One thing that has struck me since the IraqWar is the lack of reflection on the role Turkey (did not) play on the conduct of the war. As you may recall, the US 4th Infantry Division (our most advanced combat force) wanted to land in Turkey and attack Iraq from the North. With the benefit of hindsight, it is rather apparent that this would have formed a blocking force for the two divisions (the Marines and the 3rd Infantry Division) coming up from the South.
The presence of the 4th ID in the North would have accomplished a number of things. First it would have helped secure the border of Syria which accepted a number of Iraqi exiles. As it was, there was a smattering of US Special Forces operating in the West and North, but nowhere near enough units to seal off the border.
Second it would have provided a quicker end to the war. As it was, after the liberation of Baghdad, the 3ID and the Marines had to leave to head north to Tikrit and other towns that had yet to be freed. This lead to fewer troops in Baghdad and more thus, fewer forces to control the looting.
Just imagine if another division had been in Baghdad and no troops had to head off to the countryside after the liberation. Imagine the potential on the morale of Iraqi forces, suddenly being surrounded on all sides. Imagine if there had been an additional 20,000 + troops in Baghdad (which is what Secretary Rumsfeld will soon be asking for).
But this didn’t happen. Turkey did not assist us in allowing our forces on the ground. Iraqis escaped to Syria. Treasures were looted as an overstetched US force looked on. Maybe it’s time to turn our attention to the role of Turkey in limiting US forces in Iraq and the role that played in the looting and crimes in Baghdad.
Anyway, this is just a ramble and I have to work on it a bit. More to come…