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The Need for "Desert Storm II" U.S. ground forces, on the other hand, would make a decisive difference in a war to unseat the butcher of Baghdad. Indeed, many Iraqi units might well change sides and move against Saddam if they saw a massive army coming to get them. At the moment many of the commanders of these units are loyal to Saddam only out of fear for their lives. But if they com to understand that their survival depends on distancing themselves from Saddam, their brittle loyalty to him could well crack. It is unlikely to crack in the face of opposition forces alone, led by rival ethnic groups who would likely exact retribution on Saddam's commanders if they were somehow able to prevail on the battlefield. Under these circumstances, the United States and any willing military partners would need a force large enough to defeat Iraq's military unit by unit if necessary, while eventually also establishing order throughout Baghdad and perhaps other cities as well. Military targets would include command and control infrastructure needed to maintain control of the country, other major military assets such as bases, marshaling yards, and equipment depots, major public buildings, utilities, and of course Saddam himself as well as his palace guard. They would also have to include the main military forces of the Iraqi state, which could otherwise mount counterattacks against U.S.-led troops even after the invading armies had wrested control of the country from the ruling regime. In the initial phase, American forces would target Saddam's Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard, together about 100,000 strong, while trying to convince Saddam's other 300,000 forces and 650,000 military reservists not to resist. If such a strategy were successful, only a few tens of thousands of American forces might ultimately see combat; in the best case scenario, Iraqi resistance might quickly crumble even in the ranks of the Republican and Special Republican guards. But the United States could not size its forces or develop its war plans based on that assumption, since Iraqi forces will only collapse if they are convinced of the inevitability of their defeat." What Bases Would Be Needed?
This type of operation could not be done without substantial access to foreign military bases. Some have suggested otherwise, claiming for example that the United States could mount an operation by flying forces directly into western Iraq. However, this idea makes little military sense. U.S. airlift could deploy and sustain at most two divisions and their direct support, or perhaps 50,000 to 75,000 troops in all--and neither of these divisions could be particularly heavy with armor (U.S. airlift would only be adequate to deploy and sustain about one heavy division in this way). The fact remains that the only way to confidently defeat Saddam is by deploying a large armored force to the region by sealift and then mounting an operation that would in many ways resemble Desert Storm. The United States would require significant base access to carry out this type of operation. Indispensable would be facilities in Kuwait and Turkey—the former to
provide air bases and permit deployment of the main armored forces for her notreet march on Baghdad, the latter for enough airfields to help protect Kost poptos and forces during the war. Ideally, Bahrain would also allow the United States D continue to use its 5* fleet headquarters based there. But the requirements woud also include air bases in at least one or two other Guif she kdoms. More air bases would be needed due to the need to field up to 1.000 combat jets in the region (the Kosovo war, by way of comparison, required nearly that many against a much smaller country and enemy military). In rough terms, fielding 1.000 concet jets. plus associated support aircraft such as refueling and electronic warfare pares, as we! as airlifters, would require at least 15 airfields and quite possibly 20 or more. Were Saudi Arabia to provide its facilities, the problem would be essentially solved. Absent Saudi access, however, the United States would have to find that number of airfields in Turkey, Kuwait, other small Gulf countries, and its own aircraft carriers. Even the United States used 4 to 6 carriers, and even factoring in two to three bases in both Kuwait and Turkey, the United States would still need at least half a dozen other facilities and perhaps a dozen. Most of the smaller Gulf states have two to four long. paved sunways, though the United Arab Emirates possesses eight (for comparison's sake, Saudi Arabia owns 31). So if Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates each provided two airfields, or if a subset of those countries each provided three to four, the problem should be solvable especially if Saudi Arabia would permit overflights of its territory, since otherwise bottlenecks in air traffic could occur at the northern end of the Persian Gulf. But the operation would still be difficult since most of these bases are not nearly as well developed or stocked with fuel, munitions, and spare parts as are Saudi facilities. Clearly, Riyadh's active support for an invasion of Iraq, while not absolutely indispensable, would be enormously desirable on both political and military grounds. This is one more reason why the president's 9/12 strategy of working through the United Nations it possible is so sound, since it vastly improves the odds of Saudi assistance should we have to go to war.
