Monday, September 19, 2005

The Road to Karbala

Although it is an article of faith in certain circles that Iraq was better off under Saddam Hussein, some of the Shi'ite pilgrims headed for Karbala don't think so. According to the Courier Mail:

"It doesn't matter if we are attacked. We want to receive martyrdom ... to go on such a pilgrimage at this time is a response to Zarqawi's threats. He will not stop us from observing our rituals. The situation under ... Hussein was worse and more dangerous.  ... But even under Saddam, this didn't stop us from going."

Wearing a white shroud over his clothes as a symbol of his readiness to die, Hussein Nuthair, 22, marched with 10 friends from a Baghdad neighbourhood. "We have no fear and do not worry about Zarqawi or his followers. We carry no weapons and have no fear of dying," he said.

Surely these pilgrims have it wrong. George Galloway, who knew both Saddam and the insurgents, likes both. The Telegraph recalls:

Mr. Galloway described the insurgents as "ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons ... These poor Iraqis… are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars. With 145 military operations every day, they have made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it. ... But they decided, when the foreign invaders came, to defend their country, to defend their honour, to defend their families, their religion, their way of life from a military superpower which landed amongst them. And they are winning the war. America is losing the war in Iraq and even the Americans now admit it."

This is the sophisticated, educated and nuanced point of view. Believe it.


Apart from its symbolic significance to the Shi'ites, the pilgrimage to Karbala must constitute a prime target in a month full of prime targets for the insurgency. In a period when Iraq is preparing to hold a plebiscite on its constitution and the insurgents seek revenge for Tal-Afar, the pilgrimage is like a cherry sitting on whipped-cream topped fudge. Not only that, but as Bill Roggio points out, there is a whole slew of offensive activity against insurgents in Anbar, Haditha and Qaim and even Samarra and Ramadi. The enemy must react. Some sources have warned of a Great Ramadan Offensive aimed at getting back at the Coalition for all the knocks the invincible (are you listening George Galloway?) insurgency has received.

Al Qaeda's plans for a series of spectacular terrorist strikes in October, targeting American interests as well as U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East and said to be coordinated by Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- are the subject of a non-public report issued by terrorism experts this week.

The next two weeks are a clear test of the insurgency's strength. But apart from the massacre of unemployed construction workers and unarmed civilians, the insurgents who "are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars" are having a surprisingly poor showing. US casualties for September up to the 18th stand at 14 KIA. Colonel Robert Brown, Commander of The 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Multinational Force-Northwest gave a briefing on September 14 and described the change in quality of the enemy in his area of operations. It is so packed with detail it deserves an extended quote:

Q How is the state of the insurgency different today than when you arrived to start your mission?

COL. BROWN: There's a significant difference from when we got here last October. Last October, we faced a foreign fighter that was very well-trained. I remember watching attacks out -- we had an attack that involved about 60 foreign fighters in a pretty complex ambush. By complex I mean three or four forms of engagement. They'll hit you with an IED, small arms, mortars -- a very complex attack. We saw that regularly in November and December. We also defeated -- in one of those fights, we killed 40 terrorists, and we did not lose anybody, and we defeated them every time they tried to do that against us. We really worked hard and aggressively at getting out. I mean, we conducted some 2,100 cordon and searches, and thousands of aggressive offensive operations -- 18 attacks a day against the insurgents back in that time period. I remember watching an attack and seeing the insurgents move against us, and I had to look and say, gee, are those our guys or their guys because they're moving very well around buildings. Now, that was November and December. What we saw is that that's faded away very quickly, as we captured and killed. And we killed some 550 enemy and captured over 3,000.

And as we got to February and March, we saw a completely different foreign fighter. We've captured Libyans. We've captured Saudi, Yemenis, Algerians. And many of these -- one Libyan that we captured about a month and a half ago -- he was clearly brainwashed. And he was told that, you know, what was going on here and brainwashed to come and be a -- what he thought was -- he was going to be a foreign fighter against this crusade against the Muslim religion. He got here. He saw that was not correct. They told he was going to be a suicide martyr. He said he didn't want to do that. When we happened to capture him, several other foreign fighters and the cell leader that was orchestrating them, he was very happy to talk to us about what he had seen and what they had done.

And very interesting that younger foreign fighter that we're seeing now -- very poorly trained. We would call them more like RPGs for hire. And we believe it's the -- we know that the leadership is severely disrupted. Again, from -- about 25 percent of the attacks were very complex prior to elections, as I described. Now we're down to five percent are complex. And we're at the lowest number of attacks by far over the last three months. And that is -- clearly the foreign network is disrupted. The leadership is severely disrupted. We captured Abu Talha, the number-two al Qaeda leader in the north of Iraq. And right after that we got Abu Bara, Madhi Musa (sp), Abu Zab (sp), the next six leaders that would step up and take over. Nobody's taken over now. It's not a very popular position because if they step up, they get captured or killed. And so they're really disrupted, totally different.

