Monday, June 28, 2004

War News for June 28, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Insurgents capture US Marine near Fallujah, threaten beheading. Bring ‘em on: One British soldier killed, two wounded by roadside bomb near Basra. Bring ‘em on: US contractor killed as RAAF C-130 is hit by ground fire near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Six ICDC members killed in attack near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in action in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi children killed in mortar attack near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in rocket attack near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed in mortar attack in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Five Kurdish peshmerga wounded by roadside bomb near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents threaten Pakistani contractor with beheading. Bring ‘em on: British security contractor killed in Baghdad ambush. "Sovereignty" given to interim Iraqi government, Baghdad fashion maven and incompetent administrator L. Paul Bremer cuts and runs. KIA’s mother sounds off. “The mother of a soldier killed last week in Iraq planned to openly challenge the Pentagon on Sunday night by not only allowing the media to take pictures and video as her son's coffin arrived at Sacramento International Airport, but by encouraging outlets to publish and distribute the images. ‘I don't care what [President Bush] wants,’ Nadia McCaffrey said of the administration's policy that bans on-base photographing of coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She planned to hold a short ceremony in front of reporters and photographers inside a Delta Airlines cargo terminal at the airport shortly before Flight 1583 was scheduled to arrive from Atlanta at midnight with the body of her son, National Guard Spc. Patrick McCaffrey, 34.” Commentary Editorial: “The missteps have been many: listening to Iraqi exiles like Ahmad Chalabi who insisted that their countrymen would welcome invaders; using too few troops, which led to a continuing crime wave and later to kidnappings and full-blown terror attacks. Disbanding the Iraqi army worsened the nation's unemployment problem and left millions of former soldiers unhappy — men with weapons. Keeping the United Nations at arm's length made it harder to regain assistance when the need was dire. It will take years for widely felt hostility to ebb, in Iraq and other countries. The consequences of arrogance, accompanied by certitude that the world's most powerful military can cure all ills, should be burned into Americans' memory banks. Preemption is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster. The U.S. needs better intelligence before it acts in the future. It needs to listen to friendly nations. It needs humility.” Read the whole thing. Analysis: “When the war began 15 months ago, the president's Iraq policy rested on four broad principles: The United States should act preemptively to prevent strikes on U.S. targets. Washington should be willing to act unilaterally, alone or with a select coalition, when the United Nations or allies balk. Iraq was the next cornerstone in the global war on terrorism. And Baghdad's transformation into a new democracy would spark regionwide change. But these central planks of Bush doctrine have been tainted by spiraling violence, limited reconstruction, failure to find weapons of mass destruction or prove Iraq's ties to al Qaeda, and mounting Arab disillusionment with U.S. leadership. ‘Of the four principles, three have failed, and the fourth -- democracy promotion -- is hanging by a sliver,’ said Geoffrey Kemp, a National Security Council staff member in the Reagan administration and now director of regional strategic programs at the Nixon Center.” Analysis: “Young Army captains spend their evenings in mayors' offices, advising on everything from democracy theory to garbage collection. Slightly older lieutenant colonels organize sheiks' councils. ‘Every commander in this division has personally run an election,’ either in Bosnia or Kosovo, says a senior officer in the 1st Infantry Division, now based in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. By default, they have become America's nation-builders overseas.” These are all tasks that should have been accomplished by the civilian reconstruction authority, not the uniformed services. The CPA has been a miserable failure. Opinion: “Backbiters and back-stabbers are as entitled as anyone to ask questions, but they, like the rest of us, must remain realistic and credible. Today Iraq is poised for increased prosperity and a better political future. Many, if not most, of its people are imbued with hope. Thousands of brave Americans, with the support of most of us here, are slowly but surely turning that hope into reality.” So according to Bob Dole, any American who questions Lieutenant AWOL’s disastrous Iraq policy is a “back-stabber.” Bob, you’re starting to sound like one of those Nazis you fought 60 years ago. Opinion: “The news from Iraq is worse than ever. Government ministers, local officials and Iraqi police officers are murdered in broad daylight. American troop convoys are ambushed at roadsides. Foreign civilians are taken hostage and beheaded on an almost weekly basis. Ahmed Chalabi, the Bushies' first choice to head the new democratic Iraq, is exposed as a double agent for Iran and a blatant liar about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Oil pipelines are regularly sabotaged. And control of Fallujah, in the mutinous Sunni triangle, is ceded without a fight to the jihadi militants.” Casualty Reports Local story: North Carolina Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Mississippi soldier wounded in Iraq. Note to Readers The US Marine captured by insurgents disappeared on June 21, according to US military sources. That was the same day four US Marines patrolling in Ramadi were killed. There were no survivors from that patrol. News reports indicated that the dead Marines were found without weapons or body armor, and that their rucksacks had been searched. I strongly suspect the US Marine was captured during that ambush. Having had some experience in this field, I also suspect this patrol was actually a Marine intelligence operation that went very, very wrong. Soldiers with a native language ability are almost always seconded to intelligence or civil affairs duties. A five-man patrol in a hostile area like Ramadi makes little tactical sense – assuming the insurgents hold no other captives. The ambush happened to suddenly that the Marines apparently had no time to radio a call for help. Finally, the videotape released by the insurgents announcing the Marine’s capture said they had “lured” him outside the Marines perimeter. Update: Of course, I could be entirely wrong about the purpose of the patrol. Hometown newspaper stories reveal that the four Marine KIAs, all members of 2d Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, were all relatively junior enlisted personnel. It might be worth remembering the circumstances surrounding the capture of three US soldiers by Yugoslavian Military Intelligence in Macedonia in April 1999, at the start of the NATO Kosovo campaign. The soldiers were part of a routine mounted patrol comprised of four vehicles operating near Kumonovo, Macedonia. The NCO in charge of the patrol sent the three soldiers and their vehicle on an unauthorized mission off the designated patrol route to score some chow at a well-known roadside chicken stand where they were subsequently ambushed and captured. I heard a tape of the radio transmissions between the ambushed soldiers and the patrol leader. One of the ambushed soldiers grabbed the radio mike and transmitted a by-the-book spot report while under fire. The sergeant acknowledged the report and added, “You better not be bullshitting me!” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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