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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Thursday, April 10, 2003


From Russia with... a remarkably poor sense of America's military might
My Air Force correspondent found this very interesting article from the Moscow Times on the Russian reaction to the swift (and still impending, mind you) U. S. victory in Iraq. A few of the most fascinating pieces:
Russian generals were expecting another prolonged so-called non-contact war, like the one against Yugoslavia in 1999, in Afghanistan in 2001 or the first gulf war in 1991, when a four-day ground offensive was preceded by a 39-day air bombardment. It was believed that the Americans were afraid of close hand-to-hand encounters, they would not tolerate the inevitable casualties, and that in the final analysis they were cowards who relied on technical superiority.
As the allies' push into Iraq seemed to falter, many hearts in Moscow and in Europe rejoiced. In a poll taken in late March, 52 percent of Russians were of the opinion that the U.S.-led military action in Iraq was unsuccessful; 58 percent believed it would be a long war; 35 percent were convinced the United States would win in the end, while 33 percent assumed Iraq would prevail.

Last week it was disclosed that two retired three-star generals -- Vladislav Achalov (a former paratrooper and specialist in urban warfare) and Igor Maltsev (a specialist in air defense) -- visited Baghdad recently and were awarded medals by Hussein. The awards were handed out by Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Khashim Akhmed.

It was reported that the retired generals helped Hussein prepare a war plan to defeat the Americans. Achalov confirmed he was in Baghdad just before the war and received medals from Hussein for services rendered. He also told journalists that the defense of Baghdad was well organized, U.S. tanks would be burned if they enter the city and U.S. infantry would be slaughtered. According to Achalov, the only way the allies could ever take Baghdad and other Iraqi cities was to raze them to the ground by carpet bombing.

Last week, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov echoed Achalov's opinion: "If the Americans continue to fight accurately, avoiding high casualties, the outcome is uncertain. If the Americans begin carpet bombing, Iraq will be defeated." Ivanov also announced that the Defense Ministry was attentively studying the war in order to learn how to build a stronger Russian army.

It seems that up to now the result of the study has been negative. It would appear that Russian generals and Ivanov assume it's the Americans that should be learning from them how to flatten cities -- the way our military destroyed the Chechen capital, Grozny.
The main gist of the article is that the Russian military needs to take its cues from the US, especially as far as modernization goes. I'm wondering if anyone will pick up that, just maybe, that's true in all sorts of other areas, too. And I'm also wondering if anyone's going to apologise to Rumsfeld about that whole "modernization" business.
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