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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Military Analysis of the New Bush Iraq Plan

Below is a quick analysis of the military aspects of the President’s new plan. More to come as details of the operations are briefed to congress. I have listed the pertinent pieces in three groups, Assumptions, the Iraq Plan and the regional Plan. Bush’s words are in bold, my comments are not. I have changed the order of the paragraphs to make them easier to understand since Bush mixed his thoughts. If you listened carefully you will have noticed that what he spoke is different from the written text. The speechwriters must have been apoplectic. For example, early in the speech he again used the phase “War on Terror.” Bush should fire his speechwriters and himself. This speech was a disaster. Listen to it again. Pretend you are Joe six pack in the American Heartland. More importantly pretend you are the Iraqi people listening to the one last vision of this President. This speech was not written for them. It was written for a college-educated audience. Did this inspire anyone? It was delivered in a monotone voice like a college professor coupled with a child who just came from a beating behind the woodshed. The feeling I took away was that he was not comfortable and by no means is he enthusiastic about this plan.


Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.

Victory still equals a functioning democracy that can provide it’s own security.

The most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy — by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom — and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

“Provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy”,

The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

True. He should have thought of that before going into Iraq. Iraq provided stability in the region by provided a significant buffer to Iran and keeping a large Shia population in check. He destroyed that stability, and has determined to replace it with a democracy supported by all Iraqis living side by side in peace. A risky goal because the Americans do not have control of the outcome. It depends on the Iraqi people and government.

We will use America's full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists — and a strategic threat to their survival.

They know that already. This sounds more like a plea for help that he won’t get. The Saudis are not going to stop funding the insurgents and Al-Qaeda. There security rests with a viable and rich Sunnis population in Iraq.

From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace.

True, but they are being crushed to silence by the Jihadists.

Most of Iraq's Sunni and Shia want to live together in peace — and reducing the violence in Baghdad will help make reconciliation possible.

What proof of this has he seen that we have not? Has anyone heard one shred of evidence to support this claim?

Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it.

True, but Iraqi plans are just words. Their actions have always been quite different.

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents.

True then and true with this plan.

And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. Our military commanders reviewed the new Iraqi plan to ensure that it addressed these mistakes. They report that it does. They also report that this plan can work.

True. Why did he say this so weakly? Who did he convince with this statement? “Unnamed commanders report”. Has all the passion of a weather report.

Our military forces in Anbar are killing and capturing al-Qaeda leaders — and they are protecting the local population. Recently, local tribal leaders have begun to show their willingness to take on al-Qaeda. And as a result, our commanders believe we have an opportunity to deal a serious blow to the terrorists.

Have begun to show a willingness???? Success depends on the Iraqis and this is the evidence that they are willing to step up to the challenge???

The most urgent priority for success in Iraq is security, especially in Baghdad. Eighty% of Iraq's sectarian violence occurs within 30 miles of the capital.

True for the moment. The bad guys have a right to change where they fight if we get tuff in Baghdad.

Bush's Iraq Plan

There will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort — along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations — conducting patrols, and setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.

So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them — five brigades — will be deployed to Baghdad.

This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods — and Prime Minister Maliki has pledged that political or sectarian interference will not be tolerated.

For a while. The Iraqi government needs to play along for a while. But November will be here in a heart beat.

To establish its authority, the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November. And to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's political life, the government will reform de-Baathification laws — and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.

Not a chance. Increase the Baathist share of the government??? These are the same guys that are harboring the insurgents and funding their own militias. What assurance does Bush have from the Baathists that they will give up a winning military strategy for a minority piece of the shaky government? What do the Baathists tell the insurgents, go home we are going to become peaceful??? The die is cast. Even Bush does not believe this.

So I have given orders to increase American forces in Anbar Province by 4,000 troops.

1 Stryker brigade is supposed to inspire the local tribal leaders to risk their lives and power.???? What if all the Baghdad bad guys move to An Bar? Will the 60 Baghdad brigades follow. Or will they hold what they have in accordance with the plan.

After the speech, a Fox military analyst outlined the plan for Baghdad. 55 Iraqi brigades and 5 American brigades. He circled the mixed Shia and Sunnis neighborhoods on a map of Baghdad where 1.5M people live in constant fear of death squads. When asked if this is enough troops, the general stated that it exactly fits the 1 to 50 ratio the Gen Petraeus wrote in his counter insurgency manual. Of course this requires the Jihadists to stay and fight to the death in these neighborhoods. Hello, does anyone believe the Jihadists are that stupid? The Jihadists can move freely throughout Western Baghdad and An-Bar province. Does this plan address the Rich Baathists in Western Baghdad and An-Bar? Does it stop them from funding death squads or harboring insurgents?

Regional Plan

Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity — and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

We are also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East. I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence sharing — and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region.

This is the most important part of the speech. It is Bush’s first public statement that he is going to attack the Iranian logistics lines to Iraq. He is going to kick the hornet’s nest and finally challenge the Iranians. We now know the purpose of the 3 carrier battle groups and why Admiral Fallon.


Did this speech inspire anyone? Are Iraqis now eager to charge into the streets, or do they even have a clue what Bush said. If I were an Iraqi citizen and heard that weak speech delivered by an unenthusiastic president I would be scared to death. When we desperately needed a Patton speech we got a Yale commencement address.

The American military will do their part. Will Maliki do his part? If he were enthusiastic, Bush would not have had to publicly give him an ultimatum of November.

What was Bush’s message to the bad guys and the Shia death squads? Lay low, go elsewhere, be patient until November. Maliki play along until November. Sadr, go to ground and be a good boy.

Will the Bush Baghdad plan succeed? Absolutely. Will it in the end make the slightest difference in establishing a peaceful democracy? Not a chance. Will Maliki swear off supporting Shia death squads after November? Will he arrest and hang Sadr? He may put him under house arrest until November, but that is it. Bush laid out a plan that will succeed by November. He will declare victory. But this success will be meaningless in the big picture of Iraq. It also is clearly not Maliki’s plan. Maliki knows it is the Baathists who are the source of all the trouble in Iraq. The Bush plan is to give them more political power! And that will do what? After November Maliki will do the correct thing and go after the Baathists and the insurgents. Bush is giving safe harbor and more power to the one group that is causing 95% of all the violence.

This plan would work if the Americans had the forces to do the job themselves. The American military could clean up Iraq with 500,000 troops. But we don’t have close to that number. We are totally dependent on 150,000 Iraqi troops and police for success. Our objectives are extremely limited and therefore, success will contribute nothing to the final outcome in Iraq.

The only ray of hope is that Bush will finally get us in a shooting war with the real threat, Iran. Bush will deploy Patriot Missile Systems to counter the significant Iranian Silkworms and Scuds. This war at sea will require an entire Blog post of its own. But let me leave you with these thoughts. Iranians do not require missiles or ships to wreak havoc on the oil tankers. The greatest American navy weakness has always been mine sweeping. It is a mission the Navy has fought since I was there in 1969. That is why you see an increase in British and Australian ships. Flood the Persian Gulf with cheap mines like Saddam did in 1991 when he almost sunk one of our carriers that hit 2 mines and broke the keel. This in spite of mine sweeping helos leading the way. Additionally, speedboats and wooden fishing boats carrying hand held missiles will do nicely.

All the oil stops, including the Iranian oil and half of the Saudi oil. Iran will engage the West in an economic game of chicken. Whose economy will collapse first, theirs or ours?

Liberty or Death

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