15 August 2013

A Clear Mis-allocation of Available Resources?

Hmmmm... a Gulf II war story from over on CSW
I had my own run-in with the "keep it under the table" forces of darkness... I was assigned as liaison for the amphibious forces at 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain in the lead-up to the invasion. About a week before the attack there was a huge kerflufle about wanting to get humanitarian relief supplies into southern Iraq as soon as possible after the border was crossed, but in such a way that the MSRs going north out of Kuwait wouldn't be impacted. The obvious solution was to bring them in by sea, but there was concern about the Shatt-al-Arab being mined and the facilities at the port of Basra being damaged (both by Iraqi sabotage and Coalition bombing). A rushed scheme to clear the water way was concocted, but Brown&Root were adamant that it would take them a minimum of four months to restore the port to operational condition. At this point, after consulting with the various commands I was representing, I proposed that we send a large SeaBee detachment from Kuwait (where their mission to offload the USMC pre-positioning ships and construct an elevated causeway to facilitate resupply cargo discharge was complete, so they were basically sitting idle) up to Basra to repair the port. The SeaBees had the expertise, the necessary construction gear and materials, had vehicles to transport themselves to the site, and had the weapons and training to provide their own security -- more importantly, the 0-6 in charge of the battalion was absolutely confident he could have the port open for business within two weeks and fully functional within a month. It sounded like a real win/win scenario to us. But after I floated the idea up the chain, and 5th Fleet gave a provisional green light to the plan, word came back from SecDef (not CENTCOM, not JCS -- SecDef) that the proposal was rejected and we were not to bring it up again. At my Admiral's request I sent an e-mail to the contact back at the five-sided-funny-farm asking what part of our concept they had issue with so we could submit a revised plan. That evening I took a secure phone call from some O-6 staffer with the SecDef's office telling me very coldly and clearly that I was to NEVER bring up the topic again and that if I did I'd be relieved and sent home (with the veiled implication that disiplinary action wouldn't be out of the question). We dutifully dropped the subject.
There's no independent verification of this, so take it for what it's worth, but it's an interesting indictment of how the occupation was run. By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...

I can well believe this.

"War is a racket."
- Smedley Butler.