Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 11th edition

April 11, 2003: British soldiers take the opportunity to bathe near the Rumallah bridge in southern Iraq.

April 11, 2002:

Reservists ordered to mobilise

Enforced mobilisation of up to 10,000 reservists will be announced by the Government this week in preparation for a war on Iraq.

In a move not seen since the Korean War, a Queen's Order will give defence chiefs widespread and highly controversial rights to call up many more people than would normally be available.

Senior officers from all the units involved have been summoned to a meeting at the Ministry of Defence today to be briefed on the mass mobilisation.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

April 11, 2003:

War boosts Rumsfeld's vision of an agile military

WASHINGTON – From the Pentagon to Central Command headquarters in Qatar to the US troops fighting remnants of Saddam Hussein's army around Iraq, no one is ready to declare victory.

"Baghdad is still an ugly place," Air Force Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart said at Thursday's CentCom briefing. "We still have a long ways to go."

But one clear winner in this first major war of the 21st century is likely to be Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The outcome - so far, at least - seems to bear out the war plan he had a heavy hand in creating. More important, in years to come the "transformation" of how the United States designs and arms its military - something he has had to fight much of the military bureaucracy and a battalion of outspoken retired officers over - now is more likely to take place.

Read the rest at the Christian Science Monitor

April 11, 2004:

A too-small Army is stretched to break point

Before the Iraq War, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld favored freeing funds for his military modernization programs by further shrinking an already reduced U.S. Army. Rumsfeld considered cutting two more combat divisions, perhaps even three, from the Army's 10 divisions remaining on active duty.

However close Rumsfeld came to actually proposing this Draconian draw down in U.S. ground forces, his arguments for fewer soldiers have since been mugged by reality. Congress believes that an overstretched Army needs to grow, not shrink. Rumsfeld and his personally selected Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, still dispute the need for any permanent increase in Army end strength. But Rumsfeld and Schoomaker have been compelled to accept the need for more troops at least temporarily.

To bolster its troop strength, the Army recently invoked its rarely used authority to hold combat soldiers beyond their terms of enlistment. That plus a force augmentation voted by Congress is adding about 20,000 troops to the Army's permanently authorized active-duty strength of some 480,000.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

April 11, 2005:

Commanders see potential for reducing troop levels

WASHINGTON – Two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq is making enough progress in fighting insurgents and training Iraqi security forces to allow plans for significant troop reductions by early next year, senior commanders and Pentagon officials say...

Precisely when and how many U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq hinges on several factors, including the security situation and the wishes of the new Iraqi government.

Gen. George Casey Jr., the top commander in Iraq, told CNN two weeks ago that if all went well, "we should be able to take some fairly substantial reductions in the size of our forces" by this time next year.

Casey has declined to describe the size of any possible reductions, but other senior military officials said U.S. force levels in Iraq could drop from 142,000 to about 105,000 by early next year.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

April 11, 2006:

General: U.S. Air Force to Be in Iraq for 'Long Time'

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his top military leader on Tuesday issued their strongest rebuttal to date of the recent comments by retired generals criticizing the Iraq war planning and calling on Rumsfeld to resign...

Earlier Tuesday, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff, said the Air Force may remain in Iraq for a "long time," most likely in a capacity similar to its lengthy patrols of the no-fly zone after the first Gulf War...

As the fourth year of the Iraq war begins, close to 21,000 Air Force personnel are in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the bulk in Iraq.

Overall there are about 132,000 U.S. forces in Iraq. Military officials have expressed hope they can reduce the number below 100,000 by year's end.

Read the rest at Fox News