- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

The general who designed the 1991 Desert Storm air war said in a public forum that the current planned bombing campaign against Iraq is "risking more lives than are necessary."
The remarks by retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Buster Glosson mirror criticism that some active-duty Air Force officers are voicing privately.
"Our strategy is wrong. It is risking more lives than are necessary," Gen. Glosson said Tuesday before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute. "We've become confused about what strategy is. Simultaneous tactical operations do not constitute a strategy."
Gen. Glosson said that during Desert Storm, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's top priority was to limit allied casualties.
"It appears that we've lost that vision somewhere along the road now and we're getting overly concerned about the wrong things," Gen. Glosson said.
Retired officers are generally reluctant to criticize the war tactics of their successors. This was the first time that Gen. Glosson, who engineered the revolutionary 38-day air campaign against Iraq, had questioned ongoing war plans publicly.
The Washington Times reported earlier this month that some Air Force officers did not like the emerging plan. They complained that it was weighted too heavily in favor of sparing infrastructure to win the hearts of Iraqi citizens and make rebuilding Iraq easier. One officer said too many government buildings in Baghdad were omitted from the target list.
Gen. Glosson was joined at the podium by Richard Perle, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, a group of outside advisers. Like Gen. Glosson, Mr. Perle is an outspoken hawk on the need to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Gen. Tommy R. Franks, chief of U.S. Central Command, and his war planners are putting the final pieces in place to be ready if President Bush orders an invasion of Iraq. The plan calls for about 200,000 American troops in the region, aided by 40,000 British personnel.
The Air Force and Navy will begin the battle with a swift air attack, using precision munitions to hit air defenses, command centers and Saddam's most loyal troops, the Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard.
But Gen. Glosson, who maintains contacts with government officials, said the plan does not allow enough time for air strikes to destroy the Iraqi military.
"When you do not permit special forces and the air capability and technology you have to accomplish the maximum before you start heading ground forces in a 'Roman Legion' fashion toward objectives, you're asking for disaster," he said.
"Don't base a strategy on using air or special operations only for a few days and bam the ground forces are going, ready or not. Because all you are doing is asking the mothers and fathers of America and our coalition allies to lose more sons and daughters."
The Times last week quoted one Air Force officer as saying, "There are so many political restrictions placed on the air plan part of this they should just march the troops and let air power help ground troops wherever they can."
Jim Wilkinson, Central Command's director of strategic communications, rebutted the anonymous complaints by saying, "We don't discuss plan specifics for reasons of operational security. However, I can tell you the plan is comprehensive, modern and flexible, and General Franks continues to work closely with all the services."
Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, vice commander of Air Force Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., told The Times that his service supports Gen. Franks.
"The Air Force is absolutely lined up in support of Tommy Franks," Gen. Wright said.
Gen. Glosson said: "I want to make it abundantly clear. Let there be no doubt, OK. I am displeased with the military leadership, not with [Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld] or the president because they, in my opinion, are not being served very well. So I want to put the blame where the blame lies."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide