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Operation Tiger April 28, 1944:
As noted here:
It was the costliest training exercise in all of World War II. As the bodies washed ashore in days ahead, the official count rose to 749.But, as also noted,
The brave men who died that day contributed to the success in France six weeks later. Indeed their sacrifice was a Prelude to Victory.Remember.
By Morris K. Udall
I'm proud and fortunate to be an American living in a 20th century society which enjoys more basic freedoms and more material wealth than any nation in the history of this earth. All of us can rejoice in the blessings we now have. Yet, I sense from my mail a great deal of worry and concern about the future of our country. This uneasiness seems to boil down to two conclusions which are drummed into our people from many sources: (1) We are gradually losing our free enterprise system to socialism; and (2) we are slowly, but surely, losing the cold war and will eventually live under communism.
Updated: * higlight change
The all is lost crowd has been babbling away for a very long time......sometimes one needs to just have faith that the product they are selling is a product people , given a choice want to buy.
From the folks who can't provide "news" without mis-quotes, distortions, and unnamed sources: Failure Day.
A British soldier who has just returned from Iraq yesterday described the situation in Basra as "hopeless and lost" and accused the Government of "trying to save face" by keeping troops there.Artilery guns?
He called on Tony Blair to withdraw troops immediately.
"We're coming into the end game as far as I'm concerned. We're losing around four soldiers a month and it won't get any better.
"They've even started attacking our base at Basra airport now they've got proper artillery guns. Once that's gone there's nowhere left."
Pte Barton said in the 18 months between the end of his first tour of Iraq and his return this year the pressure on troops had increased hugely. The "Iranian influence" had given insurgents increasingly powerful and new weaponry, he said.For information only - a "Pte" is a Private in the British military. The opinions of such should be very much respected - it's rare for one to "make the papers" (much less headlines) and this one did. I'd like to hear from more.
A reasonable discussion on this topic would include examination of Britain's intentions regarding Iran (given recent history), an appreciation of their steadfast commitment to the war on terror, an acknowledgement of the political realities confronting Tony Blair at home, and a valid explanation of the difference between complete pacification of an area and the return of responsibility of that area to Iraq. One is the goal of coalition strategy, ("The tipping point in the war in Iraq will not come from killing off insurgents - it will be achieved by replacing the Americans who are killing them with Iraqi forces capable of doing the same." I believe someone once said...) the other is beyond our control. (See Virginia Tech, for example.)
Meanwhile, Haider Ajina writes:
The following is an article form ‘Aswat Al-Iraq or “Voices of Iraq” from Apr 26, 2007
Al-Shuaiba airbase back to Iraqis for second time in 48 years
By Malik Saadon
Basra, Apr 26, (VOI) – Forty-eight years has passed between the handover of al-Shuaiba airbase from the British forces to the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) in 1959 and its handover to the 10th division of the Iraqi army two days ago. During these 48 years the map of the world has changed, many concepts, ideas and theories have evolved, disproving others that scientists previously held true, but man's will to remain free and to be the master of his own land has not changed.
The British forces on Tuesday handed over al-Shuaiba airbase, 40 km from western Basra, to the 10th division of the Iraqi army, after it having been a vital airbase for the British and Danish forces since 2003. A military parade was held during which the Iraqi flag was raised and the British and Danish flags were lowered in reference to the return of Iraqi sovereignty.Haider's comments,
With the handover of al-Shuaiba airbase, the presence of the multi-national forces will be confined to two bases: the presidential palaces in central Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, and Basra International Airport in the northwest of the city.
Al-Shuaiba airbase was first used by the British forces on March 9, 1915 after they won their battle against the Ottoman Turks in World War I, as part of what the British forces called 'The Mesopotamian campaign,' which means the campaign between the two rivers, referring to the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers.
