ALLIED GENERALS DRAW UP NEW BATTLE PLAN
Basra would revolt, Baghdad would follow. Saddam would be his. But, nine days in, it hasn't quite turned out like that.
And yesterday, as US Defence chief Donald Rumsfeld's grand design for a quick victory lay in tatters, the coalition's top brass were frantically redrawing battle plans. The rethink came as the US army's most senior ground commander admitted they had underestimated Iraqi tactics and the fierce levels of resistance.
Lt General William Wallace said: "The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against, because of the paramilitary forces.
"We knew they were here, but we did not know how they would fight."
General Wallace, head of US 5th Corps, said he was aware of pressure for a quick victory, but admitted it will take longer than planned.
He said: "We've got to take this pause. We're still fighting the enemy every night. We're doing things to keep him operating at a higher tempo than the one we're at."
The general confessed he was stunned by Iraqi tactics.
He said: "The attacks we're seeing are bizarre. Technical vehicles with .50-calibre weapons - any kind of weapon - leading the charge. They were even charging tanks."
Pentagon chiefs now do not expect to launch a major offensive on Baghdad for at least a month in an attempt to quell huge pockets of fighting raging across Iraq.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Mr Rumsfeld is still convinced the people of Baghdad will rise up and overthrow Saddam.
HE says that the US will now lay siege to the capital, but he also admits: "It could take some time."
His tone is starkly different from when he confidently crowed at a US air base at Aviano on February 7: "It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
One senior military official said last night: "We're not going back to the drawing board completely - but it's pretty close."
The US now plans to step up the air strikes - aping the 35-day bombing campaign that started the first Gulf War - as spy chiefs confirmed Saddam was alive and in full control of his forces.
Colonel Ben Hodges, commander of the 1st Brigade of the 101st in northern Iraq, said: "Everybody's frame of reference is changing. The enemy always gets a vote. You fight the enemy and not the plan.
"I personally underestimated the willingness of the Fedayeen to fight, or maybe overestimated the willingness of the Shi'ites to rise up."
A snapshot of the coalition problems is Nassiriya where intense fire-fights have resulted in heavy casualties on both sides.
Injured Gunnery Sergeant Tracy Hale said: "Nassiriya was supposed to be a six-hour battle. It's already been five days of non-stop fighting."
It was anticipated that Saddam would go for an urban defence, centred on Baghdad.
But what the war-planners didn't expect was house-to-house battles in every major town while militia fighters attacked troops from the rear and sabotaged supply lines.
TROOPS less than 60 miles from Baghdad are unable to go any further as they run low on food, fuel and water.
A 300-truck US convoy carrying 160,000 gallons of fuel and 180 tons of ammunition has been trying to get north from Kuwait for more than three days, but has been blocked by guerrilla-style attacks.
Iraq has said troops will have to fight their way into Baghdad street by street. "The enemy must come inside Baghdad and that will be its grave," said Defence Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmed.
Rumsfeld was warned by the CIA in February that fedayeen fighters would pose the greatest threat.
And in Qatar, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks hinted that Central Command may be out of touch with the real situation on the ground.
He said: "There is a different view on planet Earth."
AWFUL TRUTH IS DAWNING ON ALL OF US
The prospect of our troops fighting their way into Basra and Baghdad will mean it's going to be a very basic and bloody war, not the hi-tech video game politicians led us to believe.
A tough time lies ahead for our troops and the Iraqi civilians they are there to liberate.
These are things British and American military planners have always known but, it seems, the politicians never listened to.
The awful truth is now dawning on all of us as stories of deaths and Iraqi resistance continue to reach our TV screens hourly.
We shouldn't be surprised Iraqis are fighting in civilian clothes.That is how you tackle a superior force. The troops have likened our equipment to Ferraris and compared the enemies' to Austin Allegros.
But as they know only too well, once you are fighting house-to-house instead of on open terrain it doesn't really matter what the weapons are like. Even if it's 60 years old and firing at you from a window it will kill you.
This sort of urban guerrilla war boils down to our troops fighting house-to-house, street-to-street with bayonets fixed and as much ammunition as they can carry.
