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War Blog (Continued) By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 17, 2004


THE FOG OF WAR GETS FOGGIER

As if we needed a reminder, if there's one thing the Rather Affair teaches us, it is to distrust sources of information. And that includes this one, whatever paltry mix of opinion and information I give - and that's not much.

But the War in Iraq goes on with the body count mounting at an alarming rate. What to make of it? Andrew, as has been his wont of late, has his finger inching ever closer to the panic button. He has his reasons. The reports, like this one he cites from the respected Financial Times, are not good. He also refers to a "classified" National Intelligence Estimate, which is the subject of a New York Times article. As with most such reports, what we are reading are the whispers of various spooks, but still the news, although predictable, is not good. Basically the intelligence estimators tell us the near future looks a. horrific (civil war), b. extremely grim or c. more of the grim-enough status quo.

I'm sure many of us could have written that, but never mind. If you're looking for a little optimism, turn as usual to Iraq the Model where Omar is doing one of his rundowns of Arab public opinion posted on the BBC board (a particularly literate group, obviously). Who to believe - Omar or Andrew's establishment 'opiners'? All? None? Beats me. But I do know this. We have to stick this out and we have to win it somehow, even if it takes a decade or more. The alternative is truly horrific - and it doesn't take a National Intelligence Estimate to figure that out.  Thursday, September 16, 2004

www.rogerlsimon.com

*

IRAQ, PART 1

The number, nature and geographical distribution of US combat deaths in Iraq provide a statistical indicator of its character. It provides a clue into the nature of the fighting and helps us answer the questions that are being raised in the press: 'is Iraq descending into civil war?'; 'is unrest spreading?' Using March, 2004 as a starting point, the overall trend of US deaths is: 

2004 Death Notable Events
March 52
April 147 Fallujah and Al Sadr uprising
May 88
June 44 Transitional Government
July 61
August 71 Operations against Sadr in Najaf
Sept (est) 90

If one considers three months of casualties in detail, April, June and September 2004 from the table in Global Security Org listing the circumstances under which individual American soldiers died, clearly the overwhelming percentage of men perished fighting in the same places, namely the Sunni triangle, notably near Fallujah and in certain neighborhoods of Baghdad. Even operations against Moqtada al Sadr did not change the pattern. Let's look at the August figures.

  Circumstances and Place
1 Killed when his patrol was struck by a remotely detonated improvised explosive device near Samarra around 12:30 p.m. Aug. 1.
2 Died in Samarra, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his guard post
3 Died due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
4 IED detonated near the vehicle he was traveling in while on patrol
5 Died from injuries suffered when an IED detonated near the vehicle he was traveling in while on patrol
6 Died due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
7 Died of wounds received in action in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stability operations
8 Died of wounds received in action Aug. 2 in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stability operations
9 Died as a result of a non-hostile gunshot wound
10 Died in a vehicle accident / He was caught between two motor pool vehicles
11  Died from injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
12  Died due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
13 Killed when their convoy was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire near Najaf
14 Killed as a result of enemy action in the An Najaf province
15 Killed as a result of enemy action in the An Najaf province
16  Died August 5, in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol on August 4 in Balad, Iraq
17 Killed as a result of enemy action in the An Najaf province
18 Killed as a result of enemy action in the An Najaf province
19  Died in Baghdad, Iraq, when individuals using small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades attacked his vehicle
20 Killed when his unit came under attack from anti-Iraqi forces in a western portion of the Baghdad. An insurgent rocket-propelled grenade attack killed the trooper during a mounted patrol
21 Died in a non-combat related incident
22 Killed in action Sunday in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stability operations
23 Died at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, from wounds received during a mortar attack
24 Died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., of injuries sustained on July 10 in Ad Dhuha, Iraq, when a rocket propelled grenade detonated near his vehicle
25 Killed when a CH-53 helicopter crashed in the Al Anbar Province about 10:15 p.m. while flying in support of security and stabilization operations
26 Killed when a CH-53 helicopter crashed in the Al Anbar Province about 10:15 p.m. while flying in support of security and stabilization operations
27 Died in Najaf, Iraq, when his unit came under small arms fire and grenade attack
28 Killed when a CH-53 helicopter crashed in the Al Anbar Province about 10:15 p.m. while flying in support of security and stabilization operations
29 Died of wounds received in action in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stability operations, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his mounted reconnaissance patrol vehicle.
30 Died due to hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
31 Killed in an improvised explosive attack in the northern part of Baghdad
32 Died as a result of hostile fire in Najaf, Iraq
33 Died as a result of hostile fire in Najaf, Iraq
34 Died in Najaf, Iraq, when his M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device
35 Died in Ar Ramabi, Iraq, when his M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device
36 Died from injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
37 Died ifrom injuries received from enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
38 Killed by a series of anti-Iraqi force attacks in eastern Baghdad when his patrol came under small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack.
39 Killed in action in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stability operations
40 Died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his checkpoint
41 Killed in Sadr City, Iraq, when his patrol came under enemy small arms fire
42 Killed by small arms fire in eastern Baghdad
43 Killed in a non-combat related vehicle incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
44 Killed in action in Al Najaf while conducting security and stability operations and another died after a vehicle accident in the Al Anbar Province
45  Died from injuries received due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
Polish Al Hillah (near Karbalah)
Al Hillah (near Karbalah)
46 Killed in action while conducting security and stability operations in the Al Anbar Province
47 Unspecified location
48 Killed by an improvised explosive device near Samarra
49 Killed by an improvised explosive device near Samarra
50 Killed by RPG in Baghdad
51 Killed in action Anbar Province
52 Died of wounds received in action while conducting security and stability operations in the Al Anbar Province
53 Died of wounds received in action while conducting security and stability operations in the Al Anbar Province
54 Died of wounds received in action while conducting security and stability operations in the Al Anbar Province
55 Killed in a vehicle accident when the humvee he was in hit an M1A1 tank, causing the vehicle to flip Saturday in the Al Anbar Province
56  Died due to enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
57 Killed around 4:45 p.m. when their convoy was attacked by a roadside bomb in west Mosul
58 Died of wounds suffered when a rocket-propelled grenade hit a patrol in an unspecified place
59 Died as the result of a vehicle accident near Fallujah when an M915A tractor and an M106A2 tanker trailer rolled over an embankment
60 Died as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
61 Died in Tikrit, Iraq, when his tractor-trailer rolled over as he attempted to access a pontoon bridge
62 Killed in a mortar attack in Baghdad
63 Died as result of enemy action in An Najaf, Iraq
64 Died from injuries received due to enemy action in Babil Province, Iraq
65 Died from injuries received due to enemy action in An Najaf, Iraq
66 Killed after the truck he was driving in rolled off an embankment about 4:45 a.m. near Fallujah
67 Died in Habbaniyah, Iraq, of non-combat related injuries
68 Died in a non-hostile vehicle accident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq
69 Died due to enemy action in Babil Province, Iraq
70 Died as result of enemy action near Mosul, Iraq
71 Died in Khutayiah, Iraq, when his military vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (near the Syrian border?)