"On November 6, 1914, the first British battalion of the 16th legion landed on Fao beach, raised the British flag and lowered the flag of the Ottoman Empire," Ali Jabir, a retired brigadier, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"Under the command of Sir A. Bart, the British forces on November 23, 1914 managed to occupy Basra and staged a military parade, to which foreign consuls and prominent figures from Basra were invited, to celebrate what they called 'the liberation of Iraq' from the despotism of the Ottoman Empire," Jabir continued.
Explaining the strong reactions to the British occupation of Basra, Jabir said that the situation turned upside down as soon as the occupying forces held sway.
"Despite serious conflicts at that time between the southern Iraqi tribes and the Ottoman government, which local residents considered their main enemy before the occupation, religious groups in Najaf called for fighting the new occupying forces," Jabir said. Muhammad Saeed al-Habobi, a well-known love poet in Najaf, was one of the Iraqi men of religion who called on people to join al-Shuaiba Battle, where the British forces were on the verge of defeat had it not been for their intrigue. According to Jabir, al-Habobi could not bear the shock of the defeat. "He fell severely ill and was bedridden until he died in Nassiriya on June 16, 1915."
After holding sway over all Iraqi provinces, the British forces started to build stable bases, among which was al-Shuaiba base. "In 1920, the Royal Air Force (RAF) set up a camp at al-Shuaiba where it deployed the 84th company, which was replaced in 1940 by the 244th company that fought the anti-colonial Rashid Ali al-Kilani Movement in World War II," a British media source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"Our backs were bleeding severely under the scourge of the feudal system in Missan's rural areas. We could not afford to pay rent to the landlord of the land. My two brothers and I considered leaving and chose Basra as our destination. We arrived there after a five-day journey on foot," Hajj Hassan, one of the workers at al-Shuaiba base during the British occupation in the 1930s, who is now over 90-years old, told VOI.
"We were lucky that we were chosen by al-Karka, the Indian soldiers in the British army, otherwise known then as the Indian cavalry. They took us to a camp in the heart of the desert called al-Shuaiba. We worked there for several years: my brothers worked in construction and in the transportation of iron and I worked as a supervisor because of my ability to read and write," Hassan recounted.
"We were paid 14 rupees per week. A rupee is the standard unit of money in India, which was then equal to 60 Iraqi fils (1 Iraqi dinar = 1000 fils)," Jabir explained.
For more than three decades Basra's al-Shuaiba remained one of the most vital bases for the British forces in Iraq. After the July 14, 1958 Revolution, which put an end to the royal reign and declared Iraq a republic, al-Shuaiba airbase was handed over to the IQAF in 1959.
"In fact, al-Shuaiba airbase remained in service until the second Gulf War in 1991. It was heavily bombarded on January 17, the first day of the U.S.-led war against Iraq in the aftermath of the Kuwait invasion," Colonel Muhammad Saeed al-Mudhafar told VOI.
"Afterwards an air blockade was imposed by the United States on southern and northern Iraq," al-Mudhafar continued.
"After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, al-Shuaiba airbase was reestablished as a base for supplying the British forces. It turned into a vital and busy military base with more than 8,000 soldiers from 13 countries, including Britain, Denmark, Japan, the Czech Republic, Italy, The Netherlands, Bosnia, Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, Romania and the United States," al-Mudhafar said.
"In February 2006, the British forces decided to transfer their troops from al-Shuaiba base to the Basra International Airport," he added.
In March and April 2007, two British bases were handed over to the 10th division of the Iraqi army. The first base was in downtown's al-Saie neighborhood and the second was in Shatt al-Arab Hotel in northern Basra.
The above shows a slice of history about southern Iraq since WW1. As is evident from this hand over, Basra is gradually and surely heading towards taking over its own affairs. Basra province with its provincial capita Basra is Iraq’s second largest population concentration and includes Iraq’s second largest city. Basra province is 7,363 sq mi and has population of 2.6 million. This represents almost 10% of the population of Iraq and 4.5% of Iraq’s territory. Basra is oil rich and home to Iraq’s sea port.