Mobility and manoeuvre hit a dead end in the condensed and confusing concrete of Baghdad. Hi-tech equipment and armour is of limited use as our troops push into the city trying to keep the infrastructure intact, and civilians alive at the same time.
Iraqi soldiers have the advantage. They know its streets and alleyways. They have prepared booby traps and set up "killing areas" to try and lure our troops into.
None of this will come as a surprise to our troops. After all, they train to fight against an enemy such as this and are excellent at it. As the Army saying goes. Train hard - fight easy. Train easy - fight hard and die. But that doesn't mean they are immune to the danger. There will be fear as they approach the capital.
I get angry when politicians tell us that the Iraqi Republican guard are no match for our troops and equipment. They tend to be people who have never seen combat.
The fact is the Republican Guard have artillery pieces, plenty of tanks, and are certainly much better armed than soldiers our troops have so far faced in the desert.
We just have to look at what an inferior force such as the Palestinians can inflict when taking on the Israelis in their home towns.
Over the last few days we've seen the war escalate and casualties grow.
What the politicians led us to believe isn't quite shaping up. They began by telling us that this war would be quick and easy. They are now beginning to shift uncomfortably.
America is suddenly doubling its forces in Iraq - something the military had wanted all along. Politicians were not listening.
But Rumsfeld - and the others like him- have never been in combat and never properly listened to military advice.
Military planners who wanted more men from the outset were told this war was too important to be left to the generals. But these generals must be listened to.
They can then operate in a way that wins the war quickly - and saves our troops' lives.
NUKE WARNING: US-CHINA FACE-OFF AS RUSSIA HOLDS FIRE
The commentary by the Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) considers the scale of military exercises indicate the US is preparing to "mount a preemptive attack on nuclear facilities in the DPRK" as part of a "strategy of fighting two regional wars at the same time." The commentary describes the US actions as "part of its efforts to dominate the world."
The commentary alleges the United States has mobilized "massive" numbers of fighter-bombers and stealth fighters around the Korean Peninsula. It also accuses the US of turning down Democratic People's Republic of Korea proposals for a non-aggression treaty, and that the exercises drive the military situation on the Korean Peninsula to the "brink of a nuclear war."
This commentary and it's reporting by the People's Daily indicate the US and China are now in a nuclear face-off over the current global situation.
A People's Daily article yesterday 20th March, 2003, reported China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan saying that China strongly called for an immediate halt to military actions against Iraq, and a return to a political solution to Iraq issue. The Foreign Minister also "hoped" Japan would be "very prudent" in participating in any military actions overseas.
PREDICTED BY GULUFUTURE
In our 13th March analysis on GuluFuture.com we warned that a Global War was threatening following the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister Zolan Djindjic in Belgrade. We saw that as a Russian move against US interests. Mr. Djindjic was effectively the US State Department's man in former Yugoslavia.
We interpreted the US tests of the so-called Mother of All Bombs(MOAB) thus:
"a clear sign to US enemies, that faced with possible conflicts on multiple fronts, the US will not risk depleting it's forces and resources in protracted battle in any individual region, but will seek quick victories by means of battlefield nuclear weapons."
We also warned in that analysis that: "The next logical step in this sickening game of international war poker would be the sudden escalation of Korean Peninsular tensions and perhaps even a manufactured crisis over Taiwan."
Our GuluFuture analysis concluded thus: "We are lurching toward a conflict of global dimensions, in which the major powers may well loose control of the geopolitical situation and which will feature both chemical and nuclear weapons."
We now stand over those comments and further advise that unknown to the public in Europe and the US, the current US administration is in a high-stakes maneuver which has potential to escalate at any time into a nuclear conflict.
We further advise that Russia, China and some countries in Europe are implacably opposed to the current US Administration and have allowed it to make the first aggressive moves for propaganda reasons and certain strategic advantages. The same reasons underlie the lack of Iraqi opposition in the early stages of the conflict.
