Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Falilure in Generalship

Photo: Failed French General Maurice Gamelin

A friend on a political discussion board posted this article by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling and I just had to post it here.

A Falilure in Generalship


Having spent a decade preparing to fight the wrong war, America's generals then miscalculated both the means and ways necessary to succeed in Iraq. The most fundamental military miscalculation in Iraq has been the failure to commit sufficient forces to provide security to Iraq's population. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) estimated in its 1998 war plan that 380,000 troops would be necessary for an invasion of Iraq. Using operations in Bosnia and Kosovo as a model for predicting troop requirements, one Army study estimated a need for 470,000 troops. Alone among America's generals, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki publicly stated that "several hundred thousand soldiers" would be necessary to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq. Prior to the war, President Bush promised to give field commanders everything necessary for victory. Privately, many senior general officers both active and retired expressed serious misgivings about the insufficiency of forces for Iraq. These leaders would later express their concerns in tell-all books such as "Fiasco" and "Cobra II." However, when the U.S. went to war in Iraq with less than half the strength required to win, these leaders did not make their objections public.

I'll do more commentary later as I'm still digesting much of what Yingling writes, but this piece just has that quality that screams TRUTH and is a must read.


Added the Maurice Gamelin photo as I am reminded of him.

Gustave-Maurice Gamelin

Gamelin's failures to respond to German aggression directly led to his own country being invaded. Relying overly much on the Maginot Line, he was caught by surprise when the German invaders bypassed the line and attacked through the "impenetrable" Ardennes forest. To make matters worse, he was at best unfamiliar with modern mobile warfare. His mindset was (as with many other prominent world military leaders, of course) that of WW1. "Combat tanks are machine to accompany the infantry", he said to his officers. "In battle, tank units constitute an integral part of the infrantry.... Tanks are only supplementary means.... The progress of the infantry and its seizing of objectives are alone decisive." He was similarly unprepared to deal with the German aerial attacks. "There is no such thing as the aerial battle", he told the French air forces only even after seeing the success of the Luftwaffe in Poland, "there is only the battle on the ground."

I doubt that the US generals were so inept as Gamelin, but rather simialr to those of Gamelin's subordinates who saw past his limited vision but kept their silence with disasterous consequences. Only Rumsfeld deserves to be compared to Gamelin himself.

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