As to operation ‘Rule of Law’, ‘Fardh al-Qanoon’ or what we know as the ‘Surge’. The spokes person for the Iraqi commander of the operation, General Musawi, stated that security in the capital Baghdad has improved substantially. Sectarian killing have been substantially reduced and bombing have declined measurable. He said "Before the commencement of the Fardh al-Qanoon plan, gunmen used to launch between 15 to 18 attacks every day, but now these attacks reached seven as maximum, the matter considered as a success to the security plan,". The boroughs in Baghdad of Al-Kargh, Al-Ghzaliah and Al-Yarmook are now in phase two of the operation. Phase one of operation ‘Rule of Law’ is purging boroughs from terrorists or out laws. Phase two is securing borough with portable barriers. Phase three is holding the ground and providing services to the residents. Phase four is returning those families who have fled. The last phase, phase five is turning over the security to the interior ministry.
Chap asks, "Funnily enough I don't see anything about information war in the good LTCOL's article. Where's the IW/PA/PSYOPS love?"
Heh. I suspect that like me, Chap sees it between every line of the subsequent coverage. But perhaps I'm simply transferring my own suspicions...
Wow - here's a huge surprise. NPR did a story this week on military members "speaking out".
Members of the U.S. armed forces are prohibited from speaking out against the war in Iraq. The Uniform Code of Military Justice limits what soldiers may say about political issues.Whoever wrote that line has never read the "letters to the editor" section of the Army Times.
But as opposition to the Iraq war mounts, some service members are finding ways to air their opinions. Some are speaking anonymously while others sign a petition.
"You know this isn't really what we signed up to do. This isn't really what I believe America is about," an Army intelligence officer says, speaking from his base in Iraq.
Comments like this would land him in a military prison if he were identified.
That last claim is a load of horseshit, and reveals more about the purpose of NPR's story than its (uninformed) author probably intended. But it's an effective appeal to the ignoratti - and it establishes the mindset they want listeners to bring to the remainder of the piece.
Later the guy confesses to war crimes - indiscriminately shooting civilians. This actually would land him in military prison, but the author of this one would prefer you to believe it's his courageous speech that would end his freedom.
Several months later, he was back in the United States and signed a petition calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. It's known as the Appeal for Redress, and all of the signatories are active-duty servicemen and servicewomen.Listen to the NPR audio and you can even hear Jonathan Hutto "rail against the imperialist war against the working class". Yup - it's yet another free advertisement for the Astroturf campaign. You have to admit that Fenton Communications really knows their business - the PR campaign for this "grass roots" movement has been highly effective in getting attention for the front group (and hiding those behind it).
The Appeal for Redress enables service members to appeal to their congressional representatives to end U.S. military occupation in Iraq.
And given the time and resources of those various groups behind it (and despite Hutto's exaggerations) a miserable failure at collecting signatures. (If signatures are their purpose, that is, the failure doesn't seem to have dampened the media enthusiasm thus far.) An actual un-hyped, grass roots counter-effort, Appeal for Courage, has drawn more in just two months without any organized publicity campaign. One wonders if that's sparked a sense of urgency among the faithful...
But lo and behold - at the same NPR link above:
Lt. Col. Paul Yingling is an active duty commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Friday, he published an article in Armed Forces Journal entitled "General Failure." It charges Army generals with incompetent leadership of the Iraq war.Gannett is certainly doing a fine job of pimping this glorified letter to the editor, too.
At least the NPR piece does clarify a few of Yingling's more vague original points. Responding to comments that the military is adapting to a fluid battlefield, Lt Col Yingling demonstrates a vice-like grasp of the obvious:
The Armed forces are trying to get better at counterinsurgency. But the measure of effectiveness - we will know we're succeeding when Iraqi civilians become safer. Until that happens we can't describe our efforts as successful.In short, it's only after a strategy has been executed and concluded that we can determine its worth.
