Sunday, September 18, 2005

Heads You Win, Tails I Lose

Readers may want to read Col HR McMaster's description of the operation in Tal-Afar of September verbatim. There's too much in it to meaningfully summarize in a few short paragraphs. Several things stand out. The first is that despite the enemy's use of IEDs, snipers, mortar teams, boob-trapped buildings and the fortification of a dense urban area, Coalition forces swept through it like s..t through a goose. And this appears to be due, in part, to a creative form of battlefield shaping founded on unspecified and better sources of human and technical intelligence. Enemy delaying actions did not work. Attempts to evade and relocate did not work. Traps were sprung. Fighters trying to blend into the crowd were found. The enemy decided to defend its remaining enclaves in the city because they were out of moves.

We operated in other outlying communities and captured many more of the enemy. So now, the enemy had that option taken away from them, and they resolved then to defend this safe haven in Sarai. I had a chance to walk downtown today and found a lot of their propaganda in their abandoned fighting positions. And this propaganda was: we cannot afford to lose Tall Afar; we're going to defeat, you know, the coalition forces and Iraqi security forces here. It was exhorting their forces to defend Tall Afar at all costs. ...

These were very complex defenses in neighborhoods outside of the Sarai neighborhood, which was the center of the enemy's safe haven here. They had their command and control in a safe house in the center that was very heavily defended. Outside of that, they had defensive positions with RPG and machine gun positions. Surrounding those positions, they had homes that were rigged to be demolished by munitions as U.S. and Iraqi soldiers entered them, and then, outside of those, they had Improvised Explosive Devices, roadside bombs, implanted, buried into the roads. ...

But our forces aggressively pursued the enemy in these areas. They were able to defeat these IEDs based on the human intelligence we developed. We exploded many of them with attack helicopter fire or detonated them with our engineers. We penetrated that defense. Our tanks led with our Iraqi infantry in support. We absorbed any energy from their rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, continued the assault into these safe havens and destroyed their leadership throughout the city. ... the most dense urban terrain you can imagine, there was a very complex defense prepared there, with, again, these roadside bombs, buildings rigged for demolition, machine gun positions, sniper positions, and mortars integrated into this. But with our intelligence, our precision fires capability, we were able to severely disrupt that defense and really collapse it all around the enemy.

We had some very heavy fighting on the 5th and 6th of September, during which we killed many of the enemy, who engaged us from their forward defensive positions. And it was at that point that the enemy shifted their approach again to essentially running away from the area. They gave the word to retreat. They did everything they could to blend in with the civilians who were evacuating from this dense urban area to protect them, and we caught them. We were integrated with the population. The people were pointing out who the enemy was. We had Iraqi army who was very good at sensing something isn't quite right when this man is walking down the street with children, and the children look very nervous. This one man in particular was a beheader who had beheaded over 20 people. And we were able to capture him as the children fled, as we came up to talk to this individual, and the children related to us this man said that they had to walk with him or he would kill them. We captured five of the enemy dressed as women, trying desperately to get out of the area. Just yesterday we captured 104 of the enemy in these outlying areas.

Yet of course it was a US defeat -- how could it be otherwise? -- because Tal-Afar is now being described in the press as a fatal step on the road to Iraqi Civil War. A catastrophe. A former British officer in Iraq, Tim Collins, writes in the Telegraph about how the political meaning of military acts are sometimes beyond the control of soldiers without someone else to provide the political aspect of the solution.

The impact on the Sunni insurgents of the victory in Tal Afar must not be underestimated. With a reported 200 militants killed and a further 300 captured, this defeat is a significant setback for the extremists. Perhaps it should not be surprising that the US forces who backed the assault, 3,500 men of the US Army's 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, led by Colonel H R McMaster, were extremely conscious of the complex make-up of the -population of the area they were fighting to control. ... The extent of his success is, I believe, reflected in the high numbers of extremists accounted for, both killed and captured, despite an elaborate system of tunnels under their positions that led out to the countryside and should, theoretically, have -enabled even more to escape. It must come as a bitter pill to men such as Col McMaster to have their victory dismissed as a point scored in a sectarian contest.

Yet "the fact is that the Iraqi army that took Tal Afar is predominately Shia in composition; the force it routed, predominately Sunni" and this, Collins argues, makes Tal-Afar double-edged. The heart of the problem, he believes, is that actions are now perceived in terms defined by the insurgents and there are no moderate Sunni leaders who can provide an alternative narrative.

Civil war in Iraq is not yet inevitable, I believe, but with each new crisis its likelihood increases. The constitutional referendum on October 15, for instance, is being denounced in Sunni quarters as a charter for Shias and Kurds to divide the nation's wealth and power. ... Like the loyalists of Northern Ireland, what the Sunni moderates lack is any substantial leadership - and therefore any hope of involvement in the country's decision--making process. Let us hope a leader emerges soon, or a descent into open and unambiguous civil war is, I fear, a distinct possibility.

Of all the weapons of the insurgency, it is their ability to set the public terms of the debate that has proven the most powerful. Their model of fighting a combined media-arms campaign has created an alternative reality which Western opinion-makers unconsciously inhabit. The questions asked by a New York Times of Condoleeza Rice in a recent interview speak directly from this point of view.

Q: Can you make the case that international terror, global terror, is less of a threat now than it was four years ago?

Q: If you take a snapshot right now, is the world more dangerous than it was before?

Q: How can you look at Iraq and continue to feel that the trend lines are moving in the direction that you want to see?

91 Comments:

Blogger RWE said...

About the only news report I saw that gave any details of the Tal-afar operation was headlined "U.S. Forces try to trap enemy in Tal-Afar but they blended into the civilian population and escaped"
Thanks, as always, for the truth.

9/18/2005 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I was also impressed with Colonel McMaster's description of the enemy: They are associates of Zarqawi. They are some of the worst human beings on the face of the Earth. And it gives us no -- there is no really greater pleasure for us than to kill or capture these particular individuals.

9/18/2005 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger mjr said...

For those interested, Col. HR McMaster's actions as a Captain in the Battle of 73 Easting during the first Gulf War are described in the non-fiction "Armored Cav" by Tom Clancy, and "Into The Fire" by Gen Fred Franks and Clancy. This is the guy we want leading our efforts.

9/18/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

For Mr Collins, it's projection:

The Western media has to find a narrative in which the West loses because there is no moderate leader who provides a decent narrative for them.

IMO, the greatest problem the administration has is due to its treatment of the media as the enemy. They may well be the enemy, in a sense, but the administration has not provided any alternative means to push their own message. Bush's own inarticulate nature becomes his major stumbling block.

9/18/2005 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So it seems that when the US employees locals as part of our combat ops in Iraq, the results are markedly improved. Who'd have ever guessed that could happen.

As President Jalal Talabani previously stated, the US is already engaged in the Iraqi Civil War. We do seem to be the one's managing it's combat operations. Only the US public is in the dark about the fact that the Iraqi's believe they are already engaged in a Civil War.

27 days and counting to the Ratification Election. Our attempt at "peaceful" conclusion to the Iraqi Civil War.

The Goals of the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq will be fulfilled with the elections in October and December. Then either a new Authorization, with new Goals should be voted on if we need to remain in combat operations in Iraq, or the Constitutionality of the War Powers Act may finally be decided.
Nah...

On a lighter note... Anyone that would hire Mr. Brown to administrate ANYTHING should be considered for replacement, themselves. His management of the Arabian Horse Association, with the reports of Fraud and Payoffs there, would have led anyone that ran an even limited background check on the guy to steer clear. Well clear.

