April 20, 2003


'Every plan of Saddam a disaster' (SCOTT PETERSON AND PETER FORD, April 20, 2003, Chicago Sun Times)
As the capital still smolders, senior Iraqi officers are beginning to absorb the scale of their defeat--and examine what went wrong.

The day that Baghdad fell, April 9, is one that Iraqi army Maj. Saleh Abdullah Mahdi Al Jaburi remembers with shame.

''A military driver took me to my house in Tikrit,'' Jaburi recalls. ''As soon as I got home, I took my uniform off, went to my bedroom and stayed there for five days. I was so shocked.''

Faced with America's firepower and technological superiority, three Iraqi officers--who fought in different parts of Iraq--say they never expected to win this war. But they voice dismay at the number of Iraqi errors--deployment of militia groups instead of army units, for example--and at the effect of U.S. psychological operations.

Despite their anger, these men could prove to be the voice of a new professional Iraqi army that may emerge, with American assistance, in the aftermath of this conflict.

And they know whom to blame: Saddam Hussein and his sons Qusai and Odai made all key military decisions.

''We are already used to his mistakes from the Iran-Iraq war and Kuwait,'' said Col. ''Asaad,'' who asked that a pseudonym be used. ''Every plan of Saddam was a disaster.''

Iraqi armed forces had also never recovered from being pulverized in the 1991 Gulf War. ''You can't fight with what was left ... and this war was not just about what you learn at the military academy--it is technological, and we recognized that,'' Asaad said. ''The army believed that from the first bullet fired by the British in the south, it would lose.''

And so it came to pass. Jaburi, a lean and weary battalion commander with the Iraqi army's 2nd Infantry Division, knew defeat was inevitable.

''But we were expecting that the war would last longer than it did,'' he said. ''We were desperate when Baghdad fell so quickly. If we were not Muslims, we would have done like the Japanese and committed suicide, [but] ... our religion forbids it.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2003 10:20 AM

In one of his most recent missives, wasn't Osama recomending military tactics to his Iraqi brothers? Something about the covered trenches he heroically employed against the soviets, I believe. A dangerous, dangerous tactician, that Osama, particularly to other Arabs.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at April 20, 2003 3:06 PM
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