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11.22.2004

Good news round up: "Beyond Fallujah"

Check it out.

As for my predictions/hopes for falluja, they were not totally satisfied. I wish more of them died, more important leaders were captured, and a few less of ours dieing would have been nice.

Then again, when fighting a guerilla war, wouldn't you expect the kill count to be 55-1200 against us? Some people think this military victory alone deserves mention, let alone the inherent success of taking a base away from the enemy.

Any bets on the election 10 weeks away?

5 Comments:

At 2:34 PM, Blogger joško said...

Falluja was unquestioningly a route. Regardless of the overall political successes and failures of this Iraq campaign, it'll be studied in military academies for centuries as THE model anti-guerilla street-to-street battle.

There was a big POLITICAL fuck-up, but it's too soon to say just what exactly was done wrong or how it coulda been prevented. I'm refering to that marine that shot an unarmed wounded rebel insurgent in a mosque. Now, I saw the video, and it is fucked up, but I reckon anyone that hears the back story would realize it was just a fuckup and not really suggestive of America's excessive savagry or crusade against Islam.

(The group of marines were the SECOND to arrive, the first group having collected those wounded insurgents and placed them there in the first place. The second group didn't know this, and thought it appropriate to kill people that were squirming around. Meanwhile, the guy who actually did the shooting had actually been shot with minor wounds FIVE TIMES over the days before, and was, understandably, losing his mind. It was a problem of communication, and a problem of crazy "shell-shocked" soldiers. The first problem is embarassing and remediable. The second is endemic to "the madness" of war, and has no solution save pulling out crazy soldiers, which means we'd HAVE no military. Some people like this solution.)

So, American troops aren't outrageously callous with the Geneva Convention. The problem is that Al Jezzira is showing the video over and over again, and has done so as part of a larger propaganda campaign, systematically preferring such gruesome Wow-Americans-are-assholes videos to the Wow-Those-insurgents-are-assholes videos (they didn't show the mutilation of that nice lady aid-worker Hassan, for instance). Whatever you can say about American media biases (Fox News, NYT, etc), this is a much much more systematic deceit.

The question is, should the jounalists not be embedded? Should the videos not be supplied to Al Jezzira (if even possible)? America can't control Al Jezzira, maybe they can compete with their own American produced anti-prop? (This is already being done and is failing woefully.)

Successful elections on Jan 30 will be the ultimate remedy. I do, however, forsee >200 people dieing in bombings on election day, and mass boycotting by the Sunnis. 10 weeks is very soon.

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

I think the metric for success is the number of casualties taken across Iraq (or worse, in the USA) by nonmilitary -- Iraqi security forces, journalists, etc. -- they're the ones who the terrorists terrorize and the Army is there to protect, remember? I also think there's a fair chance the Fallooja assault will be successful with that metric, but it seems a little early to tell.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

I think the marine's actions are perfectly understandable and not necessarily insane. Given his information, shooting those feigning death is the right choice, especially considering the day before a member of his unit was killed by a booby-trapped carcass.

My Navy buddy did some urban combat training, and described it as extremely frightening. His comment was, "before you comment on what is morally right and wrong for a soldier in a war, you should strap on some boots, pick up an M-16, and try it out for yourself."

Pointing to the torture chambers found is a good example. It isn't like we're just a bit less like them, in less harsh violence towards innocents. You have people exacting great violence on innocent Iraqis, and our troops who have, if anything, been too soft on attacking those attacking innocents. I would choose to be overly harsh on the guilty in that match up.

You’re right though, one American semi-non-fuck-up gets all the press, and dozens of torture rooms and a populace in Fallujah happy to be freed of what proved to be a very oppressive insurgency leadership, gets almost no news. Fuck that. I’m hoping Iraqis are growing pissed that popular opinion outside of Iraq is siding with those killing the most Iraqi civilians. Just because it’s on AlJazeera, doesn’t mean Iraqis buy it. We’ll see.

As for Sunni election boycotts, I would tend to disagree. There will be at least one Sunni candidate not killed as a ‘collaborator’, and he will get most of the Sunni votes. Because the media is totally setting the elections up as a failure, I’m sure it will exceed most people’s expectations, like Afghani elections was, thankfully, a peaceful event.




“The second is endemic to "the madness" of war, and has no solution save pulling out crazy soldiers, which means we'd HAVE no military. Some people like this solution.”

Dude… robots!

They don’t go crazy, and needn’t be autonomous. They could be controlled like the predator. The other day I was reading about a sniper killed, and thought a tele-operated sniper rifle was long overdue. Considering the next generation of troops will be trained on a tele-op interface to shooting long before basic training (doom 3), I think it could totally work.

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

Also, the "problem" with American soldiers being depicted in a bad light on al Jazeera should be a part of any serious plan, and dealt with, right? It's eminently predictable that an "atrocity" would be committed on video in an operation such as this -- it was only unknown how severe it would be. Maybe the plan was to explain that (whatever it was) it's not so bad?

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger joško said...

Miguel, you're right that a "military" victory today really isn't the same as a military victory of yore. I mean, the carpet bombing of Tokyo was seen as a successful cakewalk back during doubleya-doubleya 2, but today would be an unacceptable atrocity.

But, I also agree that even when considering the minimization of civilian casualties in the equation, Falluja was a success.

I just read that the US will pay $2,500 to every Falluja household that endured property damage from the assault. This is more than three times the city's average annual wage! (US equivalent would be ~100 grand. Can I please get bombed?)

Ivan, Iraq isn't really like Afganistan. It has double the population in a far more cosmopolitan setting (read: way more vulnerable to IED attacks). The rebel insurgency is far more sophisticated and numerous than the Taliban remnants, with more funding and more weaponry. Also, I think they enjoy a popular backing that is lacking in Afganistan, whose core is an aversion to the idea of "Occupation." I've never heard of Afgan compaints using this word. When millions of Sunnis are pissed off for losing power, come election day, heads will roll.

But, all this being said, I still stand by my "7 years hooka smoking on Euphrates" bet.

 

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