"Watching them drive by at 30 miles per hour, would take 75 days. Bumper-to-bumper, they would stretch from New York City to Denver. That's how U.S. Air Force logistical expert Lenny Richoux described the number of vehicles that would have to be shipped back from Iraq when the current deployment is over. These include, among others, 10,000 flatbed trucks, 1,000 tanks and 20,000 Humvees.Even in an emergency, said Col. Richoux in DefenseNews, the evacuation of 162,000 troops in 23 ground combat brigades and millions of tons of equipment would take some 20 months. Military shipping containers, end to end, would stretch from New York City to the gates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The main resupply route for convoys that runs 344 miles from Kuwait (skirts Basra to the north) to Baghdad is already under the constant threat of hit-and-run insurgency attacks, including improvised explosive devices. Driving empty, on their way back to pick up another load in Kuwait, convoys are just as vulnerable. Arnaud de Borchgrave
I guess it was to be expected that a journalist who flew into the airstrip at Dien Bien Phu the day the French paratroops seized the place would take an interest in the hard realities of military operations. Nevertheless, I am gratified and grateful that he has written this very useful piece. It tells the story so well that I am relieved of the burden of trying to write it myself. As I said at the Miller Center last week, I was an intelligence officer but always was "logistics driven" in my thinking.
The Democrats who talk about leaving about leaving Iraq by the end of 2008 are as deluded as the Republicans who think that Iraq is South Korea.
The United States can not afford to run helter skelter for the door in Kuwait. There are a myriad of geo-political reasons why that is true, but looming alongside that set of reasons is the fact that we can not afford to depart militarily in other than an organized, rational, carefully planned way. To do otherwise is to court a collapse of the internal situation into a chaos that would make present events seem mild.
And then there are "our things." As De Borchgrave explains, there are a vast number of armored vehicles, trucks, Strykers, and aircraft in Iraq that the United States can not afford to lose. These things need to be brought back to the US for factory re-build so that the taxpayer's money will not be wasted buying analogous equipment. Pacifists will argue that it would be better to leave the equipment because we should "study war no more." That concept is as unrelated to reality as the Jacobin flathead view of a homogeneous mankind.
The road out of Iraq will require several years for a safe passage. pl