Tuesday | March 25, 2003
Why weren't the bridges blown?
I've been wrestling with this question for days -- why haven't the Iraqis blown the bridges over the Euphrates? It would be Military Tactics 101, a way to slow the invader. And remember, time is Saddam's greatest weapon. The longer the US and UK are bogged down in combat, the greater the chance public opinion will turn decisively against them. Friendly Arab governments may collapse, or force to withdraw their support to protect their regimes.
And, of course, there's the hope that increased casualties and prospects of a quagmire will embolden the US peace movement and precipitate a quicker withdrawl of US forces.
So why not blow the bridges? It would buy Iraq at least a day or two as the US bridged the river. The top theory:
"Normally, bridges would be blown to stop invaders, which raises the possibility that the Iraqis may want to entice the US ground forces into the plains between the Tigris and Euphrates and then flood the area."Such tactics were used in the Iran/Iraq War, so they are nothing new to Saddam, and would pose some serious challenges to the invaders:
Thousands of Iraqis could be displaced, adding to congestion on roads and requiring extensive humanitarian support.The theory is as good as any, but it still doesn't answer my original question. Iraq could've blown the bridges, forced the US to build river crossings, and then blown the dams.
I've got no answer.