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23 May 2007

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João Carlos

Not good... not good...

Very disturbing...

And now there are all that ships at the Persian Gulf. Can Bush start other war?

searp

The DFAC was the only good thing about Taji when I was there in early 2007.

I know lots more people are also living in tents these days as a result of the surge.

It is real rough for the soldiers right now.

JfM

No, searp, it’s not ‘real rough for the soldiers now’. Bastogne and Iwo Jima were rough. An overwhelming percentage of our forces in Iraq are between sheets at night and almost all have a hot meal or two each day. Augmenting this ideal ration cycle with a MRE a day is a minor inconvenience. Few go more than a day or two without a shower. Access to the homefront in the pervasive computer barns via email is the norm. No, by any historical measure against wars past, physical conditions are pretty good. What is not good is a widening awareness amongst the troops that their efforts-their blood- is viewed as wasted by the American public.

Contrary to us troops in Vietnam in the late 60s who knew our efforts were largely wasted and further that the American public generally disdained our service and sacrifice, today’s soldiers generally know the American public holds them dear even while rejecting the war they fight. This distinction is terribly important and is truly a profound difference between then and now.


Michael D. Adams

"People, Ideas and Hardware. In that order!"
--Col. John "40 Second" Boyd.

Could the Commander Guy, the war profiteers and chain of command get it any more bass ackwards?

Mike Adams

Charles

Surely if the entire green zone, never mind the poor troops, had been dining on MRE's al fresco from day one, they might be a tad closer to realities for all in that benighted country, and the fruits of such a diet might have been more realistic policies from the outset. What is described in Inside the Emerald City, is just that.

MarcLord

Gosh, Pat, there's all this Grand Strategy to be fixed but all you can think about is food!

Thanks for helping an outsider like me get this kind of data. It's invaluable.

Mojo

JfM,
This long into the US participation in WWII, the war had been over for a year and a half.
Yes, missing a few meals and sleeping in a tent is a small sacrifice compared to those that have been made by many soldiers in this and other wars, but it doesn't make the planning failures (made by people sleeping in the Green Zone in rocket-proof facilities or at home in Georgetown) any more acceptable.

JfM

Mojo, I couldn't agree with you more. Truly the planning failures at all levels of this misadventure are almost unprecedented in the history of our military, and the operational missteps may be studied as ‘how not to’ for generations to come in our military schools everywhere. However these were not the points of my above post; rather that daily life for most of the soldiers- even in the Green Zone- is not rough when compared to almost any previous combat campaign. My post was simply meant to contrast the living of today’s troops to times when the living was rough. Let’s keep today in context. A MRE a day ain’t rough when it’s complimented by the spectrum of other amenities not afforded almost all foot soldiers of the past. Yes, the planning mistakes are often largely inexcusable, but virtually none of the troops are living for a protracted period on 3 rough meals from a bag a day, curling up in their poncho at night on the ground, or squatting between their boots in the open. That was the life of what went before.

searp

JfM: I'm talking the real world, where the soldiers are experiencing a negative change in their living conditions. Comparisons with Valley Forge or similar aren't relevant, these soldiers make their own sacrifices and I for one won't belittle it.

Of course it is only an inconvenience, just like the Internet restrictions. Those start to add up when you are stuck in a craphole for 15 months, not 12.

I'd like also to echo Mojo's point: if you can surge the people, why can't you surge the supplies?

Clifford Kiracofe

On the logistics issue:

"Attacks on convoys have increased sharply during the past few months."
from
CNN: "Contractors Dying in Increasing Numbers in Iraq"
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/23/iraq.foreigners.reut/index.html?section=cnn_latest

From Juan Cole blog:
"They avoid local food in the Baghdad region because of the danger guerrillas will poison it."
http://www.juancole.com/

Cold War Zoomie

It's in the Post:

Wash Post Article

JfM

Gentlemen (or as the old 1SG often said, ‘Gentlemens’), let’s discuss issues in a civil manner. Please note, I am certainly am not engaging in ‘my war was worse than your war.’ My initial observations were meant only to frame the characterization of searp’s description of conditions as ‘real rough’ in some historical context. With over 25 years as a combat arms type myself, I certainly don’t belittle the hardships endured by our soldiers nor disparage their very real daily sacrifices. But I say again, physical conditions would have to deteriorate much further for me to characterize physical conditions as ‘real rough’. Talk to veterans of past campaigns. Yes, “I'm talking the real world, where the soldiers are experiencing a negative change in their living conditions.” I respectfully disagree,” Comparisons with Valley Forge or similar ARE truly relevant”. You gotta know where you’ve been to know where you are.

Now, that said, I concur completely with your ire on repetitive command failures and any flagging-regardless of the excuse- in logistical support. My anger builds almost weekly as I watch the failings of cowed generals and inept-clueless- politicians stumble repeatedly while seemingly resurrecting all the mistakes of past wars. For those in grey suits or class A’s, it’s just a gaff or less than perfect outcome; for the troop on the ground it’s insufficient armor on their vehicles or being slapped in the face with a capricious tour extension from 12 to 15 months. This is more than a breach of faith with our soldiers. It speaks volumes about the absolute vital connection of the American people-the American process-with and to their military.