The other thing -- the other huge change is the population. And in a counterinsurgency, of course, the terrorists don't have to -- the people don't have to love them; they just have to remain neutral and not turn them in. And when we got here, the people were intimidated, and they were neutral. Now they are turning them in. We'd like to call it, you know, the terrorists swim in a sea of anonymity, and that sea has been taken away from them.

And for example, when we got here, they could fire mortars, and they did that. Three hundred mortar attacks a month was the average for the six months prior to us getting here. As we got the population more and more on the side of their government and their security forces, as they saw how the terrorists offered no hope for the future and their government did, they started turning these guys in. And in the beginning, a guy would fire a mortar; in a city of 2 million, it's pretty hard to track him down. Well, we've captured over 142 mortar systems, and now the average is six attacks a month in the entire province, from 300 to six.

And just a couple of weeks ago, when they did fire a mortar, the people told what they looked like, what their license plate was. In one case, they knew one of the individuals. The Iraqi army went out, tracked them right down, arrested them, and there you have it -- much different from that prior to elections, when, you know, they wouldn't say anything. It was -- we didn't see anything, and it was very hard to stop this.

Now some will argue that the enemy is shamming or that Colonel Brown is not being forthright. But the critical nature of the coming weeks means that the enemy must show his true strength -- or the lack of it -- soon.


Blogger 49erDweet said...

How else can Galloway earn his blood money? These are the lengths a poor Irish lad must go to when the OFF bandwagon comes a cropper.

9/19/2005 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The coalition forces are doing what they must. They are forcing the terrorists to "put up or shut up." All the would-be jihadists and active leftists across the world are cheering for their boys to put on a good game.

9/19/2005 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger Fabio said...

So it seems the loose ends are coming together finally. Maybe it took longer than expected (or hoped - it's hard to make right predictions without intel), but the jihad in Iraq is wearing out.

9/19/2005 03:40:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


and indeed, even North Korea is seeing the light, but W's just lucky, really.


9/19/2005 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

From Reuters:

"BAGHDAD, 19 September (IRIN) - The new Iraqi draft constitution has finally been sent for printing after weeks of disagreement between political leaders over sticking points which will now be decided upon in a referendum on 15 October, officials said."

This is like one of those stories where the pressure just builds and builds. But it has to have an ending and we will see what it is soon enough.

9/19/2005 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger Heraclitus said...

Excellent series of posts. One can only admire the professionalism and bravery. It's going to be a long 2006 for the AIF. I expect the U.S. learning curve is really going to swing into play.

Let's hope the political process stays on track.

9/19/2005 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"We really worked hard and aggressively at getting out. I mean, we conducted some 2,100 cordon and searches, and thousands of aggressive offensive operations -- 18 attacks a day against the insurgents back in that time period"
How could we expect the MSM to appreciate that, since they
Hardly Work?

9/19/2005 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Capt Ed has been VERY busy, as have been Potus and troops under his command.
September 19, 2005
Don't Be Shy -- Tell Us What You Really Think
After a devastating electoral defeat caused Mark Latham to resign as leader of the Australian Labor Party, he took some time to reflect on the issues that caused his downfall. Apparently, as much of the Australian public also determined, Latham hung out with the wrong people.

September 18, 2005
North Korea Gives Up Its Nuclear Program
In a stunning foreign-policy victory for the Bush administration, North Korea has publicly agreed to forego its nuclear weapons program entirely without getting a nuclear reactor from the West in return. The six-nation talks just released its first-ever joint statement announcing the agreement:
North Korea pledged to drop its nuclear weapons development and rejoin international arms treaties in a unanimous agreement Monday at six-party arms talks. The agreement was the first-ever joint statement after more than two years of negotiations.
The North "promised to drop all nuclear weapons and current nuclear programs and to get back to the (Nuclear) Nonproliferation Treaty as soon as possible and to accept inspections" by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the agreement by the six countries at the talks.
"All six parties emphasized that to realize the inspectable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the target of the six-party talks," the statement said.
George Bush needed a big win on the international stage, and this surely qualifies. He has stuck to his strategy of using multilateral negotiations instead of bilateral talks with Pyongyang, the strategy that produced the last failed agreement. The only concession made by the US was an
Stalemate in the Bundestag
Iraq Parliament Approves Constitution
Tiring of unending demands for change from its Sunni minority, the Iraqi National Assembly approved the proposed constitution with a few added amendments intended on attracting Sunnis despite the intransigence of their representatives:
The Kurds and Shi'ites waited as long as they possibly could to get the Sunnis to engage. The Sunnis will once again find themselves on the outside looking in, thanks to their insistence on dominating political life in Iraq despite their minority status.
September 17, 2005

