Overwhelming Force

Overwhelming Force
Posted by FoM on May 21, 2000 at 08:02:06 PT
By Seymour Hersh
Source: New Yorker Magazine
Barry McCaffrey has the best resume of any retired combat general in the United States Army. The son of a distinguished general, he attended Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, and West Point, and in 1966 was assigned to South Vietnam as a platoon leader. He served two combat tours, winning two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Silver Stars, and three Purple Hearts. 
He returned from Vietnam with a shattered left arm, which was saved only after two years of operations and rehabilitation. McCaffrey's career continued to be exemplary: he earned a master's degree, taught at West Point, and, as he moved up through the ranks, became an outspoken leader within the Army for women's rights and the rights of minorities. He had, as the journalist Rick Atkinson has noted, "the chiseled good looks of a recruiting poster warrior: hooded eyes; dark, dense brows; a clean, strong jawline; hair thick and gun-metal gray." He radiated command presence. In June of 1990, as a two-star major general, McCaffrey was put in charge of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He was then forty-seven, and the Army's youngest division commander. Two months later, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and McCaffrey took the 24th's tanks, guns, and more than eighteen thousand soldiers (eventually, there were twenty-six thousand) from its home base to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the Persian Gulf War. The 24th's mission was to drive more than two hundred miles into Iraq -- the famed "left hook" maneuver -- and block the retreat of Iraqi forces from the war zone in Kuwait. In an account written after the war, U.S. News & World Report praised McCaffrey for leading what one officer called "the greatest cavalry charge in history." More promotions came McCaffrey's way, and he eventually earned four stars, the Army's highest peacetime rank. McCaffrey announced his retirement from the Army in January of 1996, when President Clinton brought him into the Cabinet as the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In that position, McCaffrey serves as the architect of and main spokesman for the Clinton Administration's $1.6-billion plan to provide, among other things, more training and weapons for the Colombian Army in an effort to cut drug production and export. The Iraqis offered only disorganized and ragged opposition to the American invasion, in February of 1991, and the much feared ground war quickly turned into a bloody rout, with many of the retreating Iraqi units, including the elite Republican Guard, being pounded by American aircraft, artillery, and tanks as they fled north in panic along a six-lane road from Kuwait City to Basra, the major military stronghold in southern Iraq. The road became littered with blackened tanks, trucks, and bodies; the news media called it the "highway of death." The devastation, which was televised around the world, became a symbol of the extent of the Iraqi defeat -- and of American military superiority -- and it was publicly cited as a factor in President George Bush's decision, on February 28th, to declare a cessation of hostilities, ending the killing, and to call for peace talks. That decision, which is still controversial today, enabled Saddam's Army to survive the war with many units intact, and helped keep the regime in power. In "The Generals' War," by Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Bush explained that he and his advisers were concerned about two aspects of the situation: "If we continued the fighting another day, until the ring was completely closed, would we be accused of a slaughter of Iraqis who were simply trying to escape, not fight? In addition, the coalition was agreed on driving the Iraqis from Kuwait, not on carrying the conflict into Iraq or on destroying Iraqi forces." Note: The file is too large to post the complete story on CannabisNews. Click to read the complete article:15 May 2000. Thanks to Seymour Hersh and The New Yorker.Source: Hardcopy The New Yorker, May 22, 2000, pp. 49-82. News Article Courtesy Of Cryptome: Articles:The Last Battle of the Gulf War Gulf War (Ret.) on McCaffrey Sparks Furor War Crimes? Stands By Decisions in Gulf War Questions U.S. General Director Criticizes Journalist 
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on May 21, 2000 at 11:35:43 PT:
New Book
Here's fodder for a new book ...McCaffrey's probably immoral and possibly illegal actions caused the premature end to the Gulf War, thus leaving Saddam stronger than planned.McCaffrey's scorched earth policy toward drug use in this country will be about as successful.Peace ...
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