When asked if there are any Generals who meet his personal approval as leaders for the future he named Shinseki.
Say what you will of Lt Col Yingling, he has the most amazingly crystal clear hindsight I've ever seen.
I see three distinct points of discussion on Lt Col Yingling's article and the suspiciously large and simultaneous amount of subsequent coverage it's gotten beyond the Gannet publication in which it first appeared.
2. Yingling's conclusion - congress must take more control over America's Generals. I find this disturbing, as congress is and has been very much involved in the process (recall the unanimous approval of General Petraeus as Commander, MNF-I for a recent example). Grim touched on that aspect here but I think that's just a start of a fine discussion. (Would more congressional control - exercised by Hillary Clinton and Trent Lott et al - over the past five years really have made a difference? Think about that...)
3. The subsequent coverage. I find the comments of my fellow MilBloggers (and hopefully my own input) quite worthwhile and exactly the sort of thoughtful, informed discussion one would hope would result from the original point.
But the media hype - full of claims that prison awaits those who speak out, and conflation of Yingling's piece with the Appeal for Redress astroturf campaign (not just NPR, the AP did it here) - is unhelpful, and seems a bit too well timed with the "anti-war" crowd in congress' desperate need for some immediate means to discredit one specific American General.
I don't believe that last aim is shared by Lt Col Yingling. And I believe he might be somewhat disturbed to find himself sharing the radio airwaves and newspaper text with the Appeal for Redress crowd. Beyond superficial similarities I think the only commonality between the two is an obviously well-oiled publicity campaign going on behind the scenes - in one case hiding the real story and in another hammering the square peg of truth into the pre-shaped round hole of current (and immediate) political expedience.
One last trip back to NPR's advertisement for Appeal for Redress:
The campaign is not without critics, including military bloggers...That's all you get by way of balance. But I have to suspect that if the author is actually aware of any milblogger critique of the group, they are fully aware of the nature of that complaint, and chose not to include it in the report. Since it would completely derail the point I suspect the Fenton folks would be a bit upset if they did. All done!
Four must reads sometime this week:
Retired LTC Yingling's article in Armed Forces Journal
Hugh Hewitt interview with Max Boot on Yingling’s article, via Instapundit
Greyhawk's reflections on Yingling's piece
Point of view contrary to Yingling from Neptunus Lex.
Call it all some considerations of the second draft of history, all relating to how we have conducted our military efforts in Iraq, how we’ve adapted, and where we stand now.
The mainstream media (MSM) delight in stories like this. They move from darling to darling, from one convenient message to another, and find ways to highlight and stress those particular threads of military commentary and opinion that supports their own biases, or the partisan aims of those they seek to assist.
I don’t want to insult or call into question the integrity of LTC Yingling, or impute ulterior motives to the particular timing of his article. I think Yingling accurately captures a strain of thought within the officer corps, particular for younger officers a level or two below those who have achieved the political stature of elevated senior rank. I say political because for those not as familiar with the world of the military, it may not be apparent the degree to which Generals and aspiring Field Grade officers by necessity excel as political animals.
I will certainly grant that, in hindsight, it will always be possible to find oppositional voices in military senior command who take positions contrary to those which ultimately prevail, and after the fact can seem deep wisdom indeed. Hindsight, after all, can always be measured as 20/20. I would even go so far to admit that a certain degree of hubris, institutional prejudices, vanity and pride underlay much military decision-making immediately leading up to our invasion of Iraq, and decisions in the first 3 years of executing the various components of our plans.
All that said I still have several big objections to his argument.
Bad results don’t necessarily indicate bad plans, or even bad decisions. Poor results are more often a failure of adaptability, not necessarily foresight. You can generally foresee all manner of possibilities, but leadership is a matter of making decisions, of choosing courses of action (COA) among alternatives. After the fact, it will always be possible to point at outcomes, and say, well, clearly, you should have opted for COA #2, or #3, or so on, rather than the one chosen.
