The Logistics of War

The indispensable National Security Archives has released a memo by Rumsfeld (dated 6 October 2001) that has loads on the logistics of war.  The memo covers Rumsfeld’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and Central Asia, in preparation for the invasion of Afghanistan.  The memo has loads of fascinating tidbits including, for example, this:

Mubarak offered much advice on the war on terrorism: The U.S. should use intelligence operations as·an alternative to “too much bombing.” “Don’t be in a hurry, take it easy.” Bombing of caves by the U.S. in Afghanistan will be ineffective, like Egypt’s bombing of caves in Yemen in the 1960s. “Put your money into buying allies on the ground in

And this bit:

Karimov [of Uzbekistan] opened by listing what he has agreed to allow US forces to do and what he has not agreed to. The latter category includes land operations and air strikes from Uzbek territory, all of which he said were “not quite ripe, not quite ready.” […]

Echoing Mubarak’s advice, Karimov said: “You can buy and sell anything in Afghanistan.”· Humanitarian aid will do a lot of good and will produce results more effectively than weaponry will.  “You can buy any warlord and neutralize him. You don’t need to persuade him to join the Northern Alliance, just neutralize him.” He pressed his point: “In Afghanistan, only Afghans should fight.”

As for cooperation in the War effort, I said that we are content to continue to work on the written agreement now under negotiation. “We’ve indicated what would be helpful to us but what you do is clearly your choice. If greater cooperation ripens (to use your word), it could be helpful to us. If not, we’ll go about our task as best we can.’

As the NSA analysis indicates, Saudi Arabia “refused to allow strikes on Afghanistan being launched from its bases… Securing Egyptian support was key for the Afghanistan campaign, Rumsfeld knew, because Egypt controlled the Suez Canal, which could provide U.S. aircraft carriers passage from southwest Asia to the Mediterranean.” And finally,

While the short trip highlighted a host of logistical problems for air strikes against Afghanistan, the U.S. war with Afghanistan went ahead on October 7, two days after Rumsfeld’s return to Washington. The first strikes were launched from submarines based in the Arabian Sea, U.S. aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise, and USAF bombers launched from Diego Garcia.

Thanks to Carmi for pointing me to this memo.