9/18/2005 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

After hearing of the success at the Tal-afar operation I cant but juxapose the "jenin-operation" that the Israeli's conducted several years ago...

Odd how there is no calls at the UN about the genocide the USA is doing...

Noone talking about the crime of destroying homes...

but please dont take my point as "anti-tal-afar operation", i just want to see the world have one standard when the forces of the west embrace the forces of islamifascism.

I predict that Gaza (which now has completed it's import of 300 tons of weapons) will turn into a real war zone, and thus Israel will have to do a Tal-Afar operation...

The of course I see the UN condemning Israel for war crimes.. No matter that Hamistan (as HAMAS has called it) is the newest created (by the west) terrorist state, no matter that as we speak, already Gaza has attacked Israel today, Israel will in fact have new resolutions against it....

9/18/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In a receny piece, Mr V.D. Hanson lists all the positives that have come from the use of US force in Iraq. Libya, Lebennon, etc.
He then goes on to say
"... A majority of Americans have tired of Iraq. ... In an iconic war, the symbols of radical Islam fighting against the United States — bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, Zarqawi — are all loose to inspire our enemies with mythologies of American impotence. Iran and Syria, unlike in the spring of 2003, are convinced that their efforts at subverting Iraq will either pay off with a perpetually crippled neighbor, or at least cause so much chaos that the tired American public would never support retaliation against either Teheran or Damascus for their support of terrorism. And they are absolutely right in their calculations — unless Iraq stabilizes soon and Americans can see a radically different government in a secure country as the dividend of their sacrifices. ...".

For those of US that want to see a "knock out blow" he offers this segment of wisdom:

"...If the trends of the last month — more Iraqi participation, constitutional discussions, fewer attacks on Americans, Iraqi predictions of fewer U.S. troops needed — hold steady, then the public will grudgingly restore their support, the Middle East really will be forever altered, and the anti-war left will retreat to lick its wounds. The administration can tell the gung-ho right it prevailed while avoiding deploying several hundreds of thousands of troops in the Middle East and sapping its entire war-making potential — while a restive China of a billion people scares far more than radical Islam. ..."

VD Hanson

Why not Osama?
NOW
Porker your reasoning for letting him run free, from a past thread, is, at best, weak.

9/18/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pork,
There canNOT be one standard, because,
...well just, Because.
---
I thought C4 said we wouldn't get any human intel until we spent millions training white guys all about their culture.
Isn't using Iraqis to do the same,
CHEATING?
---
Each day it becomes more obvious how many lives would have been saved by leveling Tikrit at the outset.

9/18/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

Undertoad:

The media IS the enemy. Since 90% of it is leftist and against Mr. Bush, how would you suggest he counter that? They refuse to print any good news out of Iraq.

Tal Afar is an outstand success, as was Tet. The Walter Cronkite's of today will have none of that. It won't matter how good a position Iraq is in when the US leaves, the left wants it to be a defeat and it will be in their eyes.

The civil war so prayed for by the left ain't going to happen. The Sunni's are taking to the ballot box in spite of Zarqawi's threat to kill any who vote. The IDF are getting up to speed and playing an even greater positive role. The human intel is better because of the IDF and the trust Americans have earned from the Iraqis.

desert rat: we're winning bigtime, deal with it!

9/18/2005 07:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah Porker
Hamastan has a niec ring to it
When do you think they will put up a statue to it's founding father, Mr. Sharon?

9/18/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
What do YOU know about Arabian Horses?
...and since Arabs are in the news lately, shouldn't he get credit for THAT?

9/18/2005 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Winning at what, eddiep?
Taking out a city, there was never a doubt that US Force could dismantle Tal Afar. Or anywhere else in the country of Iraq.
I am not speaking of TODAY.
Today is a done deal, the elections in October WILL ratify the Constitution. The elections in December WILL cement Iraq's position as a democratic Republic.
Those are GIVENS.
What comes next?
When playing chess, how many moves ahead do you think?

The MSM will tie Iraq and the GWoT together, Bush has alreadt done so. When Victory is declared, in December, the MSM and the "others" will portray that as the end of the GWoT.
With mid-term elections just months away, and afterwards a lame duck President, well, we will have lost by winning.
I've seen it before, firsthand.

9/18/2005 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

EddieP,
If you can pretend to see the MSM as unbiased, then you can truly see Bush as an inarticulate bumbler.
Try it sometime.

9/18/2005 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

"desert rat; Why not Osama?

Porker your reasoning for letting him run free, from a past thread, is, at best, weak."

I think you have mistaken me for someone else, I want osama's head on a stick (wrapped in pig skin)

9/18/2005 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
You don't think Rove knows that too?

9/18/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Careful Pork, 'Rat's on a Roll.
eewh!

9/18/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

doug
I've done pretty well in Arabian Horses, over the past 20 years.
The premier Arabian Horse in the US came from, you'll never guess, Poland.
Bask, a fabulous stud horse that died a number of years ago was a really buetiful animal.
The Show business of Arabian Horses is a BIG MONEY game.
The horses sometimes described as 'soap on a rope', but that is from the detractors.

Mr Brown is reputed to have had challenges with the truth when he handled their business.
Publishing reports of those challenges cost over $50,000 to defend ourselves against, in court.
We won, but the cost was high.
The benefits fleeting.

9/18/2005 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Good moves, Tal Afar, and this ISN'T chess!

The CHILDREN had the stones to give him up! We're doing something REALLY RIGHT in Iraq!

Go, free Iraq!

9/18/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

"Hamastan has a niec ring to it
When do you think they will put up a statue to it's founding father, Mr. Sharon?"

interesting pov missed by the MSM, if 100,000 gazans can move into the sinai in a matter of days NOT being motivated by fear (rather joy), what is to stop 1,000,000 gazans from fleeing into the sinai when Hamistan is formed and attacked Israel (nation to nation)


Personally, i see war coming, the arab world sees the disengagement from gaza as retreat, i see it as a wonderful opportunity. already al-Qaeda is calling for it's fighters to come to gaza to fight, as they should...

In the end I see 1,000,000 gazans fleeing to the sinai, leaving a war zone (or as I see it, a free fire zone) and what happened in Tal-arar will happen in gaza..

9/18/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
I've come up with the perfect name for a racehorse:
Further Adieu:
"Fears that Further Adieu suffered a fractured femur turned out to be greatly exaggerated, and turned out to be much adieu about nothing."
JOCK TALK:
"As you know, Brett, there's been much adieu about the doping scandal, and Further Adieu won't make the field of this year's Preakness.
So for the first time in three years, the Preakness will be run without Further Adieu."

Retirement: 
"It is a sad day for Horse Racing fans, as the world bids Further Adieu adieu."
...And so on.

9/18/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If Rove knew, and he should have, he opened Bush to a well deserved spanking.
Cronyism, I'm not sure what makes someone a 'crony' but Mr. Brown is not to be trusted, just look at his resume. He made it up.
Of course Rove should have known.
The FBI would have known if they read his resume and looked at his birth date. Matching his purported jobs to his age would have done him in, in fact, it did.
Better late than never.

9/18/2005 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat,
Miscommunication there.
I'm on record a week ago saying Brown was obviously an incompetent jerk.
...but be sure to listen to that mp3 of the Superdome Survivors that I posted 2 threads back.
They have NO doubt who was the primary bad actor in this affair.

9/18/2005 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Rove connection I was refering to was your 7:44 AM post.

