Monday, October 18, 2004

Catching up on the weekend's reading

This weekend's must-read comes from Ron Suskind, in the New York Times Magazine, Without a Doubt, on how George Bush's faith has influenced his managerial style. Read the whole thing.

From the Week in Review comes this article on "the inevitable legal challenges" to the upcoming vote, Imagining the Danger of 2000 Redux. There have been numerous reports of attempts at voter suppression across the country and the dangers of manipulation of electronic voting. I can't link to them all here, but you can find them. This month's (November) issue of Harper's Magazine has several important articles about the issue (not available on their website, nor through the library's databases yet).

See also today's Times front page story As Election Nears, Parties Begin Another Round of Legal Battles

There was also this unbelievable article from Knight-Ridder New Services, Post-war planning non-existent, which begins:
WASHINGTON - In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.
To Be Provided, indeed. I am still waiting.

Finally, Phil Carter at Intel-Dump, a very knowledgeable and non-partisan military analysis site, links to an article in the L.A. Times called Army Trainers to Become Fighters in Iraq: The elite Black Horse Regiment, a California fixture for 10 years, will hand over its duties at Ft. Irwin to National Guard troops and adds this observation:
The article misses the most important point: deploying the OPFOR is like eating your seed corn. This unit is responsible for training other units and raising their level of expertise and combat readiness. The 11th ACR is being replaced by a National Guard unit. That's like replacing the Dodgers with a high school baseball team. Sure, they can both play baseball and wear the uniform — but one is a whole lot more proficient and experienced at its job. The OPFOR has a reputation as a tough enemy, and that's a good thing because it forces units training at the NTC to become better themselves. By replacing this unit with National Guard troops, the Army has hurt its ability to produce good units for Iraq in the future. Suffice to say, National Guard and active units that go through Fort Irwin aren't going to get the same tough experience they would have with the Blackhorse regiment as OPFOR — and that means they'll be less ready for combat when they get to Iraq. This is a desperation measure, and I think the Army will come to regret it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A good example of ignorance of Military Affairs, I suggest you look closer at sources for this since the National Guard unit replacing OPFOR (1st Squadron, 221st Cavalry and 1st Battalion, 180th Field Artillery) has trained with and provided troop rotations with the 11th ACR since 1995. Both units are capable of training US troops and no troop rotation will cause much greater strain. It seems Mr. Carter is lacking when it comes to Military Affairs and I think some men from the 1-222st and 1-180th would like a word with him outside about being a high school baseball team.

Steve Powers