Saturday, March 29, 2003

Critical Supplies...Are Unaccounted For

Business Week Online, By Frederik Balfour, EXCERPT: "Weather, enemy harassment, intermittent communications -- all had conspired to slow our advance over the previous few days. We were supposed to roll through southern Iraq with minimal resistance, barreling up Highway 8, the principal route north. But because of overoptimism, lousy intelligence, or both, that assumption proved wrong. Unexpectedly fierce fighting raged in the cities of Basra, al-Nasiriya, and al-Samawa -- places where U.S. commanders had brashly predicted mass surrenders. Things began falling apart within half a day of crossing the Iraq-Kuwait border. Because the Army wasn't able to secure the highway, nearly 10,000 vehicles were forced to share secondary routes that were decidedly infantry-unfriendly. Tanks, flatbed trucks, Humvees, and rocket launchers snaked their way bumper to bumper through the desert in near-zero visibility. In no time, the route was littered with 45-foot trailers stuck in the sand, and the carefully orchestrated departure had deteriorated into chaos. EXHAUSTION. By the time we made it to the temporary camp, some 160 km south of Baghdad, nearly a third of the trucks in our convoy had fallen at least 12 hours behind and couldn't be contacted. Amid the mounting chaos, communications suffered; a major told me that 60 fuel tankers sat in al-Nasiriya for two days because no one issued the order to move forward. ..." Read rest of story.

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