9/18/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Carridine
I am all for a free Iraq
Have been since before the Invasion.
A free Iraq means just that, though. Iraq for, and by, Iraqis.
The sooner the better.

The chess analogy is just that an anology. When England and Russia dueled it out in the "Great Game" it really was not a "Game", either.
If one plays chess and does not think and play ahead, instead only reacts to the opponents moves, they'll lose.

9/18/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hoping we can do better than losing by winning.
Hope springs eternal.

9/18/2005 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You'd assume they see it coming. If I can, so can everyone else.

Porker, you are correct in that I FALSELY mistook you for PC^killa, sorry for the mistaken id.

PC's reasoning is WEAK, re: the capture or destruction of Osama

9/18/2005 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

No prob, Rat,
They tend to all look the same anyhows.

9/18/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard,

My friends in Oil and Gas are salivating to get chance to explore in Anbar province. The old methods of 2-D exploration gave false negatives in the type of geology in Anbar. These geophysicists have very good reason to believe that the Sunnis are sitting on reserves equal to what Iraq has now in the Kurdish and Shia areas.

Furthermore, the logical route out of Anbar is overland via a new pipeline through Jordan and Israel. The other routes don't have the capacity.

Don't count the Sunnis out. They are hard nosed, capable men. There are a lot of Sunni businessmen who can make good leaders. They just need to sort things out.

9/18/2005 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Amen, RR.
Forget if it was you that first brought up the 2d/3d.
...but have a harder time figuring out how we sort out the good Sunnis from the bad.

9/18/2005 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger nonomous said...

The media business is fairly simple, attract the maximum number of eyeballs and sell time with those eyeballs to companies in retail businesses. What brings in the eyeballs? Gripping emotional images: death, destruction, pathos and terror. No matter what happens; the media must suggest death, destruction, pathos and terror are omnipresent. It must make this claim because it is a requirement of their business model.

The existence of our long running 'disaster reality show' in Iraq is troubling, but a danger only if responsible people take it seriously. People in leadership positions must maintain their own objectivity. The stuff designed to sell soap and deodorants, is not that which provides a basis for public policy.

The responsible solution is to avoid taking the media 'reality show' as 'reality'. Bush is a master of this art. How else could he win two presidential campaigns despite continuous attacks from those that sell soap and deodorants?

Iraq will not succumb to civil war simply because Zarqawi says one exists. He is a madman hiding in a cave.

Iraq will not succumb to civil war simply because Arab Sunni leaders make no public peace with the Shias. The Shias had no public peace with Sadam, and there was no civil war.

Iraq will not succumb to a civil war just because CNN says one exists. CNN's revenues will be greatly enhanced by a civil war, so they obviously want one. This is not going to raise the cash and martyrs required to create more than the 'bomb for TV' incidents they already fund.

All that is needed to defeat the MSMs heads you lose, tails I win rhetoric is a few clear-headed individuals willing to publicly note that the emperor has no clothes. Fortunately, the Internet is sure to give such individuals a forum.

9/18/2005 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

From William Lind at http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_9_15_05.htm

As the chorus saying “sweeps are useless” grows, inside as well as outside the military, the U.S. military in Iraq continues its sweeps. The latest Iraqi city to get swept is Tal Afar. Predictably, the Iraqi guerillas did what they should and got out, escaping through exactly the sort of tunnel system John Poole describes in his excellent books. We stand holding an empty bag, in a city whose population we have thoroughly alienated.

This time, though, there was a difference. The American Commando Supremo made sure the “Iraqi Army” took the lead. What that actually meant was that the invasion of Tal Afar, a city populated by Turkmen, was led by Kurdish pesh merga militiamen. The September 13 Washington Post reports,

As in the past several days, Iraqi soldiers drawn primarily from the Kurdish pesh merga militia led the operation …

Just after 7 a.m., they streamed into the adjoining neighborhoods of Hassan Koy and Uruba, taking every military-age man into custody at a makeshift pen established by U.S. forces …

U.S. commanders have praised the performance of the Kurdish forces during the operation, while privately expressing concern that their tactics sometimes verge on being heavy-handed. The pesh merga supports Kurdish rebels fighting the government of neighboring Turkey …

Hello? Did anyone in the higher ranks of the U.S. military ever hear the term “cultural intelligence?” Using Kurds against a Turkish city is like turning Hutus loose on Tutsis or the IRA on Orangemen. We can now add a Kurd vs. Turkmen civil war to the one already underway between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites.

Nor does the damage stop at the Iraqi border. I would bet dinars to dollars that the Kurdish assault on Tal Afar has been the front page story in every newspaper in Turkey for days. Worse, the whole Turkish population has seen the U.S. military hold the Kurds’ coat for them while they kick the crap out of fellow Turks. The Post reported that, “Some of the American soldiers taunted the detainees by asking them, ‘Can you say Abu Ghraib?’” So much for winning at the moral level.

9/18/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Elections, doug
The Sunnis will either sort themselves out, soon, or there will be a lot less of them to be sorted.
The Elections are coming.
Are the Sunnis like American Blacks and vote in a Bloc or are they like Americans of Mexican or Italian or Irish descent and vote as individuals?
The answer to that question is the one the carries Iraq's immediate future.
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. The Sunnis may not have the patience required for "new". Or they may, that is why they have elections, ya know.
Bush Doctrine wins in 27 days, regardless of the electoral outcome.
Then what?

9/18/2005 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

nonomous
If there is no Civil War in Iraq why pray tell does their President, Jalal Talabani, thank US for participating in it?

That is not from the US MSM, but from the Iraqi's President. I am sure he has a much better sense of what's up "on the ground" than anyone here at BC or in Washington.

9/18/2005 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

From Strategy Page:

Meanwhile, in Tal Afar, the government is using a similar tactic that is weakening the terrorist organizations. Thousands of local civilians are being hired for reconstruction jobs.

American civil affairs units have been most aggressive with this tactic, developed and honed over the last two years. Even while the fighting is going on, civil affairs teams are noting what infrastructure is in need of rebuilding, or is getting damaged. As soon as Iraqi police declare a neighborhood pacified, hiring begins to help unload and distribute relief supplies, rebuild roads and electrical systems, and do any other jobs that need being done.

Workers are paid daily, and given one more reason to stay away from the terrorist organizations. Not that a lot of unemployed Sunni Arabs need much encouragement there. By now, it�s almost impossible to get volunteers to attack the Americans, and prices to hire people for that work keep going up.

Shooting at Americans is seen as suicide, because not only do the Americans promptly shoot back very accurately, but they then come after you. The Americans have those damn little planes in the sky, the ones with cameras, making it difficult for attackers to hide or get away.

It�s much easier to attack Iraqi police or soldiers. But these guys are now wearing body armor, and will counter-attack as well. Worse, the Iraqi police will start questioning people in the area, put up roadblocks, and hunt you down. It�s getting so hard to be a bad guy in Iraq.

9/18/2005 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Lab Rat said...

Desert Rat said "As President Jalal Talabani previously stated, the US is already engaged in the Iraqi Civil War. We do seem to be the one's managing it's combat operations. Only the US public is in the dark about the fact that the Iraqi's believe they are already engaged in a Civil War."

Um, didn't you know that U.S. involvement in other countries civil wars is an old American tradition?

The Banana Wars, Korea, Grenada, Lebanon Acts 1 and 2, Iraq - I'm sure I can think of more.

In fact, I think we should be involved in the civil wars soon to break out in Syria and Iran.

Israel can handle Gaza and the West Bank though...

We are a global economic and cultural Empire now. It's time to take off the gloves and be a military one also - a Pax Americana for real, if you will...

