US needs to learn lessons of past military interventions
Major-General Julian Thompson, who commanded 3rd Commando Brigade in the 1982 Falklands war, said yesterday: 'I hope they've learned the lessons this time. They have to get the command and control right. It needs to be an all-amphibious operation instead of the free-for all party that Grenada was.'
Two Pentagon studies into Somalia have still not been released because they are 'politically embarrassing', according to officials familiar with their contents. They stressed the need to build public support in the US before intervening, to ensure that political and military goals are consistent, to define a realistic objective, and to pull out as soon as it is achieved.
US sources yesterday suggested, however, that the operation could take account of these lessons. They described the main 1,800-strong landing force - on board two amphibious assault ships, the USS Nashville and the USS Wasp - as a 'special purpose air-ground task force'.
It is believed that US Special Forces - so-called Sea-Air-Land Assault Teams, or SEALs - are already ashore, ready to liaise with local resistance groups and to guide landing forces.
In response to speculation that the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was likely to participate, the Pentagon said yesterday the only army units likely to be involved were elements of the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York and of the XVIII Airborne Corps (of which the 82nd is a component). General Thompson said this could mean they were subordinated to the Marine command structure.
The US lost 19 personnel in the invasion and subsequent occupation of Grenada in October 1983, and 23 in Panama in December 1989. Intervention in Somalia, which began in December 1992 and will end next week, has cost 44 US lives.
Twenty US ships carrying an estimated 20,000 personnel are cruising off Haiti at the moment, with the carrier USS America approaching from Norfolk, Virginia.
The US will play the main part in any initial assault in accordance with UN Resolution 940, which authorises members to use 'all necessary means to facilitate the departure of the military regime from Haiti and to maintain and establish a secure and stable environment'.
But following the lessons of Somalia, they are unlikely to want to stay, and the subsequent pacification of the territory could be left to troops of the Caribbean command - which British experts who are adept at peace-keeping operations are training at Camp Santiago in Puerto Rico.
- 1 Should Apple buy Greece?
- 2 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 3 Drummer Lee Rigby's family reject 'extremist' groups using Woolwich murder for political gain
- 4 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...
£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...