We put together a campaign plan specifically to make sure that by the time we launched a ground campaign the Iraqis could not respond. That’s what happened.
The campaign plan was aimed at absolutely destroying, insofar as possible, the Iraqis’ ability to wage war. Today, a lot of people are saying the Iraqis really weren’t there. That’s ridiculous. The Iraqis were there on the 17th of January when we started the air campaign.
Whether the Iraqis were there on the 24th of February, when we launched the ground campaign, or not, is irrelevant. Probably a lot of them weren’t. We knew there had been mass desertions at that time. We knew that their units were under strength. We knew that we had inflicted great casualties on their tanks and their artillery pieces. Why? Because that’s what we were going after. We were deliberately trying to eliminate those things that we knew would hurt us on the battlefield.
One of my criteria was to reduce the strength of the front line forces that we had originally run into to below 50 percent. We generally classify a unit that’s below 70 percent as combat-ineffective. Below 50 percent it’s totally ineffective.
The campaign plan turned out exactly like we had planned it. It was a campaign plan that had been very carefully constructed to make sure that when we finally had to send our ground forces against his ground forces, who outnumbered us originally, that we would prevail.