9/18/2005 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Undertoad said...

The media IS the enemy. Since 90% of it is leftist and against Mr. Bush, how would you suggest he counter that? They refuse to print any good news out of Iraq.

How I would counter that? What, are we smart enough to defeat enemies on foreign lands and not defeat them at home? Use a little skill, a little Art-of-War, if you want to defeat your enemy sing his song:

1) I would get someone extremely telegenic, who speaks the language of the left, to be press secretary. What the administration has done instead: found the most bland, cold, monotonic white male and had him treat the media with hostility. That hasn't actually worked.

2) I would find someone with the ability of Karen Hughes to write speeches. Someone who could make advantage of the President's ability to speak the language of the common man, as they used to when she was in the White House. What the administration has done instead: repeated the same non-working message over and over and over. Drifted into Bush speaking down to his theoretical audience.

9/18/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I am not afraid of, or even against, participating in the Civil Wars of others. The intervention in Iraq was, from the get go, entry into their Civil War.

I do not see why the matter is even open to discussion, honestly. The Insurgents in Iraq are, for the most part, over 90+% Sunni's. They are led by former Baathists.
Operating from within Iraq and from Syria these men are the remains of Saddam's Forces.
They may wish to regain control of Iraq, but no longer pose a threat to the homeland of US. They no longer represent the "State" of Iraq, having become fugitives within Iraq or exiles in Syria.

As common cents posted earlier we are using troops from one region of the Iraq to pacify other areas. This is a Policy, I believe, we should have commenced with well over a year ago. That, though, is water under the bridge, so to speak.

Without honest discussion and vernacular we stand no chance of keeping the US Public involved, positively, in the Millennium Mahdi Wars.
That is TRUELY the key to Victory over the Mohammedans.

9/18/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

A while back I wondered what would be our simple statement on the GWOT, one along the line's of the explanation given of the Cold War by the Admiral in Mitchner's "The Bridges of Toko Ri"
I think Col McMaster may have given it to us when he detailed the brutality and tactics of the enemy in Tal Afar and said "So, really there could be no better enemy for our soldiers and Iraqi Army soldiers to pursue and defeat..."
No Better Enemy to Defeat.
I.E., No one who needs killing more.
That sums it up.
Simple, and easy to remember.
Good bumper sticker material.

9/18/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/18/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Look, the US military is getting exactly the kind of experience the IDF has been getting for decades. Just in time, too.

The same tactics will be used by muslim forces in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London. Only the British troops in London will be semi-prepared to respond. The mainland Euros will be helpless and forced to call for help to the US military, yet again.

The single biggest dividend from the war in Iraq, for the US, is the experience its officers and NCO's are accumulating in fighting this type of warfare.

Contrast Israel and Russia. Israel has learned to contain the muslim threat against that part of the civilised world. The muslim threat is steadily moving into the west, the heart of western civilisation, along with muslim immigration.

Perhaps Bush hoped to contain the threat in the middle east, but it is far too late for that.

9/18/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

What happens when prisoners are "captured"? I keep seeing 300 captured here, 500 captured there -- after months and months of this you've got to have thousands of "captured" "prisoners".

Are they all being locked up in Abu Ghraib, which is a finite facility and must have "captured prisoners" oozing through the keyholes by now, if that's where they're poking them into.

Are we still skimming the cream of the prisoner crop and transferring them to Guantanamo?

Are we re-patriating them to their home countries for up-close and personal attention by their own governments who are trying to stamp out those-who-blow-things-up, like has been reported in Saudi Arabia?

Or are they just being quietly disappeared and fed to the desert? Which is absolutely fine and dandy with me.

I've just never seen anything that talks about the next step, after the "fighters" are "captured".

9/18/2005 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Check this out

It falls under the
"Whatever it takes to Win" heading,
I guess. US enlisting the aid of and funding of the Communists in Afghanistan.

"... Indeed, the former communists -- along with some newly returned Afghan diaspora -- are the only locals with experience in running a country: They are the only literate bureaucrats around. And in a country plagued by illiteracy and ravished by decades of civil war, the scarcity of trained local officials has made them a desirable commodity. Similarly, former comrades are the only Afghans who are tried and tested in party organization. The Afghan communist party, regardless of its factionalism and shortcomings, was a true party of sorts: It had cadres, a semi-formalized membership structure, as well as women's wings and youth organizations. Peter Dimitroff, the country director of the National Democratic Institute, a leading, mostly US-funded NGO, ''appreciates the irony in his organization's support for former communist groups. ''We support all registered parties, but we support some in a deeper fashion. We like groups that get together on the basis of ideas not ethnicity or geographical background. That is why we are supporting groups like the communists with US money, which is kind of funny . . . They are good guys and well organized. They are the closest to a professional political party you can get." ..."

9/18/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

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9/18/2005 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/18/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

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9/18/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...



Commies in Afghanistan

9/18/2005 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The MSM

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

9/18/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Desert Rat,

Are you trying to get people to use the term Civil War wrt Iraq? I agree that term is appropriate. The problem is people do not want to surrender debate ground to gain more ground

For example after 9/11 the leftists quickly took a patch of ground by stating "they attacked us because of our policies". Many on the right then refused to concede the point because as we know the left is trying to blame our policies for the 9/11 event.

Guess what? The left is right on that fine point. This then leads us to question the correctness of the policies.

Same with the civil war aspect of what is happening in Iraq. Many don't concede that it is a civil war because to many that would give the left a debating/prognostication victory. However, this then leads us to a point where we can ask the left if they really are rooting for the side that like to use plastic shredders to tear up those who dissent, ala Chris Hitchens vs. Ghoulish "Lord Haw-Haw" Galloway.

9/18/2005 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Iraqis, eventually, are released. Ask LTC Kurilla about that.
As for the non Iraqis, well that is an interesting question. The 82nd recently deployed about a battalion strength force of Detainee Guards.
Hopefully the Paratroopers can keep the foreigners behind US wire, for the duration of our GWoT.

9/18/2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat: PC's reasoning is WEAK, re: the capture or destruction of Osama.

Maybe. But I sure hope I'm right. Osama, like Saddam, is pretty much worthless as an intelligence source. It's the middle operators that we want. As long as Osama and his group are there to give orders to these people, it's our best method to track those leads and contacts. Once the middle operators become separated from the leadership group it will be that much harder to track them down. I think, it's better to allow the leadership to survive so the middle operators do not take on an autonomous role in their absence, and thus be allowed become independent of outside contact.

9/18/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/18/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The fact that Cedarfard and other Islamofascists and Leftists are so eager for the capture of OBL, also leads me to suspect that there's an inherent disadvantage to doing so

9/18/2005 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Yes, but can the insurgents hug anyone with media arms?

Listen, there is only two ways to fight a media campaign. One is to set the tone, tempo, and debate, in other words, the 'narrative,' 'spin,' et. al.

The other is to set the truth. So the government breaks Abu Ghraib, not the media, but the government gives Iraq a nascent democratic state and not the dam-blown, chemical holocaust, tripartite state the media claimed two years ago.

Look at Fallujah I; we advanced slowly, surely like in Tal Afar, the media called it atrocity and we pulled out. Fallujah II we went in hard and heavy, denying the media time and participation; the result was that the conversation changed when the reality changed.

Speed is important but so is endurance, transparency is important but so is opacity. The dilemma of a media-arms campaign is that some things are not negotiable after the fact. We can quickly change the facts on the ground and wait out the narrative until it collapses of its own soggy weight, reveal fact after fact after fact after fact but stonewall the half-hearted laziness of reporters. The media and guerrillas are formidable, but we've seen, not invincible.

