[lit-ideas] Re: Willie Pete, well, okay, a little bit

  • From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 09:19:27 -0500

Here's something to read on the subject:

In interpreting the significance of the initial pictures of great numbers of Iraqi prisoners, reportedly thousands in the first two days, commentators indicated that the frontline Iraqi troops were cannon fodder: conscripts, who were poorly trained, unmotivated, and miserable after months in the harsh desert. They were poorly fed, though they did not appear to be starving, and had been subject to weeks of bombing and torment. It was certain that thousands of these Iraqi conscripts would surrender and it turned out that many of them were Shiite and Kurdish troops hardly eager to fight for the Hussein regime.

NARRATOR: Despite the devastating air campaign, Saddam Hussein still believed he could force a bloody stalemate on the ground, just as he had done in his war against Iran. And he believed that America, still traumatized by Vietnam, had a critical weakness.

BERNARD TRAINOR: Saddam Hussein was counting on Americans' aversion to casualties in support of his strategy, that when the Americans attacked, they would take so many casualties the American people would rise up and say, "This is not worth the effort" and "Let's see if we can't have a negotiated settlement" and he would end up with the fruits of his_ of his aggression. That was his strategy.

NARRATOR: For six months the Iraqis had prepared for the allied assault. Their front-line troops surrounded Kuwait behind a barrier of minefields, trenches and barbed wire. And in reserve, Saddam kept his elite Republican Guard and their Soviet tanks. Despite the bombing, Iraq still had about 400,000 soldiers positioned for battle.

Colin Powell: And in different ways the front line units were pretty much I think shattered by the time the ground war started. The second echelon units, a little bit better, heavier units, not quite devastated, and the Republican Guard further to the rear still capable of putting up some kind of fight.

One final point. The moral case for the coalition is enhanced when contrasted with how Iraq fought. Iraq held a large number of civilians hostage for an extended period of time, abused coalition prisoners, treated many Kuwaiti civilians cruelly, and executed others. They violated the rules of surrender at Kafji, sponsored two major ecological disasters, and, perhaps worst of all, tolerated horrendous casualties among their own troops for no apparent military purpose. If one seeks injustice in the war, it can easily be found in Iraqi behavior, not in the behavior of coalition forces.

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