Thursday, January 11, 2007

OKDUBYA CRASHES: Thoughts are as usual

Here in Pasadena, DD is just warming up on one unusual cold day in the San Gabriel Valley. The tea leaves have already been read and the Bush speech has crashed and burned as it should.

DD sticks with its comparison of GWB and OKDubya to the paralytic military political command structure of the Wehrmacht, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, in World War II.

Bush's obsessions, one which exclude and prevent any sensible command, aren't the same as Hitler's military obsessions, but the end result is the same. The military loses. Blood is used to buy time and hold onto ground.

Paradoxically, the Fuhrer was obsessed with oil in southern Russia, a fixation that led the Wehrmacht to its eventual doom in Stalingrad.

George W. Bush's idee fixe is that Iraq is the primary battlefield in the war on terror.

This troubled man continues to believe that an ill-defined rinky-dink al Qaeda detachment in al Anbar province can take over Iraq, and then the entire middle east, like dominos falling in a line. Because of it, his speech contained mutually contradictory assumptions.

If newspaper reports are to be believed, the Iraq civil war is Shiites against Sunni. The Shiites easily outnumber al Qaeda and they are in control of the government of Iraq. No one sensible would think that such a large disparity in force would result in the triumph of al Qaeda in the Middle East, let alone Iraq. al Anbar province is probably even in doubt since there's no indication from the media that all the insurgents fighting there are in love with al Qaeda men.

Now DD takes a look at the escalation in force, which includes the dispatching of five brigades to Baghdad.

Does it make sense? Or is it more a dumb penny-packet drib-and-drabs approach, the kind the Fuhrer/OKW might have come up with when it was all downhill in WWII, everything lost.

The brigade as a task force is part of the current American army's modular approach to war. Take the tools out of the toolbox and put them together in a mix to solve the military problem posed. If the problem is unsolvable, that is not addressed.

The brigade is the smallest US military unit capable of being self-sustaining. There are three brigades per division -- sometimes one or two additional in special cases -- in the US military. The Baghdad escalation takes from five different American divisions, apparently, to achieve Bush's aims.

Normally, if armies wish to preserve the esprit de corps of units and work their organizational unity to the fullest, one dispatches divisions. In the Bush plan one could dispatch one or two divisions to Baghdad and achieve the same thing, instead of pulling apart units from various formations now at home in the United States (or in the case of the tabbed airborne brigade, in Kuwait) and playing to the local homefront interests that at least some of a division, based at a city somewhere in the US, will remain behind.

However, the current US military philosophy in Iraq uses brigades as individual task forces, presumably to stiffen the Iraqi "army" and do the block-by-block fighting when even that fails. As it does.

When the Wehrmacht was falling apart at the seams in WWII it became enamored of this tactic. By necessity it did so out of a lack of units, the insufficient size of the force for its tasks, and the need for relentlessly shifting reserves and fire brigades from front A to front B. They were called Kampfgruppen.

In any case, it is DD's impression that in Baghdad, one job was or is to fight and destroy Shiite militias and death squads to quell violence and that al Sadr's Mahdi Army will have to be engaged.

This is not fighting al Qaeda. It's a bit too complicated for DD to follow George W. Bush's logic about this as the key to the war on terror.

However, since the war on terror was so important to George W. Bush last night, where was the strategy for getting Osama bin Laden?

The guy who conducted the sneak attack on the US wasn't mentioned. The fellow who is the one easily graspable goal -- as someone to get and kill in the war on terror -- is absent from the strategy of OKDubya.

It's brilliant OKDubya strategy to send a Spectre gunship and an aircraft carrier task force to shoot at a small rabble in Somalia, perhaps to sink the al Qaeda navy -- rowboats, skiffs and sampans off the Horn of Africa, to use utterly repellent proxies once again -- Ethiopia!

But engage in a strategy with the American people to get Osama bin Laden?

Nah!

Intellectual exercise: Can you name any inspiring military leaders -- except the ones mentioned in the last two weeks as replacements in Iraq -- from the war on terror? Why not? Shouldn't we know who our heroes are?

Anything that can be done to prevent the OKDubya strategy from going forward in Iraq would be good, not bad, for our country.

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