What makes the best the best?

By on March 27, 2003

Unless you have been living in a cave with no contact to the outside world for the past few weeks, then you know that the United States is currently at war with the Middle Eastern country of Iraq. Despite whether you think the war is right, wrong, just, or unjust, it is being fought right now. Coalition forces, led by the United States have launched an invasion of Iraq, and it is currently looking like it will succeed. They United States military is certainly powerful and is an extremely deadly force. But what makes our military so dangerous? How does it shape up to that of Iraq? In the simplest terms, conventionally, that is without using biological, chemical, or possibly even nuclear weapons, the Iraqi military stands no chance. However, if Saddam and his military were to resort to using such weapons such as missiles armed with biological warheads, or heaven forbid, nuclear warheads, then they could possibly defend their country. However, it is unlikely that the United States would not retaliate with such force that would flatten the small country of Iraq into nothing more than a bunch of sand dunes. Disregarding these “weapons of mass destruction”, as they have been called, here is how things shape up.

Here is your average American G.I. (general infantry). Our troops go into combat sporting the latest in military combat fashion, the BDU. BDU stands for battle dress uniform. The soldier in the picture is wearing green BDUs or, fatigues as they are usually called. The soldiers fighting in Iraq are wearing tan fatigues which will help them blend in with the desert sand much better than the shades of green and black that the G.I in the picture is wearing. The Marine Corps soldiers wear a different BDU than those soldiers in the US Army. The Marine Corps has developed a BDU that consists of pixels rather than splotches of color. The advantage of the pixels is that they help to break up the outline of the human body much better than the standard fatigues. Our soldiers carry a variety of weapons, the most common one is the M16A2 5.56mm rifle. The M16 as it is commonly known as was originally developed in the early to mid 1960’s as the standard assault rifle for US forces. It can be modified several different ways, the most common way is to mount a M203 40mm grenade launcher below the barrel, however other things such as a 12 gauge shotgun (usually in the case of urban warfare) can be mounted instead. The G.I. in the photograph is carrying a SAW, or Squad Automatic Weapon, which is a light weight machine gun. The SAW fires the same ammunition as the M16, however it fires it in a fully automatic mode with a much larger magazine. Our G.I.’s are extremely well trained, well outfitted, and ready to fight.

M1A2 Abrams is the most sophisticated tank ever built. Originally built to fight Soviet tanks on the plains of central Europe, the Abrams main battle tank first proved itself in the first Persian Gulf War. It was fighting Soviet tanks, but they were no long fighting for the Soviets, they were Saddam’s. The Abrams is back, newly improved, and ready as ever to take on the inferior Iraqi tanks on the desert battlefields of Iraq. It is protected with a classified type of armor; however it is know that it is made of some sort of laminate/steel material. It is armed with one 105mm rifled gun, three machine guns, two of which fire the strapping 7.62mm NATO round, the third firing the impressive 12.7 mm anti-aircraft round. The 105mm gun is loaded by a soldier instead of an automatic loader like most other main battle tanks of today. This is a genius move by our military because there is no chance of an automatic loader breaking in the Abrams and the soldier can load a shell into the gun much faster than an automatic loader can. These remarkable tanks can accurately hit, and destroy the Iraqi T-72 tanks (Iraq’s best) before the Iraqi’s can even see the Abrams.

Tomahawk Cruise Missiles are being used in large numbers in Operation Iraqi Freedom. These 600,000 dollar missiles are launched from either warships or submarines. They were first used in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The tomahawk cruise missiles carry a one thousand pound warhead, it can also carry a nuclear warhead, but fortunately they have never carried one into combat. They can travel at speeds up to 550 miles per hour for up to 870 nautical miles and then smash into their target with extremely accurate results. The tomahawk cruise missiles are greatly aiding the coalition forces with their invasion.

