Tuesday, August 19, 2003

War News for August 19, 2003 Draft Bring ‘em on: US soldier killed by explosive device in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Five US soldiers wounded by mine attack near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded in grenade attack near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked near Tikrit. No US casualties reported. Bremer: Sabotage costing “Iraqi people” billions. Last time I checked, the American taxpayers were still paying for this operation. Al Qaeda recruiting anti-American fighters for Iraq. US – Iraqi relations in Baghdad worsen. Iraqis working for US continue to be targeted. Bush administration ideological squabbles make a bad situation worse. Bomb-maker with AQ connections reportedly captured in Ramadi. The bomb-maker is in this story about a Florida National Guard unit in Ramadi. You’ll realize the significance of his presence after reading the story cited in the rant below. Afghanistan: Ten more police killed in Taliban raids. Local story: Connecticut soldier dies from heat injuries. Rant of the Day Back in the days of the Cold War, Army tactical intelligence officers were trained to look for small details that would answer big questions. If you were unfortunate enough to have a mission defending a place like the Fulda Gap, you looked for two small Soviet engineer vehicles. One was called an IRM and the other an IMR. (I always remembered which was which with the help of the mnemonic “I Move Rocks” and “I Remove Mines.”) Soviet battle doctrine always placed these two of these vehicles in the forward detachment of an advancing Motorized Rifle Division. If you found that forward detachment, you just found the MRD’s axis of advance. If you found the axis of advance, you just found MRD’s tank regiment. If you found the tank regiment, you found the MRD’s main effort. If you found the main effort…well, you get the picture. The same principle applies to low-intensity conflict. Small details are often the precursors of a larger trend. So far the indicators ain't pretty, at least if you think an active Al Qaeda presence in Iraq is a bad thing. Today the Arab press reported an explosion at ammo dump near Tikrit that killed twelve former Iraqi soldiers, were said looting the place looking for copper. ”Looting,” while a technically correct term, is actually misleading in this case. To the trained eye, twelve former officers found in an unsecured ammo facility near Tikrit aren’t “looting” in the conventional sense; they’re most likely scrounging explosive material to kill Americans. “Looting copper,” my ass: the only copper component in an artillery projectile is the rotating band, and it’s easy enough to remove the band without detonating the shell. You just knock it off with a chisel. Unless the explosive material inside the shell is already unstable for some other reason, it’s not that hard to do. On the other hand, extracting the explosive material is a much riskier operation especially if you’re trying to extract a lot of material from lots of shells. Lately, press reports show an increase in the use of IEDs and a shift away from RPG ambushes. The report of a Syrian AQ operative captured in Ramadi says he was training Iraqi insurgents to use and manufacture IEDs. That report is disturbing because he’s probably not the only AQ operative providing assistance to the Iraqi insurgency – he’s just the only one we’ve caught. Before the war, critics warned that a prolonged occupation of Iraq would provide a great source of recruits for AQ. The neo-cons said that wouldn’t happen, and when it did Bush told them to “bring ‘em on.” Evidently AQ is taking him at his word.


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