- BAGHDAD -- U.S. military
sources said combat units have failed to develop effective tactics required
to defeat the insurgency in Iraq.
- The Abu Dhabi-based Gulf News reported that senior officers
from the 82nd Airborne Division have criticized leading military planners
for their force protection tactics.
- "The result has been a lack of mobility and failure
to surprise," a military source said. "By the time, we arrive
at an insurgency stronghold, half the city knows about it."
- The failed U.S. military tactics are based on a strategy
for force protection that require the use of armored fortresses, heavy
vehicles, heavy weapons and large forces to withstand insurgency attacks,
Middle East Newsline reported.
- The sources said U.S. commanders have overruled junior
and mid-level officers who advocate the development of streamlined light
combat units to initiate stealthy attacks on insurgents. They said the
commanders have also refused to allow troops to enter Iraqi communities
without heavy vehicles and weapons.
- "The problem is that we all sit around in our bases
and just wait for them to come and blow us up," another officer said.
"It didn't used to be like that. We used to go out and take the fight
to them. I can only think that someone in the Pentagon is scared of what
will happen if we start taking casualties."
- More than 1,400 American soldiers have been killed in
Iraq since the U.S. invasion of March 2003.
- In many cases, the sources said, U.S. commanders have
ordered the withdrawal of troops when confronted by insurgents in an effort
to reduce casualties. They said such orders have encouraged insurgency
- The officers cited by the Gulf News said the U.S. military
must demonstrate its ability to patrol anywhere in Iraq to ensure that
the insurgents remain off balance. The sources said that despite nearly
two years in Iraq, U.S. military commanders still fall back on tactics
that surrender the initiative to insurgents..
- "Of course it's more dangerous for us, but there's
no alternative," a paratrooper from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne
Division said. "You can't catch an insurgent with a tank or helicopter,
and you certainly can't if you're hiding behind a barricade."
- "All too often we see Americans riding around in
armored vehicles or running away when they get shot at," the paratrooper
said. "It sends the wrong message and makes the insurgents think we're
scared of them."
- Another criticism by junior and mid-level officers was
the reliance on military fortresses to house and protect U.S. troops. The
sources said this has fostered a siege mentality and enable insurgents
to operate freely around U.S. facilities.
- Copyright © 2005 East West Services, Inc.