João Carlos

However, remember that the real danger isn't the food shortage or live in barracks.

The real danger is the ammo and fuel shortage. Abrams and copters aren't very usefull when they don't have fuel.

The insurgents know it. That is the reason why the attacks on convoys increased and they are trying to kill the contractors. They will try suffocate the US army destroying the supply lines.

As I said above:
Not good... not good...

W. Patrick Lang

Joao

"They will try suffocate the US army destroying the supply lines."

That is correct and the Sunni/secular Shia insurgents are the smallest problem. th potential for reigious
Shia militia interdiction of supplies is much worse. pl

João Carlos

Colonel,

I think the shia are more or less quiet until now, they are having fun seeing US army fight with the sunni while they gained teh governement from the popular vote. Some shia groups can be attacking the US army, but in general they prefer stay quiet and hope the sunni and US army will kill one another.

The real problem will be when the shia think is time to fight:
1- they learned something seeing the sunni insurgents fight the US army? They learn how to make IEDs and what tatics to use to ambush US army?
2- they have resources and trained personel for fight the US army more offensivelly? For example, can they get some anti-airplane missiles from Iran and start to shut down the US copters?
3- can Iran agents, in special Revolutionary Guards, be infiltred inside the shia population waiting the time for attack the US army? I guess these guys can be well trained and know where they hurt more the US army.
4- can the shia have enough power for over-run not only outposts, but US bases too?

The worse thing about this war is that the most dangerous enemy is waiting while the US army fight other guys. And we really don't know how much dangerous is that enemy. Or if or when that enemy will decide finally attack.

I REALLY have a very bad feeling about this.

And I am reading some pieces at US media saying that VP Cheney really intend to attack Iran...

johnieB

Contrary to us troops in Vietnam in the late 60s who knew our efforts were largely wasted and further that the American public generally disdained our service and sacrifice, today’s soldiers generally know the American public holds them dear even while rejecting the war they fight. This distinction is terribly important and is truly a profound difference between then and now.


Posted by: JfM | 23 May 2007 at 12:58 PM

I pray you're right.

4 April 68- 2 May 69.

ran

"today’s soldiers generally know the American public holds them dear"

Not me. They're voluntarily taking part in a massive war crime that is the illegal invasion and occupation of a country that posed no threat to us whatsoever.

Following orders is not an excuse that carried any weight at Nuremberg.

Martin K

I wonder what al-Sadrs re-emergence might signify in this context, and how much weight he pulls in southern Iraq. Would also be interesting to know wether he actually went to Iran, and how many of his men went with him, and what training they recieved there.

On another note, it would be interesting to hear opinions on how/if the Hezbollah doctrine that defeated Israel has filtered down into Iraq. Was that a quantuum leap for the resistance morally/tactically?

Uncle Mikey

This is such an obvious fake you should be ashamed of your sorry selves for falling for it. You're killing the credibility of the antiwar set singlehandedly, you morons.

J Thomas

Well, Uncle Mikey, how's your credibility doing?

W. Patrick Lang

Uncle Mikey

Yeah. So, there! pl

Dustin Langan

Food convoys supplying what is now the US Embassy were blocked and were reportedly coming under fire as early as May 2003. At one point the Republican Palace dining facility was served cold hot dogs for over three weeks straight.

And I hate hot dogs.

taters

Col. Lang,
This brings to mind the excellent piece you did for the Christian Science Monitor from July 21, 2006.

The vulnerable line of supply to US troops in Iraq

By Patrick Lang

ALEXANDRIA, VA.
American forces in Iraq are in danger of having their line of supply cut by guerrillas. Napoleon once said that "an army travels on its stomach." By that he meant that the problem of keeping an army supplied is the prerequisite for the very existence of the force.

A 21st-century military force "burns up" a tremendous volume of expendable supplies and continuously needs repairs to equipment as well as medical treatment. Without a plentiful and dependable source of fuel, food, and ammunition, a military force falters. First it stops moving, then it begins to starve, and eventually it becomes unable to resist the enemy.

In 1915, for example, this happened to British forces that had invaded Mesopotamia. A British-Indian force traveled up the line of the Tigris River, advancing to Kut, southeast of Baghdad. They became besieged there after their line of supply was cut along the river to the south. Some 11,000 troops ultimately surrendered, after the allies suffered another 23,000 casualties trying to rescue them.

American troops all over central and northern Iraq are supplied with fuel, food, and ammunition by truck convoy from a supply base hundreds of miles away in Kuwait. All but a small amount of our soldiers' supplies come into the country over roads that pass through the Shiite-dominated south of Iraq.

Until now the Shiite Arabs of Iraq have been told by their leaders to leave American forces alone. But an escalation of tensions between Iran and the US could change that overnight. Moreover, the ever-increasing violence of the civil war in Iraq can change the alignment of forces there unexpectedly.

cont'd
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0721/p09s01-coop.htm

And SST readers will recall your article on "The Sword that Cuts The Arteries of the Infidels"

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2006/10/the_sword_that_.html

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