9/18/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Iraqi situation and the War on Terror both need to be won.

If we refuse to speak to truth because of internal politics, refusing to call a spade a spade, the US Public will quit on the War. As they are doing, as we discuss the matter.

Without putting honesty before debating points the Administration will not be able to rally the folk.

It is true the WoT is due to US Policy. The Mohammedan Mahdi Army leaders oppose US policies and have gone to WAR because of them.
I do not advocate changing our policies to placate the Mohammedans. Anything but.

Weeks ago, the posters here at BC, spoke of the need of a war amongst the Mohammedans, to "modernize" or "secularize" their religion.

Well, we are in the midst of that War. Iraq is but one Front.
There are other Fronts, outside of Afghanistan and Iraq, that need US attention. As long as our Military are tied down in Iraq we cannot extend our Force, both Hard & Soft, into the other Fronts.

Even in Tel Afar we utilized less than 4,000 US troops. Not much of a spear point for a Force of 138,000 Americans. Do we need such a large 'footprint' to support the activities of the Shooters? If so that is another challenge for the US to face, again the sooner the better.

We know that, in Iraq, we will have established an independent Republic in just 27 days. The Iraqis will have a ground force that, with US assistance, will dominate the Iraqi landscape.

The real debate about Iraq is over.

What comes next is where we must focus our attention.

9/18/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

PC
It could be that we have left Osama on the back burner just so we can turn up the heat, when we need to.

The Opfor plans to spin US withdrawal as a defeat for US, no matter the situation on the ground.

What if, as we withdraw from Iraq, we enter Pakistan to take down Osama and whatever Legion he has there.

That would definately counter the Mohammedan spin of US defeat, while at the same time it is a Campaign that the US Public WOULD support.

9/18/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat: while at the same time it is a Campaign that the US Public WOULD support.

What does that mean? US Public = MSM reality distortion field? I suggest you look to the recent election results if you need some clarity on this issue.

9/18/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

I think its helpful to understand that islam is a late empire religion. In this case the empire we're talking about is oil.

But oil is going to be supplanted and not some distant decade from now.
Doug

I think we're going to see that very positive language again that was present in the USA in the 18th & 19th centuries.

I've got a seminar to go to but soon as I have time I'll post a link to some of the interesting stuff going on in desal.

9/18/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

nonomous,

Do you really believe the garbage you have written, expecially the media bull shit?

If so, there is no need to respond to you! Intelligence is required for communication. Copying media loser talking points DOES NOT qualify.

9/18/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

nomous,

Let me re-phrase that. I may have misread your post. Someone else was praising the media garbage. My mistake! Sorry!

9/18/2005 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pc
That Bush was a better candidate than Kerry and won is totally correct.
The election does not give the Republicans either a free hand or infallibility.
In the Spring of '06 the US will begin to withdraw from Iraq. After fulfilling our stated, by law, Use of Force Goals.
That the Public would support a "new" campaign against Syria or Iran is doubtful, at best. There is not enough time in Bush's term to gear up Public support for either "new" endeavor.
The Public will support, by a great margin, a Campaign to take out Osama. He is the only reasonable next Target that Bush & Company could rally the Public to.

If we do not take on Osama, by the Spring of '06, the "War on Terror" will be all but over by this time next year.

9/18/2005 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Desert Rat,

Why not "The War for Kurdish Independence"?

Doug,

I agree about Tikrit. It should have been razed on D-day H-hour and open season declared on every member of the al-Tikriti clan with bounties paid for every scalp taken.

It really would have sped things up.

9/18/2005 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The longer the Kurds stay in the Republic the better, I guess, for US. Our "Allies" in the region do not want an independent Kurdistan. To placate them we are working to keep the Kurds intergrated into the Republic.
As common cents posted they are now the Frontline troops of the IDF. Best to keep them there, if possible.
If Iraq was really going down the tubes, which it is not, then the Kurds would break away. As it is the President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, is of Kurdish descent.

9/18/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If the Pakistani Army entered the Warzistan region as a follow on force, as we withdrew, after taking Osama.
They would get US to pacify a region that had resisted the Central Governments authority & monopoly of force.
Winners all around
The assualt campaign, from Afghanistan & Air, should not take long.
If we NEVER took Civil control...

9/18/2005 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

d'Rat: The longer the Kurds stay in the Republic the better, I guess, for US.

I disagree. Kurdistan is the Iraq that was meant to be, and is not. To my thinking, it would be best if the US realigned itself with the Kurds. There's absolutely no reason to placate the Turks on this issue after they burned us during the invasion of Iraq and the hunt for WoMDs. There's also no reason to placate the Syrians, the Iranians or the Iraqi Sunnis on this issue. The kurds should be allowed their political independence and be given a right to vote for succession in those respective areas. I also like this idea because it will most likely throw a wrench into the whole Eurabia project and the Islamic invasion of Europe.

9/18/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

DRat, I think PC^Killa ia right. Just who are these "Allies" we are placating, anyway? Our only significant ally is the UK, and in their case the population may not be behind the government anyway, given the currently existing circumstances. The Kurds would probably happily bust Syria, Turkey and even Iran if properly armed and guided.

9/18/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

pc
On this I personally agree with you. The question, though, was why not?
I gave what, I think, is the correct answer for US wishing to keep the Iraqi Republic whole.

I think a Kurdistan would disrupt both Iran & Syria, as well as Turkey.

Being landlocked would not be a benefit to them, but there are more than a few landlocked countries.

Besides if we can help create a multi-ethnic Republic in Iraq, now that is a REAL win for the Bush/ US Doctrine.
An independent Kurdistan is always going to be available as a fall back position.

9/18/2005 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

PC - don't you think that's what the current strategy is? That alliance with the Kurds. I'm sure the Kurds have been promised nice things if they cooperate, and I'm equally sure Turkey has been told to keep their sticky fingers *off* or Very Bad Things will happen. Remember that immediately after we went into Baghdad 3 years ago, Turkish troops tried a mini-invasion from the north and were rounded up and escorted back, with harsh words for their government sponsors.

It further seems likely that one of the sticks being used to herd the Iraqi's into some semblance of democractic behavior is that if they don't, we'll just give the whole kit & kaboodle to the Kurds ... so there!

9/18/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The "Allies" are Turkey and KSA.
Turkey because they have oppressed the Kurds for decades and would lose a large portion of their eastern geography.
The KSA want the Kurds in Iraq to act as balance to the Shia majority. The KSA fears, I believe, a strong Shia dominated Iraq.
The Shia are not advocates of Wahabiism and are not all that popular in the KSA's Palaces.

9/18/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Returning to Wretchard's theme "Heads You Win, Tails I Lose" it's clear we are in the 6th inning of a huge propaganda campaign by the MSM.

I agree with nonomous that the media feeds off of sensationalism (mostly in the form of gruesome violence) but, the MSM can be bought if the price is right. Rewind back to the 1930's when Pulitzer prize winning Walter Duranty of the NY Times sold out to Stalin.