Able Danger: Closed Hearings?
AJ Strata notes that the Senate Judiciary Committee has come under pressure from the Pentagon to close its Able Danger hearings to the public, just when it has finally acknowledged finding three additional witnesses that corroborate the identification of Mohammed Atta and
The Pentagon has changed its position on this story, from originally questioning the very existence of Able Danger (search) to now confirming that the Defense Department has identified five former members of the unit who all say they remember Atta's picture or name, on a chart in 2000.
Why worry about whether this gets discussed in open session of Congress? The Pentagon now admits the program existed, that it mined open-source information, and that it identified Atta... UPDATE: AJ Strata has stayed on this like a bulldog today. The New York Post now reports that Able Danger tipped off the Pentagon that al-Qaeda planned on attacking out of Yemen three weeks before the suicide bombing on the USS Cole in October 2000: France To Iran: Export Nukes!
Reminding us all once again that the French have strange ideas about partnership and alliances, the Chirac government signaled to the Teheran mullahcracy that they would have no problem with Iran exporting nuclear technology to other Islamic nations:

9/19/2005 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The New York Post now reports that Able Danger tipped off the Pentagon that al-Qaeda planned on attacking out of Yemen three weeks before the suicide bombing on the USS Cole in October 2000.
Interesting fact, that, but not to Bodine.
She only saw Peace and Love.

9/19/2005 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...


Bush is dumb; Bush is a Cowboy; Bush freed 50 Million people; Afganistan has a constitution and just voted again; Iraq's constitution is ready for a vote; Lybia gave up its nukes; NK has agreed to give up its nukes; Egypt just had an election; Germany dumps Schroeder; Zarqawi, having failed to ignite civil war in Iraq is now in Gaza looking for more fertile ground; Lebanon has expelled the Syrians; UK is deporting hateful muslims; Cair seethes.

That Bush sure is lucky 'cause he can't do anything right!

9/19/2005 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

In certain respects the most unsuitable force to have pit against Islamic terrorism was the US Armed Forces. It was designed to fight an entirely different kind of enemy, not simply with respect to equipment but in training and organization. Smaller European armies which were "flatter" and less wedded to high-tech systems would have seemed more adaptable. US armored divisions, Marines with ships found in no other Navy, heavy bombers etc were the last things you wanted to fight Zarqawi and Osama with.

The US went into OIF with canvas-sided Humvees and a scratch force of interpreters relying on intelligence provided by the CIA, which meant it had practically nothing. That poverty of contacts meant a political plan whose material expression was the CPA.

The adaptation to the found circumstances are pretty remarkable considering the enormous organizational momentum of a vast bureaucracy that had to be spun on the proverbial dime. One day the people with access will tell the story. But we have to have an ending to the tale first.

9/19/2005 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The use of suicide attackers by Imperial Japan, and to a lesser extent, by Nazi Germany, near the end of WWII was not just because they were desperate, it was due to the fact that they lost almost all of their highly trained, very experienced fighters in the earlier part of the war. The less experienced troops that replaced the deceased old hands had to use drastic measures in order to be even marginally effective.
By late 1944 in the Pacific, even U.S. BOMBERS were CHASING the once feared Japanese fighter planes.
It would be interesting to hear someone expound a bit on why totalitarian regimes seem to produce a few good men - and no more.

9/19/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...


Sco'ish git, so far as I know.

Not that bribes under OFF recognises nationality.

Irony, irony. We're saying the same thing.

C4, two threads back
Irony, irony. We're saying the same thing. Incidentally, I like your input. There is something smelly about the Israeli occupation of the lands held by other people.

rwe well answers your question: "It would be interesting to hear someone expound a bit on why totalitarian regimes seem to produce a few good men - and no more.


9/19/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"The adaptation to the found circumstances are pretty remarkable considering the enormous organizational momentum of a vast bureaucracy that had to be spun on the proverbial dime. One day the people with access will tell the story. But we have to have an ending to the tale first. "

Rumsfeld deserves a lot of the credit for that, for the general attitude he has infused the Pentagon with.

9/19/2005 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger anybudee said...

You should develop your own news service, Wretch. Heard someone say a few years back that UPI was sold for a song. I mean, if the Christian Science Monitor is still respected..

People are looking high and low for truthful news. Most are skeptical and many are just tired and switch to the Simpsons instead. Even with obvious lies like in your previous post and the Rather incident(s) CBS's 60 Min is still top five. Wasn't it Mencken who said, "no one ever lost a dime..."

9/19/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

26 days to political victory, in Iraq.
Then what will Galloway and his minions say?
Don't believe the N Koreans, they've lied before, will again.

Why not Osama?
If not now, when?
Spring '06 is my bet.

9/19/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

"The Road to Karbala"

"What is Essential and Invisible to the Eye"

"Heads You Win, Tails I Lose"

Good posts.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

9/19/2005 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"Totalitarian regimes produce a few good men... and no more."

First: de Atkine wrote an article that is pertinent here: "Why Arab Armies Lose" and here's the non-tagged address:

More generically, I assert that when a government is using its strengths to MAINTAIN control over a captive nation, it does so through coercion, fear, intimidation, controlled access to information (truth) and other methods.

