Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, April 07, 2003

Not enough boots on the ground? This claim has bothered me since the start of this. What exactly would 300,000 more troops have done? Would they have gotten to Bghdad faster? Would the supply line not have had small groups of stragglers that got attacked by death squads? More forces would have allowed us to stop along the way and attempt to capture some of the cities that were by passed instead. But this was not part of the plan. Once we reached Baghdad the other cities became much easier. And siege warfare is not the order of the day. Look at how Basra, Karbala, Nasiriyah and Najaf have fallen. There was some hard fighting but, what would twice as many troops have meant in each of those battles? It would have taxed already tight supply lines and subtracted from the humanitarian aid that we are bringing into these places to show that we come as liberators. I think it is very clear that too many boots on the ground would have slowed down the advance, drained supplies, added more troops in the supply line to become targets of opportunity for terrorists, resulted in wider ranging battles in the cities that have fallen which could have resulted in more civilian casualties (helping to anger the people of Iraq) and would have been more of a hinderance than a boon.

Besides Patton, the most similar campaign historically is Shermans March to the Sea. He could have gone in with twice the troops but knew it would not have made his move any easier. Instead he pared his forces down to the smallest feasible size and marched into history. Lots of politicians and military officers thought it was a terrible move and would end in disaster. There were dire warnings that all 60,000 thousand would be lost and that Hood would be able to recapture Atlanta and move north. When Sherman appeared in Savannah, the backbone of the Confederacy had been broken. Similarly, I predict, that when history looks back at this campaign the amazingly rapid appearance of American troops at the gates of Baghdad will be seen as the pivotal moment of the war.

< email | 4/07/2003 04:08:00 PM | link

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