The Generals are revolting.
Paul Wolfowitz is having trouble with those pesky guys who actually serve and have fought in the military.
With war possible soon in Iraq, the chiefs of the two U.S. ground forces are challenging the belief of some senior Pentagon civilians that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will fall almost immediately upon being attacked and are calling for more attention to planning for worst-case scenarios, Defense Department officials said.
In addition, the plan calls for some armored units, instead of traveling a predetermined distance and pausing to allow slow-moving supply trucks to catch up, to charge across Iraq until they run into armed opposition and then engage in combat, officials said.
Those aspects of the plan, which appear riskier than usual U.S. military practice, worry the chief of the Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki, and the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James L. Jones, defense officials said.
Shinseki and Jones, who as service chiefs are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have questioned the contention of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and other top officials that Hussein’s government is likely to collapse almost as soon as a U.S. attack is launched, the officials said.
The two generals are concerned that the Wolfowitz school may underestimate the risks involved, the officials said. They have argued that planning should prepare thoroughly for worst-case scenarios, most notably one that planners have labeled “Fortress Baghdad,” in which Hussein withdraws his most loyal forces into the Iraqi capital and challenges the United States to enter into protracted street fighting, perhaps involving chemical or biological weapons.
In an interview last night, Wolfowitz rejected the view that he has been overoptimistic in his views. He said he also believes that, “You’ve got to be prepared for the worst case.” He added: “It would be a terrible mistake for anyone to think they can predict with confidence what the course of a war is going to be.” In discussions of the war plan, he said, he has repeatedly emphasized the risk of Hussein “using his most terrible weapons.”
Wolfowitz is relying his own military experience consisting of repeated viewings of The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes, and An Officer and A Gentleman (which still gets him all teary-eyed at the end) to plan the upcoming war, as well as relying on the advice of America’s most honored military strategist; novelist and insurance man Tom Clancy.
In an effort to win the approval of President X Box, Wolfowitz has supplied the President with a copy of Ghost Recon in order to better dramatize what the fighting will be like. The President recently commented that the fighting action was “wicked cool” leading many Pentagon Generals to start drinking earlier in the day than usual.