There will be continuing serious escalations in the response of those opposed to the US Iraq war and concurrent global ambitions in the next few days. We expect Russia to respond in a similar though less overt fashion. A limited nuclear exchange would affect US internal public support more than it would other countries.
FULL TEXT OF PEOPLE'S DAILY ARTICLE ON KOREA
March 21, 2003 --The large-scale joint military exercises conducted by the United States and South Korea have made the situation on the Korean Peninsula more tense and a nuclear war may break out at any moment, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)said on Friday in a commentary.
Timed to coincide with the US military attack on Iraq, which began on Thursday, the military exercises prove that the United States is implementing its strategy of fighting two regional wars at the same time as part of its efforts to dominate the world, said KCNA, the official news agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
With use of massive numbers of troops and modern military equipment, and the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in a South Korean port, the March 4-April 2 Foal Eagle and the March 19-26 RSOI joint exercises by the United States and South Korea are the largest yet, and are intended to threaten and stifle the DPRK by force, the commentary said.
While staging exercises by air, sea and land, the United States focuses its aerial strategy by mobilizing fighter-bombers and stealth fighters around the Korean Peninsula. This means that it is going to "mount a preemptive attack on nuclear facilities in the DPRK and take it as an opportunity of escalating the war."
As the US strategy of mobilizing international pressure failed to work on the DPRK, it is turning to military means, the commentary pointed out.
The United States has turned down the DPRK's proposal for a non-aggression treaty and staged the largest ever military exercises directed against the DPRK. The exercises drive the military situation on the Korean Peninsula to the "brink of a nuclear war", it said.
The DPRK will increase its self-defense capacity and eliminateany aggressors at a single stroke, the KCNA warned.
FULL TEXT OF PEOPLE'S DAILY ARTICLE ON IRAQ
March 20, 2003 --China strongly calls for immediate stop of military actions against Iraq, return to track of political solution to Iraq issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said at the press conference Thursday.
The military actions against Iraq, carried out despite opposition from most governments and peoples across the world and bypassing the United Nations Security Council, violated the United Nations Charter and the basic norms of international law, he stressed.
China is very concerned about, and keeps a close watch on, this situation and Chinese government's position on Iraq issue accords with world people's strong aspiration for peace, according to the spokesman.
Kong Quan also said China will continue to call for world peace and will take actions with other countries to make the countries concerned stop their military actions in Iraq.
China's concern lies in three aspects
Firstly, China is concerned about the military actions that relevant countries have launched against Iraq, disregarding the strong hope and appeal of most countries and their people for peace and bypassing the United Nations Security Council, Kong said at the regular press conference.
China is also concerned about the lives and property of the Iraqi people and the profound influence the military actions may bring to regional and global peace.
The spokesman said in resolving the Iraq issue, China keeps in mind that the unity and authority of the UN Security Council should be maintained and the seriousness of the Council's Resolution 1441 and other previous resolutions upheld.
Among the 190-plus members of the United Nations, the overwhelming majority stand for a political solution of the Iraq issue, and so do most members of the Security Council.
China evacuated all its nationals, including diplomats and journalists, from Iraq and closed its embassy in Bagdad two days ago.
Kong said that the safety of foreign citizens and embassies in China "will be ensured", as the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of foreign citizens, embassies and organizations in China.
On Japan's support of the military actions against Iraq, Kong said China hopes Japan would be "very prudent" in participating inany military actions overseas.
Saturday, March 29, 2003, Spokane, Washington
Ellyn writes: The spray planes were out early and in large numbers, spraying massive chemtrails over our area. I have traveled all over the Spokane area today and observed spray planes out in mass. I observed at least five spray planes from my residence alone when I returned from my trip. The trails are both the miles long, thick trails which expand out into a vast haze, and also the miles long, stringy-type trails that look like ribbons. It is now about 2:30 in the afternoon, and what would have been a deep blue sky behind natural clouds has become a very hazy, chemtrail-striped sky. As is common during heavy spray days, I woke up with blood in my nose; this never happens on normal, nonspray days. Is this chemical warfare by our own government against its own people?
