View Full Version : McChrystal: Iraqi forces endure ‘significant weakening’

04-01-03, 05:48 AM
March 31, 2003

McChrystal: Iraqi forces endure ‘significant weakening’

By Vince Crawley
Times staff writer

U.S. troops are making headway as they continue to pound Iraqi Republican Guard units outside Baghdad, a senior Pentagon war planner said Monday.
“We are seeing significant degradation of those forces,” Army Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, vice director of operations for the Joint Staff, told Pentagon reporters on the 12th day of the war to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

“I won’t put an exact number on it, but I’ll say very significant weakening of the forces,” McChrystal said of the comparatively well-equipped Republican Guard.

In addition, he said, war planners are seeing some movement of Republican Guard units to assist other units under intense fire from U.S. troops.

“What we think we’re seeing them do is move to reinforce other forces that have already been significantly degraded,” McChrystal said.

Iraq continues to position tanks and armored vehicles near houses and other buildings, McChrystal said. “It’s still targetable, but it’s more difficult,” he said.

About 250,000 U.S. troops are in the combat zone, along with about 50,000 coalition allies, chiefly the United Kingdom. Slightly more than one-third of that 300,000-strong force is inside Iraq, McChrystal said, and approximately 2,000 more are arriving in Iraq each day.

Follow-on forces from the 1st Armored and 1st Cavalry Divisions are en route, as are troops from the 2nd and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiments.

McChrystal said the deployment of these additional forces — totaling another 100,000 — does not represent a shift in the overall war plan. Instead, he said, the original plan called for the phased movement of forces, with the option to halt those deployments if the war was settled quickly. Nearly two weeks into the conflict, Iraqis loyal to Saddam Hussein continue aggressively resisting the U.S.-led invasion, so planners do not yet see a reason to order a halt to the follow-on deployments.