Iraq Crisis Solved by Col. John Warden
The crisis in Iraq can be easily resolved – even now – with wise use of very limited U.S. military power and actions by allies. The first step is to call Col. John Warden (USAF – Ret.) to come back in from retirement as a consultant for the Commander in Chief and Pentagon on how to handle the situation. “It is not an overwhelming problem,” Warden explained.
Col. John A. Warden III is credited by Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell as the architect of the Desert Storm Air Campaign. America’s astonishing 100-hour victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 was based on Col. Warden’s revolutionary concepts. Warden’s innovative thinking literally rewrote military strategy and doctrine, such as in his book Winning in Fast Time,
Western political leaders are paralyzed by three “conventional wisdom” worries:
- Nothing can be done short of a full-scale repeat occupation of Iraq.
- Nothing we do can fundamentally change the situation, but simply postpone the inevitable collapse, and
- Nothing we can do will create a stable, new situation sustainable over time.
Col. Warden insists that none of these assumptions are true. Although the outcome will depend dramatically on what Western leaders do or do not do, none of those concerns are real problems. However, a stable outcome probably won’t look like traditional Iraq. A stable outcome will probably require division into a separate Kurdistan and a solid Iraqi zone from Baghdad South. But at least the result can be stable, and need not offer a hostile Jihadist preserve.
Col. Warden gave a brief executive summary on how to fix Iraq on the Conservative Commandos Radio Show in my interview with him June 25. An audio recording of the interview can be heard by clicking here. The Pentagon and Fox News can reach Col. Warden at www.Venturist.com.
Actually, the Jihadist army ISIS is incredibly vulnerable and exposed, Warden analyzes. It would be very easy for the U.S. and allies to severely disrupt ISIS with very limited air operations, military actions, and unspecified other technical measures. We can put ISIS into a position that will be impossible for them to be maintained, without doing all that much from a US military position. Warden’s analysis is holistic and not limited only to U.S. actions alone. He would counsel orchestrating the capabilities from several countries in the region.
ISIS – or the “Islamic States of Syria and Iraq” – grew out of the civil war in Syria. The United States supported the terrorist-oriented Jihadist movements in Syria to overthrow Syria’s dictator President Bashar al-Assad. Armed with weapons that the Obama Administration provided or pushed others to provide, the terrorist-oriented Jihadist movements instead crossed the Iraqi border and spread across Iraq rather than toppling Assad. This author believes that weapons which the Obama Administration poured into Libya to overthrow Moammar Qaddaffi are now being used in Iraq by ISIS to build an Islamic Caliphate. The Syrian-Iraqi border has been effectively erased.
But stopping the momentum of ISIS and putting them on the defensive could have a dramatic impact on the willingness and ability of the regular Iraqi army to stand and fight, and even regroup. The rapid advance of ISIS led to the panic and demoralization of the Iraqi army. Much as during the Blitzkrieg of World War II, soldiers threw down their weapons and ran because of the velocity of events.
Creatively-designed interventions similar to Col. Warden’s strategies in the Desert Storm Air Campaign could shift momentum from ISIS back to the regular Iraqi army. Helping the Iraqi army regain effectiveness could produce a substantive difference in the scenario.
Warden championed and perfected the concept of approaching “the enemy as a system.” Rather than throwing armies against armies and air forces against air forces, Warden’s strategies involve analyzing an enemy’s military forces as parts of a much larger whole. In the Persian Gulf Air Campaign, Warden dismantled the enemy’s ability to function. You can incapacitate the functioning of your opponent from a system standpoint.
Warden wrote the seminal work on modern airpower theory, The Air Campaign: Planning For Combat, which has been translated into at least seven languages. Col. Warden has been Special Assistant to the Vice President of the United States, Commandant of the Air Force’s Command and Staff College, successful business founder, and an Air Force Fighter Wing Commander.
First, ISSIS is an extraordinarily vulnerable position from the perspective of a system. Warden analyzes that ISIS is especially susceptible to techniques similar to those used in the 100-hour Desert Storm miracle.
Second, the ISIS army has expanded rapidly across a huge territory. That looks impressive on a map. But it means ISIS is not well-established, dug-in, or supplied. As your author interprets it, ISIS is a mile wide but an inch deep. That makes them especially vulnerable with poor supply lines, communications, connections, and preparation.
Third, ISIS have put themselves into a position which is quite vulnerable, in that they stretch across rocky, barren country and desert. This leaves their forces and military equipment far more exposed than over normal terrain.
Fourth, ISIS is exposed all along its Northern edge to Turkey, which is growing irritated with ISIS’s behavior and nature. ISIS has kidnapped Turkish truckers and citizens along the border. Very limited intervention from Turkey as an ally could have a major impact. Turkey has dropped its political opposition to the Kurds having an autonomous region in light of the threat posed by ISIS.
Fifth, ISIS occupies some key towns, but those towns are separated by large distances. Militarily, that does not offer strength. Military forces moving between towns are vulnerable to air attack.
Sixth, U.S. military equipment, tanks, Humvees, and vehicles captured by ISIS, which the U.S.A. left behind for the official Iraqi military, would be relatively easy to destroy, in most cases, with fairly limited air power operations. Politically, it might be easy for leaders to order the destruction of U.S. military hardware from the battlefield as distinctly separate from more open-ended military involvement.
However, Col. Warden repeatedly emphasizes that it is very important to know what our objectives are. Everything he champions depends upon first setting clear, realistic objectives. He said that he does not hear objectives being stated from the Obama Administration that are clear or useable.