The reader is invited to examine the listed casualty details of every month for himself. But like the listing above, they will confirm that the American casualties have occurred in a limited number of places. Journalist and blogger Jason van Steenwyk, who served in Iraq, says in his post, Hardly Tet, that we should recognize combat operations in Iraq for what they objectively are, neither minimizing nor inflating the estimate.

So six Americans are wounded in Baghdad and the New York Times thinks the sky is falling. ... I hate to break it to Andrew Sullivan, who seems to be losing heart. But this looks like a status quo to me. ...

Not very effective stuff. Here's what "increasing sophistication" would look like:

American armored vehicles are being damaged or destroyed not with suicide bombers--which are by definition a "fire and forget" weapon system--but with volley-fired RPG-18s supported by skillfully employed automatic weapons covering their flanks and withdrawal routes.

American convoys running into modern anti-tank mines on a regular basis (as opposed to mortar shells set up as IEDs.) These mines are made more effective by an obstacle plan, and the IED ambushes are supported by automatic weapons and Dragonov sniper fire. Reinforcement units are hit.

Mortar fire is not random, but somehow manages to consistently land close to US mortar and artillery positions, headquarters buildings, and fuel and ammo storage areas. When an American convoy is attacked, insurgents manage to drop a curtain of mortar rounds along the withdrawal routes between the Americans and the insurgents. The enemy begins to seek direct fire engagements with Americans from positions of advantage, finds them, and sustains them for more than 15 minutes. American tanks are destroyed by Milan, Dragon, Sagger, or similar 2nd generation anti-tank missiles, from the flanks or rear.

While these figures do not address all of its dimensions, I hope they provide some objective basis for bounding claims that are made. Based on the pattern of casualties, it is hard to reach the conclusion that Iraq is descending into anarchy or that the resistance is spreading uncontrollably. If that were true we would be seeing a different distribution of casualties. Combat in Iraq is complex politico-military phenomenon. Some aspects of the psychology and politics are covered in the CSIS Report. I hope to move onto other aspects tomorrow.  Thursday, September 16, 2004

www.belmontclub.blogspot.com

*

IRAQ WAR ALLIES LASH OUT AT KOFI

Another good story submerged during Rathergate: Kofi Annan has managed to greatly irritate the nations of the Iraq War coalition, with yet another amazingly ill-considered statement—almost as dumb as some of the things John Kerry has said: Iraq war allies lash out at Annan.

Mr Annan said in an interview with the BBC World Service that “painful lessons” had been learnt since the war in Iraq.

“Lessons for the US, the UN and other member states. I think in the end everybody’s concluded it’s best to work together with our allies and through the UN,” he said.

Mr Annan told the BBC: “I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time - without UN approval and much broader support from the international community.”

He said he believed there should have been a second UN resolution following Iraq’s failure to comply over weapons inspections.

And it should have been up to the Security Council to approve or determine the consequences, he added.

When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: “Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.”

FAHRENHEIT 9/11 DEBUTS IN TEHRAN

Last week, in the era before Rathergate, several readers emailed this incredibly revealing story about the premiere of Michael Moore’s agitprop mockumentary in Tehran.

In a nation that really feels the dictator’s boot on its neck, the audience knows, with the certain knowledge of the oppressed, why their oppressor is allowing them to watch this movie. But they don’t even see (or care about) Moore’s loathing for his own country.

They’re too exhilarated just to catch an unvarnished, uncensored glimpse of ... America: ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ gets ‘axis of evil’ premiere.

TEHRAN (AFP) - Cinemagoers in the Iranian capital were given their first glimpse of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ this week, but appeared to enjoy more the rare chance to watch an American movie than its assault on their regime’s arch foe George W. Bush.

Michael Moore’s Bush-bashing polemic may have cruised through Iran’s unforgiving censors thanks to its indictment of US policy, but the premiere of the film also had the side effect of making some viewers relate the same questioning to their own state of affairs.

“The authorities obviously gave the film the green light for political reasons, in that anything against the United States must be good,” quipped one of the hundreds of mainly young people who flocked to Tuesday night’s opening screening.

The prize-winning documentary has been allowed out on release here to coincide with the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States — which kicked off a chain of events that has seen Iran surrounded by US troops and lumped into an “axis of evil”.

“They are showing this film to erase from our minds the idea that America is the great saviour,” said Hirad Harandian, another cinemagoer at the uptown Farhang cinema.  Thursday, September 16, 2004

www.littlegreenfootballs.com




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