Yingling describes the failures of Generals making decisions during the Vietnam War as inadequately preparing their forces for counterinsurgency. That may or may not be a complete picture of all that went on, and certainly doesn’t accommodate evolving thinking about Vietnam, that we may have won militarily but lost politically by giving way on PR and pulling out on the verge of victory. Sure, the results were disastrous, but was the disaster the fault of military operations, or the political decision-making that pulled US forces out, and then cravenly abandoned our allies in South Vietnam?
We fought a very tough and prolonged fight against a Filipino insurgency at the turn of the 19th century, and won against them, and the military created doctrinal components that were informed by those experiences. I think it reasonable that the US military was justified thinking they would prevail in Vietnam. Certainly, tactics and strategy could have evolved more, but the great unanswered question is what would have happened if we had held on longer, maintained support of South Vietnam? Our North Vietnamese enemies candidly admit they were near complete defeat and surrender shortly after Tet.
Again, we might grant Yingling his premise that the military didn’t exhibit sufficient foresight as the war in Vietnam continued, or didn’t adapt, or ignored warning signs and alternative courses of action. I don’t think it supports his conclusion, in any case.
I thought at the time and I think now that arguments by Administration detractors and in-house military critics that 300,000 to 400,000 troops would be needed to prevail in Iraq was a recipe for guaranteed paralysis. Say we ponied up that kind of force. How long would that big a force be needed to accomplish a “pacification” of the country? How many more casualties would the US have sustained with two to three times as many targets for IEDs and other suicide attacks?
How on earth does anyone think the US could implement that in the politics of the time? We’d see even worse conflict and obstructionism, only louder, more, and sooner. No, those kinds of troops levels would ensure that we would, in fact, choose not to go to war. That was the overriding intent of these estimates, anyway. Prove me wrong, but I think that would be perfectly logical based on the cynical Powell Doctrine. (We fight ONLY when we are certain of complete victory, not on necessity, nor on principle.)
If there is one truism in modern warfare, it’s that we don’t always get time and opportunity to choose a fight that is brought on you unexpectedly. We can’t always support or sustain overwhelming force, and we can’t control every eventuality or eliminate terror as PR and media tactic. Careful “pragmatists” like Powell and Shinseki would, by their doctrines, ensure we only take on boutique wars against very minor adversaries. That was the intent of Shinseki and others on this side of the argument, an argument for inaction and status quo. And the fatal fallacy of these arguments, are they don’t in any way answer what we face in AQ and similar global terror affinity organizations.
The example Yingling cites of Valmy is grossly inapt for our situation in Iraq. Valmy led to Jena because the Prussians did not see Valmy as a warning for what the future might hold, or their own vulnerabilities. You can argue that Secretary Rumsfeld (and the President) didn’t take a sober enough look at the security situation in Iraq, or change strategy, or prompt adaptation in the military. But you surely can’t view the surge, the substantive and impressive changes in strategy and tactics, and the orchestration of the surge by GEN Petraeus as an inability to reassess, and adapt.
Lastly, I find it incomprehensible that a military leader of advanced rank, a Brigade Deputy Commander no less, could thoroughly inform himself of ground truth in Iraq, and then honestly or accurately describe us on the verge of defeat, in any sense. We have difficulties transferring authority to Iraqis, building up their security forces (more so the Iraqi police versus the Army), and no one is happy with security, but this is not a military defeat.
We and the Iraqi forces we support have been unable to fully secure important population centers, and there are significant populations of potential adversaries not pacified. Terrorists are not fully eliminated nor prevented from conducting harassing operations. But this can be said about many places in the world. If a steady stream of foreign ideological suicides, or vulnerable innocents (children, handicapped, subjects of blackmail) can be kept available, this could be kept up indefinitely, anywhere in the world. It just happens that Al Qaeda wants to continue to focus on Iraq, because they believe they can thereby turn Americans against the war, with the help of the Democrat opposition and western media.