[Arnold Beichman in The Weekly Standard notes a few headlines]:

"Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda."
--New York Times, August 23, 1933

"There is no famine or actual starvation nor is there likely to be."
--New York Times, Nov. 15, 1931, page 1

"There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."
--New York Times, March 31, 1933, page 13

see: Pulitzer-Winning Lies

We are seeing that type of misinformation today. It's important to note the upcoming Iraqi constitution and the fact that Saddam will stand trial plays a roll in the propaganda (now, one would assume with Saddam's lawyer is manipulating the MSM as much as possible with Saddam's cash stash in Syria). Wretchard noted Tim Collin's piece as an example. If you read the piece reverse order (bottom to the top) you will come away with a completely different picture. Rejiggering a piece is an old MSM trick (it would be interesting to find out if Collins or the Telegraph's editors arraigned the piece that fashion). RWE, Vercingetorix and others have some good ideas of how win the propaganda war.

I personally believe that the MSM is actually in quagmire and will probably have to reform or go under. With the Internet the MSM may have already lost but the out-come will not be evident for quite some time.

Some blame the Bush Administration for not spinning the MSM like Clinton did. Sure the Bush Administration could have done a better job (every job can be done better) but it's a different time and different set of circumstances. I will say that there is a lot of sensational terror acts that could be properly spun to work against the terrorists. I am not sure if that job falls upon the Bush Administration or others - including bloggers.


I partially agree with desert rat: "We know that, in Iraq, we will have established an independent Republic in just 27 days. The Iraqis will have a ground force that, with US assistance, will dominate the Iraqi landscape.

The real debate about Iraq is over. What comes next is where we must focus our attention.
"

I say this because even if the Iraqi Constitution is not in place in 27 days the TAL will suffice untill it does. The game is about over (that is not say we will not have troops there for a long time - just look at Korea).

Further, I do agree that Mohammedan conflict with democracy must be eventually dealt with. But, one thing at a time. In general, you always want to divide on conquer your enemy. This maybe why Bush does not what to coral all Arabs into the Mohammedan group (it may just strengthen them). And, it may have some bearing on why certain countries have not be attacked (i.e., Syria or Iran).

Getting back to the battle, I read the press conferences and came away very impressed with the whole Tall Afar campaign. I clear that we are dealing with an enemy that is (or at least should be) repulsive to most humans.

[Iraqi press conference]:

GEN. AZIZ [Brigadier General Abdul Aziz]: I would like to tell you some examples about what the terrorists did in Tall Afar. One incident, a 10-year-old boy was booby-trapped with explosives and was sent to his family and he was exploded among his family. This is one of the operations carried out by the terrorists. They closed the hospital and drove out the doctors from the hospital, and they did that before the military operation. One of the patients was transferred by an ambulance. They stopped the ambulance and they kidnapped him and they killed the patient. They slayed (sic) him. They cut his hand and his leg. They booby-trapped him and left him until his father and brother came, and they exploded him when they came near him so that they killed his father and his brother.

And they also killed a small boy by choking him. They strangled the boy. And they entered the intensive care hall in the hospital and they killed one of the patients. And they took his escort and they beheaded him and they threw him in the street
.

[Iraqi citizens terrorized]

MIN. AL-DULAIMI: And the number of the victims before the starting of the military operation -- until the 15th of August -- which have been committed by terrorists against the city -- the city of Tall Afar -- they killed about 232 innocent citizens through booby-trapped (cars ?) and they have kidnapped about 78 people, and they have deported about 676 families, and they have injured 20 people.




BRIEFING WITH IRAQI MINISTER OF DEFENSE SAADOUN AL-DULAIMI AND IRAQI BRIGADIER GENERAL ABDUL AZIZ


[American press conference]

COL. MCMASTER: ...First of all, Tall Afar is positioned along routes that lead from Mosul into Syria ...This is an enemy, who when they came in, they removed all the imams from the mosques, and they replaced them with Islamic extremist laymen. They removed all the teachers from the schools and replaced them with people who had a fifth-grade education and who preached hatred and intolerance. They murdered people. In each of their cells that they have within the city has a direct action cell of about 100 or so fighters. They have a kidnapping and murder cell; they have a propaganda cell, a mortar cell, a sniper cell -- a very high degree of organization here. And what the enemy did is to keep the population from performing other activities. To keep the population afraid, they kidnapped and murdered large numbers of the people here, and it was across the spectrum. A Sunni Turkmen imam was kidnapped and murdered. A very fine man, a city councilman, Councilman Suliman (sp), was pulled out of his car in front of his children and his wife and gunned down with about 30 gunshot wounds to his head. The enemy conducted indiscriminate mortar attacks against populated areas and wounded scores of children and killed many others. The enemy here did just the most horrible things you can imagine, in one case murdering a child, placing a booby trap within the child's body and waiting for the parent to come recover the body of their child and exploding it to kill the parents. Beheadings and so forth...

Q: Colonel, Bob Burns from Associated Press. Have you captured or killed any known associates of Zarqawi in this operation? And also, as the extremists have fled the city, have they left behind -- have you found any unconventional weapons or other unusual items?

COL. MCMASTER: ...Yes, we have. We have captured many associates of Zarqawi. We have captured many of the leaders who we had targeted during this operation. And I don't know what has been released so far so I'm not going to really comment on the specifics, but we have been very effective with a broader team here and specialized capabilities to track down the enemy leadership. And this is a very important part of this campaign because these are the intimidators, these are the worst of the worst. And we have been very effective against them. They are associates of Zarqawi. They are some of the worst human beings on the face of the Earth. And it gives us no -- there is no really greater pleasure for us than to kill or capture these particular individuals.


[Chemical weapons as bobby traps]

...In terms of specialized weapons, some crude attempts... in the western part of the city... The enemy had rigged a lot of buildings for destruction, and they wanted to time the destruction of these buildings with the entry of our forces. In one of these buildings the enemy had big barrels of chemicals that had explosives implanted in the chemicals, wires running around, and the whole house was rigged for demolition. Around this house a lot of families were living. Our soldiers were conducting an area reconnaissance operation. They went into this house. Immediately their eyes began burning, their throat began burning, so they withdrew out of the house immediately and then we conducted reconnaissance with some chemical protective gear and with a remote reconnaissance capability into the house and we could tell that the thing was rigged with chemicals. We stopped all of our operations... We evacuated the civilians from the area and then we demolished that building without a hazard to the people.

[enemy propaganda]

...I don't know if you've been following some of the enemy's propaganda. You know, one of the cells in this enemy's structure here, this very well developed enemy structure, is a propaganda cell. And on the sort of jihadist and extremist websites, they've been saying, you know, that coalition forces are using chemical weapons. I think what they had hoped to do was detonate this building, kill innocent civilians in this neighborhood and then blame it on coalition forces. But we preempted their ability to do that by evacuating the civilians from that building. That's one example of it. We found some manuals that describe how they could make sort of these kind of chemical dirty bombs and so forth. But, you know, if the enemy had the capability to use it... this enemy is absolutely unscrupulous and I have no doubt that they would use it against innocent civilians and armed forces. So all the more important reason to make sure they don't have a place to develop these kind of plans, to conduct this kind of training. And that's, I think, one of the greatest success of this operation, is the safe haven is gone for them.

[Tall Afar different from Fallujah]

Q: Colonel, it's Thom Shanker from The New York Times. I know that every mission is different. But as you describe the insurgent defenses, their order of battle, where they fought and faded away, I couldn't help but hear resonance of Fallujah. I'm just curious whether the insurgency you faced in Tall Afar was the same insurgency [as in Fallujah] ...whether they have grown and learned or are doing something different now. And... for you, were there things that you did differently in this operation because you learned your own military's lessons of Fallujah ?

