Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Biddle on Iraq

In Defense News:

The conventional assumption that speed and precision weapons allowed U.S. forces to rapidly defeat the Iraqi Army in early 2003 demands reassessment in light of the large numbers of close combat battles fought by invading U.S. forces against unbroken Iraqi defenders, a U.S. Army War College expert said.

During a Nov. 2 Army War College conference, “U.S. Military Operations in Iraq: Planning, Combat and Occupation,” Stephen Biddle said all of the Iraqi cities were defended along the U.S. Army’s line of advance, which forced commitment of the American reserve, the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions, to clear the cities and secure the transportation routes.

Biddle said the Iraqis’ poor fighting skills and inadequate defenses, particularly in the cities, allowed U.S. forces to exploit their armored protection and precision firepower. He believes the same tactics employed by American ground forces, armored raids inside Baghdad, likely would have resulted in much higher casualties against a more determined and better prepared foe.

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