I wouldn't say anything against a gentleman from the 3rd Armored Cav. I do wonder about this idea, though: "To reward moral courage in our general officers, Congress must ask hard questions about the means and ways for war as part of its oversight responsibility."
Congressional confirmation procedures are something we've seen a lot of over the last several years. Does anyone really believe that these procedures ever, ever, ever even once, "reward moral courage"?
Let's say you want to be on the Supreme Court. Or an ambassador. Whatever. Does it help or hurt your chances if you've ever expressed strong opinions about any controversial topic?
Reward moral courage? That's the best way I can think of to make sure that no one of moral courge is ever considered for the post.
Yeah, a civilian friend read the paper, and now I just had to post on it. Hawk's got the importance right--if you think this article is as Important as the papers say it is, you're being played for a sucker unless the papers get to drive the momentum enough for people to riff on the article.
Funnily enough I don't see anything about information war in the good LTCOL's article. Where's the IW/PA/PSYOPS love?
Update: One more thing. Seems as though GEN Abizaid fits LTCOL Yingling's model for the modern general...
Just a quick question...
If one knows that it will be 3-5 years before handing off to the ISF is feasable...and the maximum sustainable rotation is 15 Brigades...does one immediately engage in a policy that will require 21-22 Brigades until the ISF is capable of assuming command...or does one engage in "economy of force" for three to four years?
I think it is important to note that the officer criticizing American generalship is doing so in the Armed Forces Journal, which (according to the AP story) is published by Army Times Publishing Company, which publishes all the Military Times newspapers.Yup:
Armed Forces Journal and its Web site, armedforcesjournal.com, are published by Army Times Publishing Company, a part of Gannett Company, Inc.Although
Army Times Publishing Company is organized into three market sector groups to effectively cover the needs of the consumer and business-to-business communities served by its publications: 1. The Military Times Media Group, which publishes the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times newsweeklies;So now you know.
2. the Defense News Media Group, which publishes Defense News, Armed Forces Journal , Training & Simulation Journal, and C4ISR Journal (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance); and
3. the Federal Times newsweekly.
Also at The Tank, Gregory S. McNeal found AP coverage of Yingling's article, which claims that
In February, the U.S. forces launched the Baghdad security operation, which calls for deploying about 28,000 additional American troops as well as thousands of Iraqi soldiers. Most will try to secure Baghdad.I can't find that in Yingling's article anywhere. I recognize from his conclusion that his point is that Congress must take control of America's Generals (and find it unworthy of comment) but I can't find any mention of his expectations for the current strategy.
Yingling welcomed the change, but suggested it is too little too late.
But it certainly looks like Gannett is pushing this story hard.
The AP story also shoehorns in a reference to the Astroturf campaign "Appeal for Redress":
But public criticism from an active duty officer is rare and may be a sign of growing discontent among military leaders at a critical time in the troubled U.S. military mission here.I guess it fits better than Abu Ghraib, but the AP story is an exceptional example of a disinformation campaign even without it.
An anti-war group, Appeal for Redress, says about 2,000 active duty personnel and veterans have signed a petition calling for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
One of its founders, Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Hutto, has said 60 percent of the members have served in Iraq. There are about 1.4 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military.
Update: The Military Times papers ran a fluffer piece on Appeal for Redress a while back, too, without explaining the background on the group.
...even faster than we knew:
A vibrant milblogging community in the People's Republic of China, where all manners of speech are closely monitored and controlled, may seem unlikely. Chinese milbloggers, however, have closely followed major defense and security developments both within China as well as abroad, from last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah to China's anti-satellite missile test in January.We must demand US Government money to keep ahead of the yellow peril!
Translations of Chinese MilBlogger names into English include Chinese Sword, Door of Green Dragon, Flying Flower Pursues Moon, Flying Fish, and Commanding Feather Eagle Wolf.
Wonder what they think of Harry Reid being a fan boy of one of their Generals?