Here is a portion of an article written by Tom Kenyon, entitled "Personal Perspectives," in which he wrote:
WHO ARE THE GOOD GUYS?
...I can say that there does seem to be a concerted effort to scare the living shit out of the American people. Some might say that this is a result of the "good guys" trying to protect us. Yeah, right. These are the same guys who have admitted to spreading "mildly active" biological agents in the San Francisco Bay area many years ago as an "experiment" to see how winds would affect the dispersal of bioterror agents. And these are the same guys who purposefully leaked radioactivity from the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant near Spokane, Washington, to see what effect released radiation might have on the public. Well, they got their answer. There's more cancer in that area than in any other area of the state. That's right, the U.S. government orchestrated this against its own citizens, without their knowledge or consent. And these are the same guys who have admitted to experimenting on their own military personnel on numerous occasions.
Since we are on the topic of bioterror, the United States might actually have the dubious honor of being the first country to use biological agents in recorded history. Our government knowingly gave blankets laced with smallpox to the Cheyenne as they were forced out of their homelands and marched to reservations in the middle of nowhere.. It was a calculated decision to reduce the Indian population and the threat of further uprisings. Given our political history, I wonder if we actually have the right to call any other country the axis of evil. Someone once pointed out to me that if you spell evil backwards it becomes live. Perhaps evil is simply that which prevents us from living. For me, living is not the same as surviving. Living means to evolve. And either we are going to live our spiritual values and affect the outcome on this planet, or we won't.
FEAR MAKES FOR EASY MIND-CONTROL
But back to the topic of manipulation. One of the oldest ways to manipulate us mammals is to strike fear in our hearts. Reason and diversity go out the window. We close ranks when threatened and the more primitive parts of our brain take over, making us become more and more like automatons. This makes for easy mind-control, and by mind-control I don't necessarily mean dark figures fiddling with hidden electronic gadgetry. You don't have to look any farther than your TV sets. The mass media is virtually owned by a few corporations. And our evening news is not much more than slicked-up, self-interested advertising (brainwashing).
(For those who might like to read Tom Kenyon's entire article, it can be found in the April issue of the Sedona Journal of Emergence on pages 79-81.)
Scorned general's tactics proved right
His name in General Eric Shinseki. And at a time when generals - whether on active or pundit duty - are the hottest showbiz properties in the world, hardly anyone knows who he is.
Officially, he is Tommy Franks's superior, head of the United States army, a member of the mighty joint chiefs, and two months away from what ought to be honoured retirement at the end of a military career stretching back to the Vietnam war.
But for the past two years Gen Shinseki has been in total eclipse after what appears to have been the most spectacular bust-up with his civilian bosses, in particular Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary.
Hardly any of this the reached public domain until last month when Gen Shinseki told a congressional committee that he thought an occupying force in the hundreds of thousands would be required to police postwar Iraq. Mr Rumsfeld publicly repudiated him, saying he was "far off the mark".
In semi-private, the Pentagon's civilian leadership was far more scathing. A "senior administration official" told the Village Voice newspaper that Gen Shinseki's remark was "bullshit from a Clintonite enamoured of using the army for peacekeeping and not winning wars".
Then the general said it again. "It could be as high as several hundred thousand," he told another committee. "We all hope it is something less." Most of the media were too distracted by the build-up to war to notice. Serious analysts, however, were staggered by the insubordination.
This appears to have been round two of another, more immediately relevant, dispute about how many troops are needed to win this war. In this case, the military prevailed over the original civilian notion that fewer than 100,000 could do it. As even more soldiers rush to the Gulf to bring the number closer to 300,000, the original Rumsfeld plan looks in hindsight to be what the army said at the time: a recipe for possible catastrophe.
The full reality on the ground may not become known until Saddam Hussein has fallen, but no one can now seriously believe - as many top Pentagon civilians appear to have done a week ago - that the main problem for an occupying force will be what to do with all the floral gifts.