COL. MCMASTER: ...We learn from our fellow units, we've learned from operations in Fallujah... We read a lot about previous operations in Tall Afar. And no, it's not the same enemy, I don't think. It's a similar enemy. It's an enemy that has combined radical Islamic extremism and influences from transnational terrorist organizations and Saddamists... former regime elements. Much of the population here who was complicit with the terrorists are former members of the old regime's Republican Guard. Many of their senior warrant officers, for example, which is equivalent to senior NCOs in our army. So you have this melding together of an extremist enemy with a significant amount of military experience... basically... in a lot of areas of this city, it was -- it was the schoolhouse for the enemy. And they would go in -- they took over schools. They would go into schools, have classes on how to do an IED... literally, chalkboards. We've got photos of students and teachers standing in front of chalkboards. And, you know, in one engagement we had about a month ago we were able to gain observation of the enemy having an IED class outside of a school with, you know, 30 people gathered around, digging up a hole, and showing how you put in an IED. Now, we disrupted their class with an artillery attack that resulted in 30 of the enemy being killed on that occasion. But it's another example of what the enemy was using this area for. So we found these classroom environments. We... found training ammunition... for AK-47s, sniper manuals, mortar manuals... so that the function of this place was different from Fallujah , the dynamics here were completely different in terms of the nature of the operation because we had the active cooperation of such a large percentage of the population.... that's what really allowed us to defeat the enemy at such a low cost, was that we had very precise information... we knew what houses were rigged to explode, and destroyed them in advance. We knew what defensive positions they were in, and we killed the enemy in those defensive positions before we closed with them. We knew where their IEDs were in the roads, so we exploded those IEDs with helicopter fires... we're still finding... more and more of these positions after the enemy attempted to retreat out of this area, and we're exploiting those areas now and developing a more full picture of what the enemy was about in this area... so I would say there are similarities with the way the enemy attempted to defend here and the way the enemy defended in Fallujah, but the enemy just couldn't get there. They couldn't pull it off... I think that a lot of that has to do with the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces operating with us. And really the main issue... would be the access to human intelligence and the cooperation of the population.


See: Col McMaster's press conference

9/18/2005 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

I think, the US is missing a golden opportunity to become the birth mother of Kurdistan, and thus cement a relationship of deep and lasting emotional and strategic value. This kind of thing is something that a nation, any nation, remembers for a long long time. To play the cynical and reluctant actor, manipulating Kurdish national aspirations as a choice of last resort is, I think, a political and strategic mistake.

9/18/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You could well be right, pc.
There are still more than a few "realists" in our Foreign Policy Corps.
The Kissinger school of realpolitik, in part funded by the Saudis, still holds sway in large segments of the DC Establishment.

9/18/2005 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

Didn't anyone happen to notice what happened in Baghdad today?

"capital, where there was no major violence on Sunday for the first time in five days."

5 days? How about 2 years.


http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/focusoniraq/2005/September/focusoniraq_September100.xml§ion=focusoniraq

9/18/2005 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

I think, the US is missing a golden opportunity to become the birth mother of Kurdistan,

Maybe the Kurds need to take a play from the PLO handbook, instead of jews and westerners maybe the kurds should just start murdering arabs across the world?

9/18/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Dave H said:
Our only significant ally is the UK,

-
That is so far from from being correct that I suggest you read my link....

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2004/01/Anunsungally.shtml

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/09/Israelialliance.shtml

9/18/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

They tried that in Turkey to ill effect.
Now they get to front for US in the Iraqi Campaign. Life under a JDAM umbrella, as part of the Iraqi National Army, is far superior to becoming an international terrorist orginization. Kurdish prosperity, in Iraq, has it's own PR value, sending a message to Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iran.

I think the million Gazans becoming refugees in the Sinai a much more realistic scenario than an independent Kurdistan.
What would the Egyptians do?
What could they do?

9/18/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"And we were able to gain access to intelligence here by a very good relationship with the people, who recognized this enemy for who they are and were very forthcoming with human intelligence. In one raid in the beginning of June, for example, we were able to capture 26 targeted individuals, some of the worst people here in Tall Afar, within a 30-minute period. And the enemy began to realize this isn't working either, they can't hide in plain sight anymore.

So what the enemy did in response -- ... -- is they intensified their campaign of intimidation over the people.

This spiritual bankruptcy, this inability to use anything but fear, coercion and thuggery; THIS mean and petty lack of creativity is the core of Islamo-fascism: brutal domination.

McMaster takes time to say how proud he is, fighting alongside 'brave, courageous Iraqis', and I admire him his honesty.

I see what Wretchard has tried to articulate on many occasions, recently: I sorrow (in a way) for the thugs and bullies who've been told "Americans are soft and stupid. God loves us, and we will dominate!"

The thugs believed it, and are getting killed and captured so fast it makes their head spin! The disconnect between Islamo-fascist propaganda and American-Iraqi reality is deadly to terrorist hopes!

9/18/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

When do we deal with Syria?

They are the Ho Chi Minh trail for Iraq.

Is it a political question, or is it rather we've developed methadology so effective in killing the imported fighters coming from that direction it's worth our while to let the situation persist?

My two cents on "civil war":

The Iraqis will only increase their security capability as time goes by.

There sure isn't much news out of any part of Iraq but the environs of Baghdad and (rapidly receding)points north and west, at least not coming from MSM.

The Sunnis can participate, or they can crouch in their homes by candlelight while the lights go on in their neighbor's cities.

There is a tipping point where the Iraqis will not only be tired of being killed, but will be in a position to do something about it. I think that time is coming soon, and I wouldn't be surprised if Syria doesn't get a Letter, sooner rather than later.

9/18/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Are the Sunnis like American Blacks and vote in a Bloc or are they like Americans of Mexican or Italian or Irish descent and vote as individuals?"
---
That would be the LEGAL Mexicans, 'Rat:
The semis and the illegals vote overwhelmingly Democrat.
Thus the suicidal nature of our immigration "policy."
---
...and the N.O. Blacks had nothing but good words for Potous on ABC.

9/18/2005 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Strategically, Kurdistan WILL NOT BE landlocked after the Syrian War and the defeat of the Baa'th party fascists there! The Northern Kurdish lands of Syria border the ocean. It will be very easy to eliminate Syrian problems once and for all there by making that area part of Kurdistan. Also, I WOULD NOT be at all surprised to see Turkey sell the mountain land where its Kurds live. Stranger things have happended!

As for Iran and Iranian Kurdistan.... only God knows!

9/18/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

or all part of a Greater Iraq?

9/18/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

leapdog2,

If Turkey grants greater autonomy to the Kurds and the Kurds agree to a pipeline for their oil traversing Turkey as a guarantee of good faith on their part, the actual purchase may not be necessary.

The Kurds would be crazy to depend on the port at Um Qasar for all shipments. Both because of the Shi'a and because Iran and Iraq have unfinished business. A Turkish pipeline is one way to guarantee a lasting autonomy while Kurdistan comes into being.

9/18/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Well given the demographics of the country it's harldy a civil war if the only evidence is a majority of Shia on one side and Sunnis on the other for god's sake. That's just as easily evidence for how warped the Sunni ruling tribes became under Saddam that even under conditions of totally institutional collapse and outright rape of the country they can claim any kind of mandate for rule, or any hope of restoring their precious kleptocracy.

Journalists are depressing.

9/18/2005 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

I disagree with the assertion that the Islamists war against us over our policies.They war with us over our existance.
Believing the first allows us to sink back into the Chamberlainish delusion that if we give a little policy wise we can meet the blitzkreig half way.After all they want peace as much as we do.
Being convinced of the second assertion may perhaps give us the iron in our souls to grind them into powder before they unleash Armageddon.
Tal-afar warms my heart.Nothing like the smoking ashes of fried Jihadis on a late summer day.

