March 02, 2003

War Plans The WaPo has

War Plans

The WaPo has the most definitive account I've seen yet:

"The framework that has emerged calls for a war that would be remarkably different from anything the U.S. military has done. It aims to combine the armored fist of the tank-heavy 1991 Persian Gulf War with the speed of the overnight 1989 U.S. takeover of Panama and the precision bombing of the 2001 U.S. campaign in Afghanistan. One sign of the innovative nature of the plan is that, without much public notice, its first phase is already underway. Special Operations troops are executing missions inside Iraq to prepare the way for later attacks. U.S. and British warplanes ostensibly enforcing the "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq have increased the number and intensity of airstrikes, and recently expanded their list of targets to include Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles. They were attacked, defense officials said, not because they were in the "no-fly" zones and threatened U.S. aircraft but because they were in range of U.S. troops mustering just over the border in Kuwait. "We've already got a lot of stuff underway -- the air campaign, psychological operations, Special Ops," said Robert Andrews, a former Pentagon official who oversaw Special Operations activities."

And in a little noticed aspect of this story:

"While the Army and some Marines will move north, the British will split off to occupy Basra and the oil fields near it, said people familiar with the plan. For that purpose, said a U.S. official in Kuwait, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit will likely be assigned to a British command. Putting a large U.S. unit under foreign command in combat apparently has not occurred since World War II, when British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery commanded large numbers of U.S. Army troops. As such, it is likely to carry much symbolic meaning, rewarding British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his close support of Bush's Iraq policy by evoking the close ties forged between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill."

So, the French for the first time since the Suez Crisis in 1956 might cast their veto in the UNSC against a U.S. policy objective. Meanwhile, a British commander will be the first since Bernard Montgomery in WWII to oversee U.S. troops in combat. I'd rather be on Tony Blair's side of the issue than Jacques Chirac's. So too, it appears, do an increasing number of French politicians when it comes to the veto issue.

Posted by Gregory at March 2, 2003 04:23 PM
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