Pat Lang: "Noncombatant Evacuation Operation must be accelerated & intensified"
June 22, 2014 • 11:10AM

The military skill and speed of maneuver of the Iraq insurgents should not be underestimated, especially now that they have armed themselves with Iraqi Army tanks, APCs helicopters and other vehicles. Remember that no one anticipated the capture of Mosul. These forces are more capable of possible unanticipated moves than they were then. Former top U.S. military intelligence official Pat Lang began to lay out the need for a mass evacuation of Americans and some of its parameters, in this post of June 16. Emphasis is added.

"The Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) now begun by the U.S. should be accelerated and intensified. I am informed that there are at least 25,000 U.S. citizens (official and non-official) in Iraq. Most of them are in the Baghdad area but many are in the Basra area and some must be in areas dominated by the rebels. Time is a precious commodity. If the rebels are re-positioning themselves for further large scale action in the Baghdad area, then the time it takes to do that is a commodity more precious than can be imagined. Troops and air assets from the fleet should be landed in the Baghdad area and down along the roads to Kuwait for the purpose of organizing and securing the evacuation itself. The roads to the south are open at this point. A mass overland evacuation should be organized ASAP. So far as I know, Muthanna airfield and Baghdad International airfields are unobstructed. Fixed wing air, both military and charter should be used to remove people from approaching danger. A final stage helicopter evacuation would probably be needed. Helicopters from the fleet could be used if re-fueling points are established in advance (now). Rubber fuel bladders guarded by marines would suffice. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT WILL CLING TO ANY POSSIBLE HOPE OF SAVING THE SITUATION POLITICALLY. THEY WILL CLING TO THAT UNTIL THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT. LET US NOT GAMBLE ON THEIR HOPES."