[FoRK] Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Fri Apr 30 20:16:58 PDT 2004

Hey Mr. Special Forces/In The Know
The current scramble to get more TANKS to Iraq doesn't seem to fit your 
previously advanced views on
modern combat. Whats up with that?

*U.S. rushes more tanks to Iraq*
Thu 29 April, 2004 01:20

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has rushed more tanks and other 
armoured vehicles to Iraq in response to requests from commanders 
grappling with a worsening security situation, a top American general says.

The move to fortify U.S. forces with armour like the M1A1 Abrams tank 
and Bradley Fighting Vehicle reverses a decision made just months ago 
that less heavy armour would be needed for troops rotating into Iraq in 
the first half of 2004 amid hopes for an improving security environment.

Marine Corps Major General John Sattler, U.S. Central Command's director 
of operations, told reporters at the Pentagon from Qatar on Wednesday 
that some additional tanks and armoured personnel carriers already had 
arrived in Iraq and more were headed there.

Sattler said the armour was requested by Marine Corps and Army units 
trying to quell unrest in the so-called Sunni Triangle area that has 
been a hotbed of resistance to the American-led occupation of Iraq.

The requests were made by the commanders of the Marines engaged in the 
flash-point city of Falluja and other areas west of Baghdad and the 
Army's First Infantry Division, operating out of Tikrit, Sattler said.

A U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "a 
couple dozen" Abrams tanks were sent from Germany to the First Infantry 
Division in Iraq, and the Marines were getting probably a similar number 
of additional tanks.

The official did not give the number of Bradleys or other armoured 
vehicles involved.

Violence has flared dramatically this spring -- a year after a U.S.-led 
invasion toppled President Saddam Hussein -- and April has been the 
deadliest month of the war for American troops. The Pentagon said at 
least 124 U.S. troops have been killed this month, and 724 killed in the 
13 months of hostilities in Iraq.


Sattler sought to explain the reasoning behind deploying units to Iraq 
while leaving some of their armour behind.

"As the security environment was moving in a very positive direction, 
the need for tanks and tractored vehicles was overshadowed by the need 
for wheeled vehicles and warriors on the ground," Sattler said.

"Counter-insurgency requires you ... to actually engage and work with 
the population. And that's tough to do from inside a tank or a Bradley 
or an armoured personnel carrier," he added.

But Sattler said the "when they got here and the security environment 
changed" commanders requested more heavy armour. Sattler did not specify 
the number of additional vehicles being delivered to the commanders.

Iraqi insurgents have staged regular attacks on U.S. military vehicles 
and convoys using rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs, some of 
which have been powerful enough to topple tanks. Many of the U.S. 
casualties in Iraq have come in attacks on standard Humvees or 
armour-reinforced Humvees.

General Larry Ellis, head of Army Forces Command, recently wrote a memo 
to the Army's top general saying the "Up-Armoured" Humvee, or 
High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, was not sufficiently 
protecting troops in attacks. He urged that more of the Stryker, the 
Army's new armoured vehicle now being used by U.S. forces in parts of 
northern Iraq, be sent to Iraq.

Ellis said in a statement on Wednesday his memo, leaked to journalists, 
"has been misconstrued."

"The Up-armoured HMMWV has saved lives and prevented injury on numerous 
occasions and continues to be the best, immediately available solution 
to the challenges of the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan," Ellis said.


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