More Iraqi War Analysis
I wrote my friend on Friday, March 28, 2003 to give some observations for the days to come. I'll update this in about a week to see how things have unfolded.
The road ahead...
1. Clearly, the British need to gain control of Basra. This will take several days at least and maybe a week.
2. The US has to secure its long supply line. If reports of supply problems are true that is priority number one and there will not be a big battle this weekend that some news outlets are forecasting. Franks must resist any political pressures to make an attack on Baghdad sooner rather than later. The welfare of his troops must be paramount.
3. With clear weather for the next several days forcasted, air efforts will shift heavily to hitting the Republican guard units south of Baghdad.
4. Chemical weapons... the great unknown.... my fear is that Hussein will order their use. If the winds ever completely quiet down, he will fire them at coalition forces. His calculation is that what can the Coalition do if he uses them?
If they don't work -- the MOP suits protect US troops as well as they are designed to -- then the coalition is going to be under pressure not to retailiate to an infective use of the nerve gases.
If they work, he kills thousands of troops and what can the US really do in retaliation? Will the US use tactical nuclear weapons in retaliation? probably not. Will the US firebomb Baghdad? I don't think so. Would the anti-war demonstrators in Europe stop demonstrating if Hussein uses his chemicals? Would Arab support for Hussein go down if he uses chemicals? It is almost a no-lose situation for the Baathists to use them.
5. Bush and Blair strongly emphasized at Camp David that this is going to take time and will be difficult. This message will continue to be sent at every public statement.