ALL these methods have something in common, namely, SERIOUS DISCONNECTS with reality!

"Allah loves us, and He is helping us to dominate over the lazy, stupid, k'ffir Americans!"

Sounds okay in the souk, or over Saddam's radio, but the Iraqi people have had a year to experience, personally and up close and by the hundreds of thousands, that non-lazy, non-stupid and (even if non-Muslim) God-fearing, courteous and compassionate Americans!

The surviving fighters, indoctrinated and zealous, are being forced by reality to, at minimum, reconsider their internal descriptive processes and prejudices.

From 300 down to 6 per month! WHAM!

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

I was told back in the 70's that when the USAF was teaching Arabs how to fly airplanes in this country there were some serious problems assocaited with their religion. They only sent the most devout over to learn how to become pilots and when things went "non-nominal" some of those would remove their hands from the controls and cry "Allah has it!"
Allah was supposed to fly the airplane for them and determine if they lived or died.
This approach to correcting mistakes worked Okay when there was a USAF pilot in the other seat but when there was not..
Well, it appears that Allah is just not a very good pilot.

9/19/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger PC^KILLA said...

ADE: There is something smelly about the Israeli occupation of the lands held by other people.

That happens when you have no political cover to kill your Jihadis. :)

9/19/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

When anything but perfection is "not good enough", and when war is always "worse than we imagined", progress is always outweighed by disproportionate qualifiers. If a journalist wants to report the negative, fine, but when he uses it to change the complexion of an otherwise positive development he is doing a disservice to his audience.

"But" Journalism is the art of turning victory into defeat, and it is a symptom of a larger problem: the naive disbelief in opportunity cost and the childish faith that anything can be certain. 8.5 million Iraqis participate in the first free and fair elections the region has ever seen, but (fill in the blank). If we think it might fail, it has failed already. If we must pay for it, it already costs too much.

The difference between the wise and the educated has become vast. The wise know that everything may not be okay. Our elite hear this, and feel betrayed.

9/19/2005 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This story from the WaPo is spun left, as hard as I've see in quite a while. There are interesting facts disclosed in it, though.

"... Lynch, the military spokesman, cited killings and detentions of 1,534 insurgents in the region. The fact that the number of insurgents killed or captured in the northern city of Tall Afar was roughly equal to advance estimates of their strength, he said, was proof that insurgents weren't simply escaping to fight another day -- and that U.S. forces were doing more than razing infrastructure. "Zarqawi is on the ropes," Lynch told reporters.

It was not clear, however, how many of those detained or killed in the offensives were insurgents. Since 2003, U.S. forces have detained 40,000 people, twice U.S. generals' highest public estimate of the number of fighters in the insurgency. On Saturday, the Iraqi government said it had released for lack of evidence more than 500 of the 757 suspects detained in ongoing operations in the northern city of Mosul. ..."

One of those was the Insurgent that shot LTC Kurilla, after his release from custudy. It seems that 66% of those detaineed by US Troops have already been released by the Iraqi "Justice" System.

There is an interview with an aQ operative that relates the "Spin" the Jihadists are putting on the combat operations.
You can already see the "spin" coming on our withdrawal.

It is not a "fair and balanced" piece, but it offers interesting data. worth the read

U.S. Claims Success in Iraq Despite Onslaught
Body Counts Now Cited as Benchmarks

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 19, 2005

9/19/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

rwe-"It would be interesting to hear someone expound a bit on why totalitarian regimes seem to produce a few good men - and no more."

The totalitarians eventually get around to believing their own press releases.

9/19/2005 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Buffy said...

The leftist media is working almost as hard as the terrorists to defeat democracy in Iraq. These media lowlifes have a great deal to answer for.

9/19/2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I read that WaPo article, and what struck me is that U.S. body count has been used as a metric by the MSM all along when things are going poorly, and now they ignore it.

9/19/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Another example of the ever moving goal posts and the disadvantages inherent in the lack of a Public achievement matrix.

According to reports I've read, even if the Sunni vote to reject the Constitution, en mass, they do not have the votes to obtain the percentages required, in three providences to succeed in rejection.

The Constitution will pass, the MSM will focus on the minority. The unfairness of the process, etc.

In December, well, time will tell.

9/19/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I guess the perspective is in the spin. I was pleased to have read that some Sunni Tribes had declared against the aQ portion of the Insugency. They had begun working with US troops in coordinated in providing Intel and even combat, light arms, support of US & Nationalist positions.

In the WaPo article this is spun as a sign of weakness

"...U.S. and Iraqi forces offer scant protection to any Iraqis who stand up to Zarqawi's fighters. Insurgents -- through intimidation rather than popularity -- still have the upper hand in cities and towns where the U.S. and Iraqi military presence is weak and transient. In Anbar, a tribe near Qaim that vowed to fight Zarqawi was left this month battered and holed up in its village, calling for U.S. help.

