Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | March 29, 2003

War status update 3/29

Funny how this war has turned everyone into logisticians...

US Central Command has ordered an "operational pause" of up to a week in order to allow supply lines to catch up to the spearhead. In the interim, US warplanes will continue to hit the rubble of the empty presidential palace again and again.

There has been much talk about the great logistical feat of moving an three entire divisions almost 300 miles into enemy territory in just a week. Perhaps. But those divisions are now dead in the water.

Another concern is the supply lines carrying what Maj. Dave Nathanson, a logistics officer with the Marines' Seventh Regimental Combat Team, called "the big four chow, water, ammunition and fuel." That supply line stretches back past the Kuwaiti border, stalled by congestion as well as ambushes. Sergeants have told marines in a number of units to cut back to only one daily combat ration, the infamous M.R.E., for Meal, Ready to Eat.
3 ID is stalled by lack of fuel and our soldiers are not getting enough to eat? Plan A required 3 ID to drive to the outskirts of Baghdad, where the presence of the American behemoth would inspire popular revolts and lots of little American flags would be waived in joyous welcome to the American inva - er - liberators.

Time for Plan B.

The Marines have never fought this far inland in their entire existance. Indeed, their entire existence is predicated on storming beaches. Their equipment refects that -- light amphibious armor, able to drive off landing ships and up a sandy beach. But in Iraq, the Marines demanded a piece of the action, and the Pentagon acceeded.

Now, hundreds of miles inland, the Marines are forced to manage a supply line the likes of which they have never had to deal with.

Their lightly armored vehicles are getting chewed up by Iraq mortars and RPGs -- leading to higher casualties than might otherwise be the case if an Army division was taking Nasiriyah.

That's not to say that Army soldiers are somehow better. Marines are by far tougher than the average Army soldier. Rather, it's a question of equipment, and the Army has the heavy armor necessary to handle Iraqi irregulars while taking as few casualties as possible.

Command and Control
We've been told over and over again about Iraq's inability to commuinicate with its troops. Yet we're seeing determined and organized operations by Iraqi soldiers.

"There is an organized pattern of resistance," Brig. Gen. John Kelly, assistant commander of the First Marine Division, said today of the mounting attacks by Iraqi irregulars. "They are sent out to do this with the express purpose of slowing us down.
This is the culmination of Saddam's promise to decentralize defending forces. Saddam doesn't have to give orders for Iraqi forces to organize raids and harrass invading forces.

Posted March 29, 2003 08:12 AM | Comments (71)


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