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[casi] Explicit recognition of US use of UN intelligence etc

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Most interesting are two paragraphs that state quite bluntly that intelligence gathered by 
inspectors is to be used by the US for the invasion and also that the no-fly zones have been used 
as a means for pounding defence and communications facilities.
    Interesting that comments such as this can be made without even a hint that this makes hash of 
any idea that the UN is 'fair' or even concerned with legality..It is amazing to me that so many 
people think that the invasion would be OK if it had UN sanction!

Cheers, Ken Hanly

The Dividends of Delay
Allies' foot-dragging has strengthened U.S. war strategy
By William M. Arkin
William M. Arkin is a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for
Opinion. E-mail: warkin@igc .org.

February 23, 2003

SOUTH POMFRET, Vt. -- Thanks to France and Germany, to Turkey and NATO, to
Saudi Arabia, the United Nations and protesters worldwide, when war with
Iraq comes, the United States will have a far better battle plan and a
more realistic political strategy than it had before all the
unpleasantness began.

Gone is reliance on Iraqi exiles to fight as "proxies." Abandoned is the
initial design of an armored force driving straight for urban Baghdad.
Rejected are dreams of quick victory through air power or exotic weapons.
Vanished are the visions of another Afghanistan, with CIA and special
operations forces carrying the day.

Since the first contingency plans for Iraq were drafted last spring, the
U.S. military has vastly improved its design for war. And much of that
improvement comes from the extra time afforded by the procession of
diplomatic miscues and setbacks.

What is more, though hawks in the administration have been driven mad by
the real world's defiance of their unilateralism, eight months of delay
may turn out to have moved the United States onto stronger political
ground as well.

It wasn't supposed to have been this way.

Senior administration officials admit a lot of cold water has been thrown
in their faces over the last six months. Some insist that diplomatic
accommodations have been a mistake and that the U.S. military has been
weakened. But these hawks fail to appreciate the degree to which
additional time has permitted serious errors to be rectified in both war
planning and political strategy.

Originally, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) called for 250,000
soldiers, five full divisions of heavy armor and mechanized infantry,
driving "up the middle" from Kuwait against Iraqi forces.

Over the last eight months, planners have shifted to a strategy embodied
in the current buzzword "simultaneity." The Army's institu- tional impulse
to play a dominant role and prove its future worth has given way to an
approach that emphasizes air, ground and special forces working in unison
to achieve a more subtle effect.

By linking massive airstrikes with ground operations, planners hope to
achieve several objectives. Their goal is to show the Iraqi populace and
the Iraqi military that the United States is deadly serious about total
victory. They intend to banish any notion that Washington expects to
defeat the regime solely from the air or on the cheap, and thus might be
deflected by the prospect of heavy casualties or urban combat.

Faced with simultaneous air attacks and ground operations, together with
psychological warfare and special operations, a CENTCOM planner says, key
elements in Iraqi society may reconsider their options. Senior Iraqi
officers, the conscript troops in the regular army and/or the civilian
population might rise up against the regime and its Republican Guard.

Such an uprising, supported by U.S. forces, could obviate the need for
American soldiers to write the final chapter of the war in the streets of

America's plan for war in Iraq is now what could be called a Muhammad Ali
strategy, to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." It will threaten
Baghdad from many directions and in many ways simultaneously. Powerful
blows to the head will be delivered by a mind-boggling number of
precision-guided weapons. Meantime, flexible ground operations will
overload Iraqi defenses with more threats than they can handle. Though the
news media continue to report whole "divisions" being sent to the region,
the actual deployments are more selective -- an assortment of units from
inside those divisions, each chosen for its particular capabilities. And
many of the units will be used in far more varied and flexible ways than
in the past.

As an example, although the media report the 82nd Airborne Division
deploying from Ft. Bragg, N.C., in fact, only one of the division's three
regiments -- the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment -- is slated for Iraq.
The second regiment of the 82nd is in Afghanistan; the third has just
returned from there. The single brigade-size unit can parachute deep into
Iraq to set up a forward operating base.

Similarly, the 3rd Infantry Division, a traditional mechanized unit, is
being supplemented to increase its flexibility.

The addition of Task Force 11th Aviation regiment, a composite brigade
that consolidates attack and transport helicopters from Germany, as well
as the new Apache Longbow chopper from Texas, transforms the division into
a far more mobile force.

The central element of any war will be the deployment of forces deep
inside Iraqi territory.

Meanwhile, months of delay have brought tangible benefits for U.S.
military units as they prepared for war.

First, the support base and the command and control setups are much
stronger today than planners anticipated a few months ago.

Second, constant bombing in the southern no-fly zone has significantly
degraded Iraqi air defenses and communications networks; the bombing has
also created pockets inside the country that are isolated from Baghdad.
Iraqi forces themselves are weakened and immobilized, psychologically
battered by the tensions of the yearlong stand-off.

Finally, American intelligence has benefited enormously from the work of
the United Nations inspectors. They have visited hundreds of factories and
military bases, including the Iraqi missile force, indirectly updating
U.S. target folders and verifying where weapons of mass destruction are
not being hidden.

Testifying before Congress on Feb. 12, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
stated for the first time the most significant grand strategy change that
has developed as America has tried to convince its Arab partners to
support the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

When the war is over, Powell said, "We'll be able to change the presence
levels of American troops throughout [the] region in the absence of a
threatening regime like Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

In other words, the administration now accepts the fact that the permanent
presence of U.S. military forces in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf
breeds terrorism and resentment.

According to a senior military officer, the administration is loath to
commit itself publicly to withdrawing the majority of its forces and
reshaping the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf after Hussein is gone. But
a secret promise to do so has prompted virtually all the neighboring
states to offer at least tacit support for military action.

Jordan has restarted its clandestine support, opening the way for special
operations from its soil and air operations across its skies. Though use
of the U.S. air command center at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Riyadh had
been a bone of contention, Saudi Arabia has not only given its approval
but it is quietly allowing the buildup of offensive air units on its soil.
Meanwhile Qatar is letting the U.S. use an important air base and will be
the center for the thousand-strong CENTCOM forward headquarters and the
hundreds of news media representatives who will report from the region.

How the war plan will unfold, Powell told Congress, "will depend, frankly,
on the resistance that is put up by Iraqi forces. It might collapse
quickly [or] it may be a more prolonged conflict, particularly if you get
into some sort of siege situation in Baghdad."

>From its cocksure initial beliefs, the administration has gained a
textured appreciation of the risks of war, and of the importance of a
clear outcome. Sparing the Iraqi infrastructure from destruction is not a
sign of a "timid" plan, as some complain. It is part of the new
determination to pave the way for as quick an exit as possible.

"The plans that we are looking at for the after[math]," Powell said,
"would include using the institutions that are there but purged of Saddam
Hussein's cohorts, and build on what's there and put in place a new
government, and get out as fast as we can."

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