"Is there enough force here right now to secure this area permanently? No. Are there opportunities for the enemy in other areas within our region? Yes," said Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Tall Afar. ..."

The spin is the thing.

9/19/2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

aristides 9:54:

Late to this thread, but you make an important point. Till recently, spin was confined to highlighting the negative or lint-picking at a generally-accepted reality.

Today, regardless of facts on the ground, polemecists seize on any event as 'proof of the failure of X,' or 'complete repudiations of Y.'

Thus, in this upside-down world, a free Iraq with fast-growing economy is 'undoubtedly' a 'failure,' and Katrina 'conclusively' 'repudiates' small-government conservatism.

9/19/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is a piece in Time, that lists, in detail, every error made in Iraq.
Basicly it claims US never took the Insurgency seriously and that the situation is not all that rosey.
Reads well and will get lots of readers.
The closer we get to the end game the harder the spin from the defeatists.

9/19/2005 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


"The adaptation to the found circumstances are pretty remarkable considering the enormous organizational momentum of a vast bureaucracy that had to be spun on the proverbial dime. One day the people with access will tell the story. But we have to have an ending to the tale first. "

Rumsfeld deserves a lot of the credit for that, for the general attitude he has infused the Pentagon with. "

Tommy Franks was appointed CentCom Commander prior to Rumsfeld. Check out his Bio for his level of flexibility and willingness to learn.

Dick Cheney was an admirer of Boyd.

Then there was the Goldwater-Nichols act which took Opcon out of the Joint Chiefs and put in the the Regional Commander's hands.

This Administration was willing to let Leaders lead. But the men and women were already there as were many of the systems and Chian of commands in use today.

They just found new uses.

9/19/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

There is no let up in the number of recuits coming into Iraq. This means that the enemy has manpower and resource available to change tactics.

9/19/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If you take the time to linke to and read Joe Klien's article you'd find this tidbit of data
"... Foreigners account for perhaps 2% of the suspected guerrillas who have been captured or killed, although they represent the vast majority of suicide bombers. ("They are ordnance," a U.S. intelligence official says.) The level of violence has been growing steadily. There have been roughly 80 attacks a day in recent weeks. Suicide bombs killed more than 200 people, mostly in Baghdad, during four days of carnage last week, among the deadliest since Saddam's fall. ..."

The foreigners are but a minor part of the Iraqi challenge. Without a local infrastructure, supporting their activities, they could not be effective.

9/19/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Foreigner angle in Iraq has been blown way out of proportion to their actual numbers.
It would be similar to Lord Cornwallis reporting to King George that his REAL problem in the Colonies was France and their agent, Lafyette, not George Washington and the Insurgents.

9/19/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger andrew k said...

Interesting considering Steven Vincent...

British tanks crash through Basra jail walls, freeing captured Britons
05:58 PM EDT Sep 19
BASRA, Iraq (AP) - British forces using tanks broke down the walls of the central jail in the southern city of Basra late Monday and freed two Britons, allegedly undercover commandos, who had been arrested on charges of shooting two Iraqi policemen.

Witnesses said about 150 Iraqi prisoners fled the jail as well.

Violence flared earlier in the day as demonstrators hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at British tanks and at least four people were killed in the major outbreak of violence.

The fighting erupted after British armour encircled the jail where the two Britons were being held. During the melee one soldier could be seen scrambling for his life from a burning tank and the rock-throwing mob. "

9/19/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The NY Times just had an Iraqi reporter working in Basra kidnapped and killed.

The Brits had previously tried a "Friendly" approach to Occupation. They had chastised US for our more 'heavy handed' tactics.

There is nothing much Heavier in Iraq then a Challenger Tank.

9/19/2005 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I had read that about the Brits being arrested. Do we think the Iraqi police are just poofing up to show how mighty they are now, or is this a new spin on the kidnapping/ransom game beloved among Iraqi's, evidently both theirs and ours? Or could the Brits actually have done something bad -- in which case, it seems unlikely that Her Majesty's forces would go to the trouble of crashed a tank through a wall to get them back.

(Incidently, referring to Wretchard's comments above about how the Allies went into Iraq heavily dependent upon technology ... isn't that what "shock and awe" is all about? Looking magical to the citizenry, as in "We're gonna go play 'War of the Worlds' and *this* time WE get to be the aliens!")

9/19/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...


I think what W was speaking to was more akin to the capabilities if the 4th ID.
High tech target imaging & communications are just the beginnings of their technological advantage over their opponents.

However when on foot patrol in the streets of Iraq, all that high tech is for naught. Just ask LTC Kurilla or Mr. Yon about the uses of infrared targeting and laser guidence in the alley ways and rat runs of Mosul.

9/19/2005 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

"Germany dumps Schroeder"

Unfortunately, NOT YET! (Sigh!)

Oh well, they are almost irrelevant anyway and even if they are currently the world's third largest economy, they are DROPPING FAST.

