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Questions Raised About Invasion Force

He also contended that the Iraqi military never successfully attacked the U.S. flanks and will not be able to do so now.

But McCaffrey said that long, unprotected supply lines reaching from Kuwait all the way to Baghdad have been shown to be vulnerable. The ambush of an Army maintenance convoy Sunday resulted in seven deaths and five U.S. prisoners of war.


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Army doctrine, he said, calls for armored cavalry regiments to patrol the flanks of the advancing force and protect the terrain it has traversed. Military police battalions, he said, are typically used to patrol bridges and intersections to be controlled by military police battalions.

Such forces have received deployment orders, he added, but they are still back in the United States, waiting to get into the fight. As for the adequacy of air power, McCaffrey said it cannot substitute for the powerful combination of M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter gunships when it comes to a confrontation with Republican Guard divisions, particularly when they are dispersed.

"When you package it the right way, the Bradley-Abrams-artillery-Apache team [enables the U.S.] to stand up to enormous combat pressure and not lose many troops," McCaffrey said.

His fear at this point, he added, is that waiting for reinforcements for a final attack on Baghdad could give the Iraqis time to recover. "You don't get up there and let them get their nerve back," McCaffrey said. "You got to go in there and bust their chops badly, and let the speed and momentum and violence overwhelm them."

Retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a commander in the Gulf War, agreed that another heavy division on the ground would be highly desirable.

"The stability of the liberated areas is clearly as issue," he said. "The postwar transition has to begin immediately in the wake of the attacking forces, and they seem to be short of forces for those important missions at this time."


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