The origins of the Shinseki-Rumsfeld war long predate any mention of Iraq. There are many ironies to it, but the most bitter seems to be that the general has found himself characterised as an obstacle to progress. This is improbable on the most personal level. He is a Japanese-American (as is his wife), born in Hawaii in 1942 when his parents were officially enemy aliens.
He was inspired to join the army by the example of uncles who fought for the US then and eradicated the perception that they might be traitors. In Vietnam, "Ric" Shinseki was terribly injured twice - losing a foot the second time - yet he persisted in the army.
He came into office in June 1999 with a clear vision for "transformation" and talked passionately about the army's need to adjust from thinking about traditional enemies to what he called "complicators", including both terrorists and the then little-known phrase "weapons of mass destruction". Gen Shinseki might thus have relished the arrival of a Republican team equally committed to change.
Unfortunately, the two sides had very different ideas about what the words meant. The general wanted a new kind of army, one that could combine the adaptability of light infantry and the power of heavily mechanised forces. His new bosses had other ideas. "They had pre-decided what transformation meant," said one Pentagon source. "It meant more from space, more from air and it didn't involve the army much. That was the essence of the conflict."
This erupted over the Crusader mobile artillery system, which Mr Rumsfeld has scrapped. Gen Shinseki told Congress a year ago it would have saved lives during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. By then he had already been turned into a lame duck ("castrated", according to the same Pentagon source) by the apparently unprecedented Rumsfeld decision to announce his successor 18 months in advance.
He seems to have been caught in a classic bind: distrusted by his subordinates for being too radical and by his bosses for being too conservative.
On Japanese-American chatlines, he is characterised as a victim of racism. Certainly in that community he is an authentic hero: "One of the most gracious, soft-spoken, low-key individuals you could meet with four stars on his shoulder," according to Kristine Manami of the Japanese-American Citizens' League.
Put it all together: a nice man, a wounded veteran - and maybe right when it mattered. Despite the allegations, his politics are unknown. But if he is a Democrat and chooses to go after one of Hawaii's Senate seats, he might have a platform for some very tasty revenge indeed.
For a little political humor, check out this website: Patriotic Posters
A British military source has reportedly said US forces closing in on Baghdad do not have the "overwhelming force" needed for urban warfare.
The source said resistance in Basra has shown Baghdad will be "tough to crack", Reuters reported.
The source said US forces could encircle the Iraqi capital within days but were wary of street fighting.
"The key thing is that US forces do not want to get involved in downtown fighting. It's all about applying pressure wth the result of the regime falling," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"Basra is very interesting to watch as a precursor, an example of how Baghdad will be tough to crack," the source added.
Analysts have said urban warfare runs the risk of high casualty rates for attacking ground forces.
It was earlier revealed that the US military plans to send another 100,000 troops to Iraq.
The moves comes amid reports US officials privately fear the war could last for months.
The Pentagon insists it is not short of troops in the battle zone. It said the additional deployment was always going to join the war.
But reports said American officials privately admit they underestimated the level of Iraqi resistance.
Iraq has said Coalition forces will have to fight their way into Baghdad street by street.
"The enemy must come inside Baghdad and that will be its grave," Iraq's Defence Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmed said.
Who is Ariel Sharon?
'4000 bombers ready to die'
IRAQ has issued a chilling warning to allied forces, claiming 4000 recently-arrived suicide attackers are ready to kill US, British and Australian troops.
In Baghdad, Iraqi Army spokesman General Hazem al-Rawi said the Arabs had volunteered to fight coalition troops.
"They left their countries and families to come here and seek heaven. They promised not to return to their countries but to be buried in Iraq," he said.
Australian Navy Commander Captain Peter Jones acknowledged small boats laden with explosives and piloted by Iraqi fanatics now posed a major threat to Australian warships in the Persian Gulf.
Captain Jones, commander of the task group which comprises HMAS Kanimbla, HMAS Anzac and HMAS Darwin, said the Navy was concerned about the threat of explosives-laden vessels emerging from the upper reaches of the Khawr Abd 'Allah waterway.
Earlier, the Iraqi regime said four US soldiers killed by a suicide bomber at the weekend were only the first of thousands to die that way, warning the terror would spread to coalition homelands.
