What do you make of this

With the cutrrent situation overseas, read through this and post your responses.

Below is what a group of businessmen have put together and are wondering wether or not it should be sent to uncle Tony

Dont confuse the post with squaddie slating or anti war propaganda


The current situation in Iraq is complex.  It is clear that the population
are not welcoming the invading forces to the same extent as was expected.  
There are substantial forces opposed to the USA (not necessarily Iraqi)
both in Iraq and also coming to Iraq to fight the USA.

Even the situation Umm Qasr is imperfect in that mines keep reappearing
although the Australian SAS keep clearing them.

Currently there is a sandstorm that is perhaps expected to last up to
30-40 days (notwithstanding the fact that the US weather predictors
predict the cessation of the storms in 2-3 days).

It is expected that Saddam's forces will use the sandstorms to reorganise
and attempt to attack the supply lines of the coalition forces.  The T55s
were sacrificed to allow other units to be moved.

The 120 tanks that broke out of Basra are thought to have been a feint.

The US taking a further airport with 1,000 troops in the Kurdish north was
for show for the US people.  They already have 12 and this was further in
the free Kurdistan than those they already hold.

The us have obtained $75bn and the UK £1.5bn to further the war, but that
is only for 30 days activity.  In the mean time the US are charging
airstrikes costs against the UK's budget.

The key to this is the objective of the campaign.  The UK Armed Forces
believe that they are in Iraq to help the Iraqis, but for various reasons
the Iraqis are resisting them.

It is quite clear that every civilian Iraqi death causes further
anti-coalition sentiment in Iraq.  Furthemore the perception that the US
are not invincible and can be resisted is strengthening the resistance.

The proposal that would be suggested strategically at this point is as

a)  Go Firm with defensible territory.  Aim to stabilise the areas
currently controlled by coalition forces.  Ensure that the Iraqis living
in those areas are well looked after.  Hold very early local elections
(1-2 week timescale) for advisory councils to move the governance of those
areas into Iraqi hands.

b)  Bring in the United Nations.  Part of the difficulty lies in the
antagonism against the USA and coalition forces.  Bringing in the UN gives
an alternate direction.

c)  Stop bombing the cities.  It achieves nothing and can be counter

d)  Bring in some Iraqi opposition forces and listen to their advice.

e)  Put in a strategy to handle the unravelling of the regime through
gradual movement away rather than the use of dominant military force.

The point about the above is from a humanitarian perspective fewer people
will die.  From a WMD perspective the coalition can ensure anything that
goes through Northern Iraq or Southern Iraq is inspected.  The Deepwater
port is in coalition hands so transshipments can be inspected.  From a
miltary perspective it is a clearly attainable objective.
Some rather simplistic notions for a complex problem. It rightly identifies that US Intelligence has either overestimated Saddams unpopularity, or underestimated the psychological grip he holds.

My intial thoughts:

(a) This will effectively split the country and create 2 states out of 1 which is not ideal from either a military or diplomatic perspective. The UN would likely call for the handing back of territory or would not recognise the legitimacy of local elections and split government. Assuming the position were accepted ad infinitum it creates a potential future problem of one territory invading the other to consolidate the country and lead to iner-nicene fighting. Also more troops are required to defend terrotory than to take it. Consolidate and secure by all means, but I would argue you can only do this while sustaining momentum at the front echelon.

(b) The UN will not sanction the current action because of the Franco-German veto. Russia is also uneasy with the war. These 3 nations may see any UN backed operation as sanctioning the attacks by other means. France also supports Saddam's regime and has established trade and quasi-diplomatic links. The French have shown their allegiance to Saddam Hussein and would not sanction his removal. The Russians are worried that the $3Bn worth of contracts that have been signed with Russian comapnies which are due to become effective on the ending of sanctions may also lobby to retain Saddam Hussein to ensure that the contracts are not declared null and void on the assumption of US/UN led control of Iraq. The Russian economy is fragile and Putin would prefer the devil he knows. IN any case obtaining a unified UN response is described as "herding chickens", and in the achingly long time it takes to obtain a UN resolution, Saddam may regroup and forumalte a strategy which holds the UN to ransom.

(c) "Shock and Awe" is clearly not achieving the objectives it was set out to. US reliance on air power is proving to be less effective than planned and where bombing cities is concerned colateral damage must be accepted. There should be a continued and sustained attack on military targets either in or out of cities in advance of any land offensive. Bombing for the sake of bombing will not frighten the Iraqis or spur them onto a popular uprising and as a show of strength is a flawed strategy. That being said, if applied to military targets designed to reduce fighting effectivness rather than as a psychological tool, it could be a deciding factor in any conventional operation.

(d) Agreed to an extent, however it pre-supposes that there is a significant resource, such as Shia forces or popular support, that can be of benefit and which can be easily mobilised. This solution does not make the necessary intellectual leap to offer a solution as to what bringin an Iraqi advisor(s) may actually achieve, and thus what advantage we may hope to gain. This strategy does not show any immediate link with the key military objective, which is to take Baghdad and remove Saddam Hussein. I would argue the use of Iraqi opposition advisors is best utilised during the transitional stage from offensive to policing/peace-keeping and humanitarian operations.

(e) I am not entirely sure I fully understand the proposal. Again, no alternative strategy as such is presented, nor a plan for implementation. While it might seem a viable alternative there is little historical evidence for successful political incursion. Previous attempts at political change through incentive were made under different circumstances. The Marshall Plan and the Yalta Agreement were drawn up after WW2 had ended and regimes had been toppled by military force, and in any case were intended only to prevent countries at risk of reverting to communism from doing so for financial and infrasrtucture reasons.

As for the issue of WMD, Saddam is in a loose/loose situation if he tries to use them as it will (1) give the US a mandate to meet force with overwhelming force, probably backed by the UN and (2) will prove that he had them all along which will lead to the Russians and Germans falling into line with the US and increasing the size of the coalition. Although France has said it would back a UN resolution in those circumstances, their recent behaviour does not give me cause to be optomistic.

My view is that we have committed to military action and this should now be seen through to its conclusion.

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