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General McCaffrey says battle of Bagdhad will be "dicey" risk of 3000 casualties

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posted on Mar, 24 2003 @ 10:34 PM

Allies Risk 3000 Casualties in Baghdad - Ex-General

Monday, March 24, 2003; 10:17 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S.-led force in Iraq risks as many as 3,000 casualties in the battle for Baghdad and Washington has underestimated the number of troops needed, a top former commander from the 1991 Gulf War said on Monday.

Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division 12 years ago, said the U.S.-led force faced "a very dicey two to three day battle" as it pushes north toward the Iraqi capital.

"We ought to be able to do it (take Baghdad)," he told the Newsnight Program on Britain's BBC Television late on Monday.

"In the process if they (the Iraqis) actually fight, and that's one of the assumptions, clearly it's going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties," said McCaffrey who became one of the most senior ranking members of the U.S. military following the 1991 war

posted on Mar, 25 2003 @ 11:58 AM
That sounds like a realistic evaluation to me; Iíve been concerned about coalition troops entering Baghdad for a couple of days now. Iím very troubled by the over estimation of how effective the ìShock & Aweî propaganda campaign would cause Iraqi troops to surrender in droves. We arenít seeing that, in fact, just the opposite.

Itís beginning to look like the U.S. led coalition is being sucked into another Viet Nam type situation. Whether the Iraqi people are fighting willingly, or with guns to their backs ñ they are still resisting, and using guerrilla tactics very effectively. Each day the Iraqiís confidence grows and having some farmer shoot down an Apache with a rifle is embarrassing, not to mention a great psychological boost to the Iraqiís.

Iím beginning to become uncomfortable with the coalition troops stretching their supply and re-enforcement lines so thin also. Iíve been wondering if the Iraqiís arenít drawing us in and may try to out flank us and mount an attack from the rear, as well as front. How long until the 60 odd ships with fresh troops and equipment arrives from Turkey?

Iíve been wondering why Saddam is holding his missiles and jet fighters back; I figured it was to defend Baghdad. Itís now being reported that Saddam may be planning to use his jets to spray chemical agents over the coalition troops. That would be a disastrous situation because they are in a hostile country, hundreds of miles from safety and would in effect be surrounded by enemy forces ñ while trying to deal with chemical & conventional warfare. Is this why Saddam has appeared so confident all this time?

I donít understand why we havenít been hitting the Republican Guard with everything weíve got, from day one! I realise that General Tommy Franks doesnít want a massive civilian death toll & to preserve the Iraqi infrastructure - but how do we deal with Iraqi troops who put on civilian clothes, blend into the crowd and then suddenly attack us? The news today showed a 60mm mortar that was confiscated from an Iraqi civilian.

Iím also concerned that Americanís are becoming grandiose by constantly hearing that we possess overwhelming firepower and could easily dominate other nations. Imagine what North Koreanís might be thinking watching this on their TVs. Itís sending a very dangerous message to all the countries that despise the United Sates and Britain.

The report that Russia has shipped electronic jamming gear, anti-tank weapons and night vision goggles demonstrates their contempt for America and willingness to undermine our efforts in Iraq. Each day this drags on, enemies of America are becoming more & more emboldened to mount their own attacks and reprisals.

War is a dirty business, and if thatís the business that the U.S. Administration has decided to enter ñ then it needs to get the job done. Innocent civilians can flee Baghdad before we turn it into a smoking crater if necessary (hopefully not). The way things are going, the coalition looks a bit inept and demoralized at present, despite that the spin doctors are saying. To hear that weíre right on our ìtime lineî sounds ludicrous to me, because no time line was ever given in advance. Tommy Frankís may wish to reconsider his strategy and remove the kid gloves ñ this is no picnic weíre in over there.

Get the job done Tommy & bring our troops home,

posted on Mar, 25 2003 @ 12:14 PM
I think it's way too early to say that... That 3000 estimate sounds extremely overblown to me... I'd say more like 200-300, (and that's on the high side).

You think the allied commanders are going to state their "timeline"? The "farmers" in question are likely Iraqi military in civilian clothes (haven't seen that trick before, huh?). Our current casualties are still insanely low for the forces involved, but for some reason, THAT isn't what's being harped on...instead, you hear reports of every single little loss, which is grossly misleading from the big picture.

posted on Mar, 25 2003 @ 08:09 PM
First off, let me clarify what I meant by Viet Nam type of situation. I am referring to the enemy forces dressing as civilians and blending in with non-combatants, whilst using guerrilla tactics.

About Baghdad: I've never been there but a report on British TV today said that Baghdad is roughly the same size as Los Angeles. I lived in Los Angeles for 45 years and know what a massively sprawling city it is. Just thinking of occupying a city of that size is mind boggling. Considering that the elite Republican Guard knows every street, building, alley & tunnel, and that coalition forces are strangers would make street to street fighting a real quagmire. Having a couple of million civilians in between fighting would work against the coalition, but for the defenders. I seriously doubt taking Baghdad would be a simple or easy task, given the fanaticism of Saddamís best fighters. Also most of the general population is armed and intent on defending Saddam and Baghdad, so the same people who are buying food in the market or walking down the street, may also be the same oneís who are sniping from their rooftops later. Because of Americaís technological advantage, the Iraqiís are resorting to the same tactics that the Vietnamese did. Possessing less effective weapons they are using the tools they do have and conducting warfare of deceit, trickery and entrapment. Itís been an effective ploy for them so far and that may well convince itís their best strategy for keeping coalition forces off guard and on edge. If they begin using suicide bombers amongst our troops, that would be another level of threat to be vigilant against. The mental energy that it takes to assess every single person as a potential threat & be ready to react, could really wear the troops down over time causing great mental fatigue.

About the downed U.S. Apache helicopter: I agree that it looked in remarkably good shape to have been forced down, and that more then likely was a mechanical failure & not the result of a farmers rifle shot. But, the psychological impact of that image of Iraqi farmers (soldiers) surrounding the Apache rejoicing & waving their guns makes a very powerful imprint on the collective consciousness of the Iraqi people. If an Iraqi kills or captures an American, they are promised a cash reward of thousands of dollars. To down a helicopter is an even bigger feather in their cap. For the average poor / starving Iraqi, to have the chance to become suddenly wealthy (by Iraqi standards), and a hero, would be a powerful incentive to take every opportunity to shoot at anything even resembling coalition forces. In their frame of reference, they may have everything to gain and nothing to lose ñ like when I spend a pound to buy a lottery ticket.

I agree that our casualties have been low and collateral damage to civilians and Iraqi infrastructure has been kept to a minimum. That is an amazing testimony to strategic targeting and GPS guidance ordinance. I hope it continues and the loss of life, both Iraqi and coalition is kept to a minimum ñ but fighting street to street & house to house changes the rules of engagement dramatically.

I sincerely hope your assessment is accurate and things go according to plan in Baghdad. But I am of the mindset that itís foolish to ever underestimate any opponent, and like how King David thought. He once challenged one of his generals by asking ìWhy do you speak as though you were taking your armour off, whilst putting it onî.

Food for thought,

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