They may even reach No. 10 or lower by 2010 or so after being passed by China, India, Singapore, Australia, etc. etc.

9/19/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

ot, but interesting snippet from andrew k's cbc piece:
"In Baghdad, an Iraqi court sentenced one of Saddam Hussein's nephews to life in prison for funding the country's violent insurgency and bomb-making after a trial that had not been publicly announced. It was the first known trial of any Saddam family members."

9/19/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree with Wretchard's assessment: The enemy is losing the physical battle and must make a significant strike or die a death of a thousand cuts. You know the terrorists are scraping the bottom of the barrel when they use 15 to 17 year old kids as "human RPGs."

COL. BROWN: ...We have not faced well-trained foreign fighters since. Since February of this year until now, we have not seen any well-trained, in fact, very poorly trained foreign fighters. So whoever was training them before, I don't know, but apparently they've lost their support and they're not able to train them and they've -- you know, now we're getting much younger -- we had 15- to 17-year- olds, very young. You know, we were estimating -- it's kind of hard ...[to] know... when you see the remains of a suicide bomber, there's not much left. But from captured ones, and then reports from these folks, they were very young, 15- to 17-years-old; not well trained.

[Is this the same Deuce Four Mike Yon has been writing about?]

COL. BROWN: ...I could give you an example every single night. I'll give you one example of a company. In Deuce Four, 1-24 Infantry, a young company commander out being very agile and adaptive, he went out, and during the day some cars drove by and fired at the Strykers. They chased the cars in the Stryker. You wouldn't have been able to keep up in a tank or a Bradley. They chased the cars. The guys got out of the car and being, again, the cowards that they are, they hid behind women and children, so the soldiers didn't shoot them. But they went up to the cars. They found caches of weapons in the cars, and they found their wallets in the cars. They then went to some sources who said, yeah, we know where these guys live. So two hours later, they went and raided the home with one platoon, captured some more. Those guys talked. They went and raided more.

See Col. Brown

[Mike Yon]

...The Strykers blocked in the car, and dropped ramps so the soldiers could dismount and check the suspects. Ramps down is always an interesting moment. One time, in another Stryker Battalion in Mosul, when the ramp dropped, bad guys started shooting into the back of the vehicle.


...Our Stryker did not contain the normal fighters that I saw with LTC Kurilla, but we also had a section (two squads) of infantrymen in Strykers from Alpha Company.... We were searching the area for the source of that automatic weapons fire when Kurilla spotted three men in a black Opel and his sixth sense kicked. When Kurilla keyed in on them, he pointed his rifle at the car and signaled them to get out. The driver tucked his head and gunned the gas. The chase was on. Strykers are fast, but Opels are faster. We were roaring through little streets and along roads, horn blaring, cars zipping off the sides, the steady chatter of multiple radio channels colliding inside the Stryker. A Kiowa helicopter pilot radioed that he spotted the car. As the chase continued, the Kiowa pilot said, "It's going about 105 mph."

How can the pilot know it's going 105 mph? I thought. As if in reply, the pilot radioed that the Opel was outrunning his helicopter. Captain Jeff VanAntwerp came on the radio net saying he was moving his section into position to intercept the Opel. Opels may be faster than Kiowas on straight-a-ways, but when the car made turns, the helicopter quickly caught up. Kurilla ordered the Kiowa to fire a warning shot, then quickly authorized the Kiowa to disable the vehicle... The pilot swooped low and the "co-pilot" aimed his rifle at the Opel, firing three shots and blowing out the back window. The Kiowa swooped and banked hard in front of the car, firing three more shots through the front hood, the universal sign for "stop." The car chase ended, but the men fled on foot up an alley. We approached in the Strykers and I heard Kurilla say on the radio, "Shots fired!" as he ducked for a moment then popped back up in the hatch. Kurilla continued, "Trail section clear the car and clear south to north! I'm going to block the back door on the north side!" About fifteen seconds later our ramp dropped. We ran into combat

Gates of Fire

...Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy... The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down...Bullets flying by, and enemy weapons firing: PaPaPaPaPaPaPaPaPaPow . . . zinnggg . . . GawGawGawGawPaPaGawGaw. . . . different types of weapons were shooting.... I start snapping photos as the Commander drags the guy by the collar to get him to the cover of the Stryker. I can't believe Kurilla is still alive after nearly a year of doing this....

Jungle Law

I fully agree with doug & desert rat that the MSM has done everything possible to spin this war in a negative way:

" How could we expect the MSM to appreciate that, since they
Hardly Work?
" -doug

desert rat: "There is a piece in Time, that lists, in detail, every error made in Iraq..."

I agree with exhelodrvr: " Rumsfeld deserves a lot of the credit for that [Turning the vast military bureaucracy around]."

And, agree with 49erDweet that Galloway is pushing the anti-war story far too hard. Galloway must be on the pad. He has become too much of a mouth piece for terrorists.

9/19/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger NooYawkah said...

