Operation hin, die weniger aufgrund von Hightech, als vielmehr durch gro�es Gl�ck gewonnen wurde: In the first internal assessment of the war in Iraq, an exhaustive Army study has concluded that American forces prevailed despite supply and logistical failures, poor intelligence, communication breakdowns and futile attempts at psychological warfare. The 542-page study, declassified last month, praises commanders and soldiers for displaying resourcefulness and resiliency under trying conditions, and for taking advantage of superior firepower, training and technology. But the report also describes a broken supply system that left crucial spare parts and lubricants on warehouse shelves in Kuwait while tankers outside Baghdad ripped parts from broken-down tanks and raided Iraqi supplies of oil and lubricants. ... The study ... is at odds with the public perception of a technologically superior invasion force that easily drove Hussein from power. In fact, as the authors point out in their battle-by-battle narrative, there were many precarious moments when U.S. units were critically short of fuel and ammunition, with little understanding of the forces arrayed against them. ... Most significantly, military planners did not anticipate the effectiveness or ferocity of paramilitary forces that disrupted supply columns and mounted suicide charges against 70-ton Abrams tanks. Some of those same forces, using tactics refined during the invasion, are part of the current insurgency. Aber ganz ohne ein wenig Heroentum geht es nat�rlich nicht ab: The study credits a relatively junior commander � Col. David Perkins of the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division � with shortening the war with a bold armored strike into the heart of Baghdad on April 7. Perkins' "thunder run" surprised Baghdad's defenders with its speed and firepower, collapsing the regime from within before Iraqi forces could draw the Americans into a protracted urban war. The authors said Perkins "made the single decision that arguably shortened the siege by weeks, if not months." Zweifel an der erfolgreichen Hightech-Kriegsf�hrung im Irak gibt es schon seit l�ngerem.