Our forces are supported by hundreds of aircraft, most of which are stationed on aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. These consist of F-18 Hornets and F-18 Super Hornets fighter/bombers, F- 14 Tomcat fleet defense fighters, EA-6B Prowlers electronic warfare planes, and AV-8B Harriers. Based in Aviano, Italy are F- 16 fighting falcon fighter/bombers, and F- 15 Eagle fighters. Also being used are F-117 Stealth Fighter/Bombers, and the infamous B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. B-2s have reportedly been flying missions out of their main base in Kansas due to a lack of airfields available in the region which are able to support the great warplanes.

The greatest tool that the American forces in the Persian Gulf have is night vision. The American military has the greatest night vision capability in the world. All of our forces are outfitted with night vision capabilities of stellar quality. Our troops carry night vision goggles of the highest quality, they are also equipped with night vision scopes and special laser sights for their weapons which work only with their night vision goggles. Our tanks are outfitted with night vision apparatuses which allow our tank operators to see clearly into the night almost as well as they can in the day. This gives the men and women of the United States armed forces a superb edge when fighting at night. While the Iraqis do have some night vision capabilities it is not anywhere near the quality, or quantity of that of the United States. As the saying of the pilots in the 160 Special Operations Air Regiment goes, “death hides in darkness”.

The Iraqis, unfortunately for them, are not armed to the teeth as quite as well as we are. Most Iraqi soldiers in the regular army of Iraq do not even have a full uniform. When several soldiers surrendered prematurely a few weeks ago to a group of British paratroopers, they were described as: “a motley bunch and you could barely describe them as solders – they were poorly equipped and didn’t even have proper boots. Their physical condition was dreadful and they had obviously not had a square meal for ages” said one of the British paratroopers. Some of them did not have shoes, none of them had full uniforms, and not all of them even had weapons. The standard issue assault rifle of the Iraqi army is the well known, AK-47. The Ak-47 holds several records including, the longest period of time that an assault rifle has been actively used. It is also estimated that there have been more AK-47 assault rifles produced than any other gun in history. It is the weapon of choice for many rebel armies, and even professional armies such as Russia and China. This is due to the low maintenance that the rifles require and its extremely low production cost. Despite the fact that the regular Iraqi army is ill equipped and under trained, the Republican guard is a totally different story. Saddam’s republican guard consists of the best soldiers, and most loyal, of Iraq. They are equipped with the best that Saddam can buy for them, well trained, and taken care of by the leader they all vowed to die protecting. Despite all of this they are still not up to the level that the American troops are, however they can certainly give our troops a run for their money, in other words they can put up a good fight, but the odd of them winning that fight are slim to none.

The not so existent Iraqi air force consists of very few, but still there, Russian Mig fighter planes, and Mil-24 Hind Russian helicopter gun ships. Saddam has very few of these up his sleeve since coalition forces destroyed most of his air force in the first Gulf War. So far he has yet to try and make a stand over Iraqi airspace, but even if he were, U.S. warplanes could fire long range Phoenix missiles at up to a range of 100 miles away and take them out long before they could shoot at our fighters.

However there is the one weapon that Saddam has that our military does fear. That is Saddam’s scud missiles. These missiles are mainly on mobile launchers in mostly unknown locations in the Iraqi desert. In the first Gulf War Saddam did launch several of these missiles armed with biological and chemical warheads. Saddam has launched several scud missiles at the coalition forces in the region, though none of them have yet to contain chemical warheads. These missiles could be fairly deadly however our military is taking extreme precautions in this area. Our troops have bunkers which they go into when scuds have been launched at them, and also have bio-suits and masks which they can dawn if there is a threat of exposure to chemical and biological agents. There are also the patriot missile batteries that can, and have in the past few weeks, shot down Saddam’s scud missiles.

So basically, as far as conventional warfare goes, Saddam has practically no chance at repelling the ever succeeding invasion of his country. His troops are not as well equipped or as well trained as the American soldiers are. His tanks and aircraft are older, and technologically inferior to American tanks and warplanes. As President Bush said, they are fighting for a dieing regime.


About Nicholas Shaver