A recent Stratfor article indicates that Zarqawi may be getting desperate:

"Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued a statement Sept. 19 saying his group would not target the movement led by radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, because al-Sadr is not cooperating with the United States. Al-Zarqawi is trying to exploit intra-Shiite tensions and seeking to broaden the base of the mostly Sunni insurgency in an effort to derail the ongoing political process. This attempt will fail because al-Sadr cannot afford to be seen as having any connection with the man whose group has murdered hundreds of Shia."

9/19/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al-Qaida claims responsibility for London bombings, criticizes elections:

Amid Taliban threats to disrupt Afghanistan's legislative elections, just over 50 per cent people still turned out to vote, but the figure was lower than many hoped. In the country's October 2004 presidential polls, turnout was 70 per cent.

Still, the rebel failure to carry out threats to subvert the vote was a major boost to efforts to bring peace nearly four years after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power.

9/19/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If US has 50% turn out in an off year election we're doing well. Funny how standards of success are not all that standard.

9/19/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ms. Sheehan thinks she deserves to meet with Senator Clinton. Ms. Sheehan says if Mrs. Clinton does not renounce the Iraq War she will not be reelected next year.
Mrs. Clinton has not, to date, agreed to meet with Mrs. Sheehan.

9/19/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Agreed. People really would like a 70 - 80% turnout just to send a message to the Taliban. Once the enemy is vanquished, democracy is flourishing, and the living is easy they'll drop down to the 'standard' of say 40%.

9/19/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Al Qaeda training ground shifts to Iraq - U.N. panel:

The al Qaeda terror network has capitalized on the insurgency in Iraq by creating a new training ground to replace the bases it lost in Afghanistan in 2001, a U.N. expert panel said on Monday.

The expert panel said al Qaeda's most notable success, next to surviving, has been the agreement it forged with Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, now the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

9/19/2005 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

The Basra police are mostly Iranian controlled Mahdi Army Terrorists. We will have to kill Mahdi and his top 25 to 50 clerics to obtain peace.

9/19/2005 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger leaddog2 said...

Of course, these Jokers consider the Mahdi as their Messiah. I meant we have to eliminate Muqtada al-Sadr and all of his clerics.

9/19/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I disagree on the your statement re the value of technology in street fighting. NIght vision, overhead surveillance, robots to disarm IEDs, listening devices, et al, give a tremendous edge to the U.S> forces.

9/19/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Great Lie of Islam:

In Iraq, Islam is doing what it does best—terrorizing. Quoting ex-Muslim Ali Sina, “Terrorism is not an ideology, it is a tool; but the terrorists kill for an ideology. They call that ideology Islam.” That quote is worth reading twice because it speaks volumes and coming from a man who was raised in Islam, it carries a lot of credibility.

Muslims constantly remind the free world that there are over a billion Muslims in the world. Perhaps Muslims should be reminded that there are over two billion Christians in the world. There are also a million followers of Hinduism that are not terribly fond of Islam.

The Christian God teaches us that murder is wrong. According to Muslims like al-Zarqawi, “God ordered us to attack the infidels by all means.” Bin Laden told ABC News that while the West rejoices in life; Islam rejoices in death. The problem isn’t that Islam teaches lies; the problem is that Islam IS the lie. Islam is perhaps the greatest lie ever perpetrated on mankind. As Mr. Sina has said, “Terrorism is not an ideology, it is a tool; but the terrorists kill for an ideology. They call that ideology Islam.”

9/19/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I read Mr. Yon's narratives of the actions of LTC Kurilla and his men, they did not employ any of those items you mention. I do think they are in use, by some units, but are not as wide spread as we are led to believe.
My son's USMC unit did not have them at squad level. Except for night vision, which they did.

The tech advantages that the 4th ID brings to the battle field are not designed for counter insurgency work. As W writes our force is adaptable and can cope, but our military is really not configured for counter insurgency work.

We have a hugh Force deployeed in Iraq, but the number of troops engaged has almost always been at battalion strength or so.
The Tel Afrar action reportedly got to Regimental levels of commited troops. We used over powering force in Tel Afar, over a ten to one advantage against the Insurgent defenders and their Foreign friends.

9/19/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Benji Farquhar said...

It's so sweet to hear guys like Col. Brown hold forth. He sounds so amped. Like Kurilla and Prosser look. Surgeons doing cases. Reminds me of that video shot by those koran humping fools who sniped a marine square in the chest, smack dab in the middle of the kevlar. After being instantly decked by the impact, the marine hops up, tries in vain to acquire a target, and takes cover. You can hear them whispering 'allah hu akbar' with the same lustful grunt I reserve for an act I perform with my wife. A humble appreciation for those who stand between these chaps and my four month old coarses strong in my skull. US.