IV. CAN WE FIGHT IRAQ WHILE PURSUING AL QAEDA?
An important policy question in regard to a possible war to overthrow Saddam Hussein concerns the timing of any such effort Some suggest that, while they might be willing to support an invasion of Iraq under certain conditions, now is not the time given the urgent priority of defeating the terrorist organization that attacked the United States on September 11. There may be international political reasons not to go to war against Iraq anytime soon. For example, countries unhappy about a war against Iraq may reduce intelligence cooperation with the United States for the war on terror. However, in military terms at least, I do not believe that the U.S. military would have great difficulty in waging both wars at once. The U.S. military, we have been told for a decade, is sized and structured to fight two major wars at once. Each conflict has been expected to require up to 500,000 American troops. The Bush administration has recently determined such a goal may have been
impractical, but still claims the capability to wage one such all-out war and a second major operation perhaps half as big. In all, that could involve about 750,000 U.S. troops in combat.
By comparison, today's demands are modest, and they would remain well within our capabilities even if we went to war against Saddam. Operations in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf together now require about 60,000 American personnel; the ongoing commitments in the Balkans involve another 10,000; smaller missions of various types in the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen and the Sinai add fewer than another 10,000. Post9/11 security measures at military bases around the world might involve 50,000 more troops. Adding in 250,000 Gls to overthrow Saddam, all war-related deployments combined would involve about 400,000 troops—a substantial number, to be sure, but only about half the total we are supposed to be able to deploy at once. A more detailed military analysis leads to the same conclusion. Consider:
Main Combat Forces
We have enough to deploy 250,000 troops, including four to five ground combat divisions and 12 to 15 air combat wings, to the Persian Gulf. Today's U.S. military has 13 active-duty divisions (10 in the Army, three in the Marine Corps). Less than one full division is presently involved in the Afghanistan campaign; less than one is in the Balkans, small pieces of other divisions are deployed elsewhere. That leaves more than 10 divisions available. Even after excluding the Army's Second Infantry Division in South Korea, the Korea-oriented 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, and the Pacificoriented Third Marine Force in Okinawa, we would have more than ample ground troops to overthrow Saddam and occupy Iraq.
A similar conclusion holds for air power. There are 20 tactical fighter wings in the Air Force, 11 in the Navy, and three in the Marine Corps. Of that grand total, only about 10 would be unavailable based on existing commitments in the Western Pacific and Afghanistan. And the dozen bombers that have typically flown over Afghanistan constitute just 10% of total U.S. capability.
Key Support Forces
Certain critical forces, ranging from aerial tankers to transport aircraft to special operations units to unmanned aerial vehicles, have been heavily used in Afghanistan. But even at its peak, Afghanistan did not place higher demands on most of these support capabilities than would a so-called major theater war. And today the tempo of operations is less than half what it once was, while allied combat forces are providing considerable help in the ongoing search for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. The U.S. military today owns some 600 refueling aircraft, of which more than 400 are airworthy at present. They have been heavily used in Afghanistan. But they are presently flying fewer than 50 sorties a day in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Most would be available should the bell toll for Saddam.
not make major progress towards a nuclear weapons capability. That is the one major WMD capability he does not now possess, and it is the type that could probably cause the most damage to western interests if he did possess it. Hence, an inspections regime that reliably prevented Iraq from obtaining a nuclear capability would in my judgment be acceptable, even if it could not absolutely guarantee elimination of all of his chemical and biological weapons.
Iraq must come into compliance with all U.N. disarmament demands and other requirements imposed on it after the Persian Gulf War, including but hardly limited to
the immediate return of U.N. inspectors.
Iraq, including presidential palaces and compounds, at any time and without notice.
There is a chance Saddam will accept this ultimatum and allow the return of the
VI. CAN DETERRENCE WORK AGAINST SADDAM?
Is Saddam Hussein deterrable, and does containment thus provide an alternative to war, especially if rigorous weapons inspections and disarmament can again be