The performance of the American military forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom was absolutely brilliant and despite whatever any post-war analyst might say, the war was decided by airpower. Opposing Iraqi forces were utterly demoralized by the enormous fire power laid down by air power, and were thus unable to cope with the ferocious ground attack that followed.
During and after Operation Iraqi Freedom I was privileged to be in touch with many of the top Air Force people involved, and while they were conscious of security requirements, they were more than willing to share non-classified information in real-time on the internet. The result was that I was able to gather authoritative information on what had actually happened, including the short-falls in performance on a virtually real-time basis. The book was originally scheduled to be published thirty days after I delivered it, which meant it would have been produced in the May-June 2003 time period, and would have pretty well scooped the market.
The American forces—Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines—worked beautifully together. One distinguishing factor of American military prowess is the extremely bright, extremely competent non-commissioned officers we have. They are the men and women who make things work, and few nations have anything comparable.
The leaders of each force worked equally well together. In contrast, the Iraqi leadership was flawed, and except in the Republican Guard, the non-commissioned and enlisted forces had no reason to fight against such overwhelming technological odds.
Sadly, the body that most urgently needed to learn the lessons of Operation Iraqi Freedom is the United States Congress, and it gives evidence of having learned nothing as it and the administration draw up plans for the serial dismantling of our armed forces. Let’s hope that the Chinese, who bought and paid for 2,000 copies of the books for the Chinese officer corps, do not learn too much from it.
(Editor’s Note: C-SPAN will be airing Walter Boyne discussing his book, Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why, in which he analyzes U.S. military action in Iraq. He outlines the air, water and land combat technology used and debates what impact Operation Iraqi Freedom will have on future conflicts. Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched on March 19, 2003. The program airs Sunday, March 18th, 2012 at 6pm commemorating the 9th anniversary of the conflict. The full program is available for web viewing here:
Be sure to grab a copy of Walter’s book for your collection: Operation Iraqi Freedom: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Why