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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
November 2002
Copyright © 2002, HDM Inc.

Done with Cessna 421C training:
POST-STRIKE REPORT

TAC DOCTRINE

War With Iraq – Never Mind Nation-Building

A great deal of discussion has taken place regarding what we should do about the leadership of Iraq if the war starts and, either by our actions or by someone else’s, Saddam Hussein is forced out as president of Iraq. Surely, the argument goes, if we do not install a western-friendly government in Iraq, someone—maybe a whole lot worse than Saddam—will take over and, someday, we’ll have to fight this new guy too.

Much discussion revolves around certain opposition groups inside Iraq taking charge. Some creative theories have even suggested that the King of Jordan—not coincidentally a new ally of the United States—take over leadership of Iraq due to the two countries’ historical ties.

What does this have to do with the war the United States must lead against Iraq, should it happen? Some argue that it has everything to do with it: some argue it is the most important planning consideration. How can you fight a war, they argue, unless you plan exactly what regime takes over after the fighting is over? Isn’t war pointless, they argue, unless every possible detail of the aftermath of the war is discussed, debated, planned, and executed?

AirBattleForce.com Skybird: Dale Brown’s Cameo Shot My answer: let’s do away with Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and Saddam’s regime, first—and then let’s worry about whom takes over.

Let’s remind everyone AGAIN: we are fighting a war, a real war against real enemies. We are not nation-building; we are not peacekeeping. We have a military mission to perform: go in, eliminate Saddam Hussein as a terrorist threat and as a threat to regional stability, search for and eliminate any weapons of mass destruction he might have, and get out.

What about the chore of eliminating Saddam Hussein himself, perhaps capturing him and making him stand trial for crimes against humanity—the intentional murder of his own citizens who happened to be Kurds? Should part of the U.S. military mission be the elimination of the Saddam Hussein and Ba’ath Party regime altogether? After all, so many politicians and commentators have criticized the previous Bush Administration for not invading Baghdad and “finishing the job.”

Again, we should be clear about our military objectives, and they should be clearly spelled out to the American people prior to the start of hostilities. Since the current President Bush has decided to allow the United Nations Security Council to set the timetable for the start (technically, the resumption) of hostilities, the president has some time to elucidate his plans…

… and in my opinion, the murder or even the ouster of Saddam Hussein should not be a stated military objective.

Surprised at that? I agree that Saddam is a murderous SOB that wouldn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to do something evil against the United States of America, even if it meant killing thousands of innocent men, women, and children; I have no doubt that Saddam has stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and is playing a grand “shell game” with the gutless United Nations Security Council and their weapons inspectors to hide their numbers and kinds.

But the United States military should not be in the business of killing national leaders. The military’s job is to defend the United States against attack. While it could certainly be said that killing or capturing Saddam would go a long way towards safeguarding the United States, the military’s job should not be to target one individual. It wasn’t so in any war we’ve ever fought, even against leaders whose record of cruelty and depravity is historical fact—Hitler, Goering, Hirohito, Tojo, Stalin.

As I outlined in previous newsletters, our military objective in the war against Iraq should be as follows:

  • 1)Reduce and/or eliminate Iraq’s air defense capabilities to ensure command of the skies, protection of all U.S. and allied personnel in the theater, and allow complete electronic surveillance of Iraq, including the search for mobile missile launchers and for escaping or retreating forces that later may prove to be a threat to U.S. forces;
  • 2)Reduce and/or eliminate the Republican Guard, Iraq’s elite military forces that protect Saddam’s regime, with the hope that Saddam’s regime will collapse without its protection and that regular and reserve Iraqi forces might surrender quicker;
  • 3)Reduce and/or eliminate all potential Iraqi military forces so that large-scale friendly military forces, intelligence operatives, and United Nations weapons inspectors and observers can be sent safely into Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction.
  • Period.

    Yes, we should take the fight right into Baghdad, even if it means engaging in dangerous urban warfare. Yes, we should bomb or destroy every so-called “palace,” even if it supposed to be some sort of Muslim holy site.

    But should we be targeting Saddam himself? Absolutely not. If he stays in power, he should be left with nothing but a shell of a military to support him; his oil fields and refineries should be in the hands of the United Nations, guarded by Americans. If he was smart, he’d ask for sanctuary from Syria, Jordan, Libya, or even Russia or Saudi Arabia—and the United States should probably allow that.

    Should we be supporting some Kurdish opposition groups or other anti-Saddam factions? That sounds like a losing proposition to me. The United States has never been very good at leaving a defeated country in the hands of unknown or unfamiliar forces. We must either be prepared to maintain a presence in Iraq, similar to Germany or Korea, or be prepared to lose Iraq completely to some other hostile force or faction.

    Which means one thing that many around the world will have to anticipate and accept—the bombardment and destruction of Baghdad and every other major city and military base in Iraq. American military forces train for military operations in “urban terrain,” but that doesn’t reduce the hazards of this type of warfare. Many cities in Germany, occupied France, South Korea, and Serbia were relentlessly bombed in order to make a land assault more effective, even if it put thousands of civilians at risk. Using precision- and near-precision-guided weapons, we have the capability of reducing collateral damage and the risks to non-combatants, but that risk can’t be completely eliminated.

    This war with Iraq will not be an easy one. We shouldn’t make it any more complicated than necessary by mixing political wishes in with important military objectives. Safeguarding the lives of our military forces by focusing our objectives to precisely those goals that will eliminate the immediate threat should be our one and only concern.

    Would I like to see the CIA make an attempt to form an Iraqi hit squad, perhaps led by one of Saddam’s closest military advisers or even a disgruntled family member? Yes, sir, I’d like to see that happen. But that’s not a military objective, but a political one. Different fighting force, different argument, different debate.

    Maybe the next newsletter…?

    Rights:
    Robert Gottlieb
    Trident Media Group
    (212) 262-4810

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    bparker@parkerinfo.com

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