9/18/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Bill Clinton rips Bush:

On the US budget, Clinton warned that the federal deficit may be coming untenable, driven by foreign wars, the post-hurricane recovery programme and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest one percent of the US population, himself included. "What Americans need to understand is that ... every single day of the year, our government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts," he said. "We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else." Clinton added: "We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense."

Which is another reason why it would be difficult to expand war to Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and fight more wars the neocons want - our financial masters in KSA, Korea, China, and now the UK won't give Bush the money he would have to beg to get in the 1st place.

9/18/2005 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

TmjUtah: When do we deal with Syria? They are the Ho Chi Minh trail for Iraq.

I agree with your assessment that Syria is the rat line to the terrorists - and probably the keeper of Saddam's money and top men. I think they should be dealt with immediately.

The only answer I have read from "unnamed" Administration officals is that there are "certain countries" we just don't want to engage at this time. Why? I don't know.

Maybe Syria has some security agreement with one of our larger adversaries. Maybe Syria is making some progress away from terrorism - but I don't see it. I see the exact opposite. I believe they are the main supplier of men and weapons to the Iraqi terror cells. Intuitively, you would want to eliminate that supplier.

If anyone knows why we should not neutralize Syria please say so.

9/18/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug - There canNOT be one standard, because,
...well just, Because.--
I thought C4 said we wouldn't get any human intel until we spent millions training white guys all about their culture.
Isn't using Iraqis to do the same,
CHEATING?


I don't know why you think America getting linguistics capability to aid our intelligence collection and diplomacy is limited to "white guys" Doug. Do you think white women, Asian-American students, black men are all incapable of learning Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, Urdu, Malay, and Indonesian??

If you took the time to remember posts rather than move on to your next "cut 'n paste" effort, you would remember 3 things I posted:

1. In WWII, Korea, the Cold War, and Vietnam we churned out legions of Americans trained in dozens of translator schools in languages of the enemy we fought. Military historians called those language-trained Americans essential to the war and post-war. There is no effort in Bushs "GWoT as long as it doesn't jeopardize tax cuts to the wealthy" effort. No effort to recruit existing Americans fluent in Arabic or other languages - many have tried only to be met with utter Gov't disinterest. Even with the FBI now having 240,000 pages of documents, and growing, untranslated. Even with the inability to monitor many Al Qaeda sympathizing websites. Even with the military unable to translate millions of pages of Muqabarat and Iraqi military files they wanted translated.

2. I wrote that local military commanders in Iraq have been handicapped for 2 years by the Pentagon's insistence that all translators in Iraq be hired through only one company - which coincidentally, is partially owned by Bush campaign backers. If the Army has finally finessed that roadblock after 2 years of trying as demonstrated in the Tal Afar struggle, more power to them.

3. That I posted several times on the failure of America to have strategic communications that rely in large part on people doing the media and human intel recruitment efforts having plenty of Americans working the problems who have a deep fluency with both the language and cultures. Unlike what FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, and Nixon all supported....we have no government sponsorship of our best and brightest to attend the schools set up to cultivate those critical skills. We have set up no Radio Free Islam version of Radio Free Europe. Instead, we have high tech military golly whizz toys, pork for the "Hero 1st Responder" special interest groups, far more pork for Bush's corporate benefactors, and tax cuts for the wealthy.

4 years after 9/11, we have few new translators, a smaller military with far less warships and jet fighters than when Bush was initially inaugurated, considerable loss to America's reputation and diplomatic strength. And a very shaky economy, as Clinton warned of in my previous post. Many Republicans have grown sick of Bush and the Crony Capitalist Republican Congress's reckless pork spree that has frittered away trillions without much to show in the way of tangible investment in America's future.

We are going in the wrong direction, as a country.

I am embarassed for my country after it's disgrace of Katrina showing we have a barbaric underclass that may aggravate the damage of any disaster or attack - and our inability to bring order to disaster. We appear to lack the teamwork, agreement, communications, and, after 4 years and 90 billion dispensed for fire engine and cop gear pork - who exactly will lead in an emergency arising from an attack or a disaster..

But it's a matter of perspective. It's the best time since the mid-20s to be a multimillionaire in America's "ownership society" class.

9/18/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Since before Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli, through the sentiments Churhill wrote of in the "River War" and as Kipling wrote of his entire life, pirates & border bandits, the Mohammedans have been the Foes of the West for centuries now.
It has only been of late, that the Mohammedans have actually reached the coasts of England and US.
It has been a long conflict and will continue for a while, yet.
If the "West" had never interfaced with Mohammedans, if our cultures did not entwine, the War would not exist.
Whether the War is about our Existence or our Policies, they are really one and the same. We exist as we do because of our past policies and there seems no desire on the part of US to change, either our Policies or the terms of our Existence.

9/18/2005 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger ScarecrowJack said...

Reading this article leaves me with the feeling that there is too much information left out to really discuss it.

Many articles in recent months have made much of how the conflict in Iraq is drawing in fighters from all over the region. So what if the Army is mostly Shiite and their opponents are mostly Sunni? Out of that five hundred killed or captured, how many were originally from Iraq, and how many came in via Syria and other conduits?

The Collins article frames the conflict in terms of a coming civil war, and this blog entry follows that framework. I would ask instead whether you can really have a 'civil' war when one side seems to be primarily composed of fighters *not* from the country in question?

What *do* you call a situation where one of the forces in conflict is drawn from other countries, is not under any civil or proposed civil authority, and is fighting more because it is inimical to a system of government rather than due to any real attempt to supplant the ruling power?

I haven't found any links to a breakdown of that sort on the prisoners -- does anyone here have any information?

9/19/2005 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

scarecrowjack
last May there were published reports on the prisoner/ detainee breakdowns. Out of the 18,000 or so total detainees held, at the time, under 500 were foreigners.
Now it may be that the out country fighters all 'died with their boots on' before they could be captured, or it may be that the majority of the Insurgents are Iraqis.
I tend to think the latter.
There is not much published information on the size of the Insurgenct force or it's breakdown by Nationality.

9/19/2005 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger ScarecrowJack said...

desertrat --

Thank you, but I was specifically asking about these 500 discussed in this article. I would be very interested to see what kind of breakdown there is in this group.

Also, it would be good to find out whether the demographics have shifted in any substantial way -- your source states that foreign fighters made up 500 out of 18000, or approximately 3% of total captures. How many of those who died were foreign as opposed to native Iraqis?

I may be talking through my hat here, because I have no numbers with which to back up my thoughts, but one side of the argument is talking about the support the 'insurgents' receive and how they spring up from a kind of grassroots movement that is gaining momentum. While the other side keeps talking about how the insurgency's fighters keep getting killed and captured in droves. I want to know how they're making up their losses! Materiel is one thing, and a few highly-placed and well-funded malcontents can provide, but from where are the triggermen being sourced? Stories conflict, but the data exists somewhere since these guys have been killed and/or captured.

Or are we talking about something that might be 'too sensitive' to publish now?

9/19/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

scjack
If you find the data, please share.
I'd like to see it as well.
There are around 5 million Sunni, according to the CIA fact book 23% of that is male between 15-64. Median age in the country is 19.4 years.
So the is a pool of over 1,000,000 Sunni men for the Insurgency to draw from. That, before reenforcements arrive from across the Syrian fromtier.
Impacting the group, by killing/ capturing them, even at 500 to 1,000 at a time, is a long term project.

9/19/2005 07:24:00 PM  

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