The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Was there a mutiny in Iraq?

There has been much hue and cry about the five soldiers in the 343rd Quartermaster Company in Kuwait that decided they weren't going to go do their job in Iraq. Unfortunately, much more heat than light has been generated about this. Here's a good link on StrategyPage for the latest on this.

Bottom line: The fueler platoon claimed that their vehicles were broken down, they had no protection, and the fuel was bad. Platoon relieved of mission, next platoon brought in and performs the mission with the same equipment. It appears that the platoon leader failed to lead his/her troops to execute the mission. It is also possible that the company commander or battalion operations officer failed to conduct the necessary mission analysis - that is why the Army is investigating.

This was a unit that was a combat service support unit, not a combat arms unit. The difference: Combat arms is infantry, armor, artillery, etc. These are the best trained, best equipped forces that are most mentally prepared to deal with a combat environment. The combat service support unit is trained and equipped to provide the gas and fix the trucks. They are trained for basic self-protection and to move the fuel to the combat forces. They are the furthest in mind set from the infantry. This difference in mindset may be the biggest factor in this story.

What this is not: This event has not a whit to do with either Bush or Kerry. This is an event that is so far down the military's chain of command that it doesn't have anything to do with either of them.

If one does crave a "systemic" problem, here's some choices...

1. The soldier's vehicles were unarmored. These are logistics vehicles, not combat vehicles. Vehicles of this type have been unarmored since internal combustion engines replaced horses. Why? Because the more armor is placed on a vehicle, the less cargo capacity trucks have. It is a basic cost-benefit analysis that has been made since the 1900s. If a political argument must be made about it, then Kerry gets the ringer. He reportedly was a US Senator for the last twenty years, and could have introduced a bill to armor the troops. Actually, he voted against it. The services have also tended to spend their money on combat systems, not on logistics troops. The Army has hundreds of thousands of trucks, and the Army is armoring them as fast as they can hang armor on them now.

2. The convoy did not have an escort. Unproven, and since the second platoon executed the mission, fairly unnecessary. The platoon was driving from Kuwait to Baghdad - that's the second quietest sector. They would have driven through the British and Polish sectors and entered the American sector just south of Baghdad. Over 2100 convoy movements occur every day in Iraq - and 99% don't have problems. If a political argument must be made about not having enough troops, then the list just gets too long to imagine. Bush for not having more troops in there to begin with. Kerry for claiming there are not enough troops or too much (wrong war, wrong place, wrong time), wanting 40000 more troops but not willing to send them to Iraq. Chiraq, Schroeder, and Annan for failing to live up to their international responsibilities and lead the way to get troops in Iraq, etc.

3. The fuel was contaminated. Don't know about this, but for some reason the troops in Baghdad accepted it.

So, a lieutenant may be in deep trouble - and the media reports are pretty off the mark.


Blogger FloridaMOM said...

send this to OReilly!

12:26 PM  

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