Which leads to much private fulmination at the faux New Yorkers who paid in full to support Galloway. Cheering his two bit, mechanically delivered Mussolini impersonation. Hitchens sounded like a bassoon of truth. Galloway sounded like teeth snapping. Yet the words fade like smoke into dim light. Hitchens' arguments, challenges, questions and facts writhe unanswered like bright fish flapping in a drained pond. Galloway's barks and insults at once stain and bolster weak minds. And as somebody, somewhere pulled Galloway's chair out for him as he sat for his lobster bisque that night, a Stryker went ramps down to protect our rights to debate, blog, etc.

I'd rather hear that debate in question and answer format. Get rid of that moderator. One guy gets x amount of questions and the other guy has to respond in a timely fashion, like competitive chess. Hearing Galloway's shameless fighting words and 9/11 bumbling received with applause was like a hatchet to the head of the New Yorker in me.

And btw, Desert Rat, if the sh*t ever gets bad here, I'm bringing my family to shack up at your place.

9/19/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Piper to get Bronze Star:

Connie Piper will not be alone accepting this honor this morning for Chris Piper, she will be joined by Chris' father, Ernest Piper; his daughter, Deirdre; and one of his best friends from Marblehead, Ronny Knight, who just returned from five months of duty near Iraq.

Knight said he could not eat or sleep for days after hearing of Chris Piper's death, but did feel a little bit of redemption when he was able to write Chris Piper's name on a 500-pound bomb that was used to destroy a home near the Syrian border that was being used by the Taliban.

"I feel an enormous sense of loss, and I still expect my cell phone to ring and hear Chris telling me he was on his way home to see us in Marblehead," Knight said. "I feel a little comfort knowing Chris died doing what he loved to do."

9/19/2005 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger AST said...

How about a good Muslim solution? Put an instruction of their known websites that martyrs must register at a specific URL with their name and address for their sacrifices to count.

If they're dumb enough to believe this hogwash, what else will they swallow?

9/19/2005 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

'Galloway is a hot, blustering bully - but I'm staying on his case until the very end':

I believe that there is a sick and surreptitious fascination with people of a certain thuggish unscrupulousness, from Mike Tyson to Henry Kissinger, and that many press hacks have a secret vicarious love for such people.

I wish them joy of this. They enable Mr Galloway to lecture a captive audience in Syria, fawning upon a despot and saying that with "145 military operations a day" that the people he describes as "these poor Iraqis… are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars" and then to fly to America to commiserate with the mother of one of the dead soldiers. (Galloway was, remember, expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 after it interpreted some of his comments as an incitement to attack Coalition troops.)

On Wednesday night in Manhattan, however, he made the mistake that all demagogues and bullies make, and forgot that he was on television and on the record, and sought only to please his own section of the crowd. He answered questions with crude abuse. I have plenty of time and patience to spare on this, and was addressing myself to a larger audience, and I never ask a question to which I don't know the answer. So we shall see, shan't we?

9/20/2005 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Ms. Sheehan says if Mrs. Clinton does not renounce the Iraq War she will not be reelected next year ."
If Cindy Sheehan calls out Hillary ONE more time, she will NEVER be mentioned in the MSM again.
...and would be wise to consider the significance of Ft. Marcie Park."

9/20/2005 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Our failure to take out Sadr early on ranks very high on the list of costly mistakes imo.
Along with the Brits kid glove approach as mentioned by 'Rat.
Boy did it grate when they were dissing our guys for being unnecessarily brutal.

9/20/2005 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

By having unclear War Aims and Political Goals that conflict with those inarticulated Aims limit US combat effectivness.
Imam Sadr rallies his followers to take on the Occupation Forces, militarily. He strikes a cease fire with the aQ Terrorists and the Baathist Insurgents.
However due to his inherited role, Saddam having killed his 'beloved' father, and political clout, he is left unmolested by US.
He may well become the "Nelson Mandela" of Iraq. Leading the country to a new and enlightened future. Having been spared death by a benevolent Occupation. Doubt it, but maybe.
In his case, as in much of US activity in Occupied Iraq, we have come up a day late and a dollar short.
25 days to the Election.

9/20/2005 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gene Felder said...

Moderate Sunnis? I have links at to articles that offer some hope:
Sunni Cleric Urges Unity Against Violence
See Iraqi Cleric Urges Unity Against Violence by Tarek El-Tablawy in Los Angeles Times September 16, 2005.
“Sheik Mahmud al-Sumaidaei, a leading Sunni cleric whose group is linked to the country's insurgency, criticized militants for targeting civilians. He called for Iraq's religious and ethnic groups to take a stand against further bloodshed.”
I read that 85% of the Sunnis are registered to vote. Even if they vote to block the Iraqi constitution it’s still telling that they are participating in democracy defying the Islamofascists. And I don’t think it’s a disaster if the constitution is not past. That’s the way elections work.

The US process wasn’t perfect. I just recently discovered that North Carolina and Rhone Island didn’t ratify the US constitution until after George Washington was inaugurated, and did not participate in that Presidential election.

Gene Felder
Views From Laguna Beach

9/20/2005 02:44:00 PM  

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