With everything happening, or not happening (in the case of the Republicans’ attempt to pass a new healthcare bill), in Washington, it is easy to miss things. Here’s one from earlier this week.
A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, which includes the Middle East, announced that the Pentagon would no longer be announcing exact numbers of troops being sent into combat in Iraq and Syria. Only general unit sizes would be provided.
The report didn’t give a reason for the change in policy. Nothing was said, or at least reported, claiming the change was necessary for military reasons. That can be true in some cases. For example, during the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. military refused to give out information on the deployment of our troops, especially where they were located. The news media complained about it at the time, saying it was censorship. But it was important to keep this information secret back then. It is hard to believe today, but 26 years ago, Saddam Hussein really didn’t know where our troops were located. His air force had been destroyed, and he didn’t have satellites or other ways to find out where they were. (He also didn’t have anybody who would give him the information, but then George H.W. Bush knew how to organize a coalition.) When the land operations started, our troops were able to surprise Saddam’s forces by moving around their right flank, ending the fighting in 100 hours.