"We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land. This is just the beginning," Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said. "You'll hear more pleasant news later. ( Hear the audio)
"You will not find any American, British or Australian soldiers desecrating our land."
The Pentagon insisted US troops would be able to manage the suicide bombing threat. "We're very concerned about it," said General Stan McChrystal. "It looks and feels like terrorism."
However, the Iraqi regime argues it is responding to coalition terror tactics, pointing to an incident on Friday night in which, for the second time, off-course bombs or missiles have caused multiple civilian deaths in Baghdad.
The US has not conceded that one of its bombs caused more than 50 deaths in the Shuallah marketplace, in a poor Shi'ite district, on Friday night.
As with Wednesday morning's incident, in which two missiles struck another Baghdad marketplace killing at least 14 people, US officials are investigating but have suggested the carnage might have been caused by Iraqi anti-aircraft missiles.
In other developments today:
RENEWED bombardment in Baghdad sparked a fire at the Information Ministry building and reportedly hit military facilities at the Abu Gharayb presidential palace.
A BRITISH soldier was killed near Basra as troops faced a growing guerilla war with determined Iraqi resistance. Refugees have been caught in the crossfire as they attempted to flee.
A MARINE UH-1 Huey helicopter crashed at a forward supply and refueling point in southern Iraq, killing three US servicemen and wounding one. US officials said enemy fire was not involved.
GENERAL Tommy Franks denied he had asked the Pentagon for more troops before invading Iraq but sidestepped a question about whether the war might last into the northern summer.
DEFENCE Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied claims he was "micromanaging" the war creating problems for senior war planners.
US SECRETARY of State Colin Powell praised Australia’s efforts in Iraq and the leadership of John Howard.
THE RAAF confirmed Australian planes are likely to become more involved in striking enemy targets as the bombardment increases.
THE 101ST Airborne Division encircled the holy city of Najaf, prepared to go door to door to seek out Iraqi fighters in a battle that risks damage to Shi'ite shrines.
KURDISH fighters took control of more territory left by Iraqi forces withdrawing toward the major oil centre of Kirkuk.
MARINES discovered chemical suits, masks and nerve gas antidote during a raid on buildings used by Iraq's 11th Infantry Division in the southern city of Nasiriyah, US Central Command said.
A TRUCK driven by an Egyptian man in civilian clothes plowed into a group of US soldiers outside a store at a Kuwaiti base today injuring 15 of them, officials said. One soldier was hospitalised.
Meanwhile, a leading Australian defence strategist Des Ball said that while he still believed Iraq would be militarily crushed, the political objective of making the US, Australia and other coalition allies safer from terrorism was probably already lost.
"The security, in the long term, of coalition members is going to be diminished," Professor Ball of the Australian National University said.
Australia's location and relative lack of radical Muslim support groups meant the risk of domestic terrorist activity was unlikely to be greater. "But (Australia's participation in the war) may well translate into more attacks against Australian facilities and people overseas.
"Australians, I think, are going over the longer term to become identified as enemies in this war (and) I think it's going to inflame Muslim and Arab opinion even more against Western interests and Western values."
The Australian's Roy Eccleston, Ian McPhedran and John Kerin contributed to this report, with Agence France-Presse and AAP
This report appears on news.com.au.
~Did You Miss These?~
Just a Reminder - Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003
Ravyne Is Moving - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
The Mission - Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003
Siege Heil - Thursday, Oct. 09, 2003
Litany Of Lies - Wednesday, Oct. 08, 2003
Since I have such a huge readers' list for both my Politcal and my Personal diaries, please see my buddy lists for:
I now collaborate with Chris Vargo, JR. at The Underground Files. Many of my articles can now be found there.
Is This Your Government?
Penguins Are Geeks Too
Chaos In Motion
Post 9/11 Timeline
Show your support for a political writer. Check out Lisa Walsh Thomas' book and order your copy today!
Bev Harris' Black Box Voting
Order at Plan Nine Publishing or Visit Scoop to download free chapters of her book