Thursday, October 28, 2004

War News for Thursday, October 28, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed in US air strike in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded by car bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One foreign civilian killed, three wounded by roadside bomb attack near Baghdad airport. Bring ‘em on: Senior official from Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in convoy ambush near Sindiayah. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi television anchorwoman assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One Estonian soldier killed, five wounded by roadside bomb ambush in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Explosions reported at South Korean base camp near Arbil. Bring ‘em on: INC politician assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked by roadside bomb near Baghdad airport. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, four wounded in fighting near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen wounded in bomb ambush near Basra. Bring ‘em on: British troops ambushed in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded by car bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents take Polish woman hostage in Iraq. Bring ‘em on: Coalition checkpoint mortared near As Suwayrah. Bring ‘em on: Car bombing foiled in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents seize Latifiyah, expel residents. Allawi denigrates the troops. “Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blamed the U.S.-led military forces on Tuesday for the weekend massacre of 49 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers, saying the military had shown ‘major negligence.’” Ramadi. “With a powerful mix of propaganda and intimidation, well-financed guerrillas have turned the people of Ramadi against the American occupiers and their allies, Iraqis and marines here say. ‘The provincial government is on the verge of collapse,’ said Second Lt. Ryan Schranel, whose platoon does 24-hour guard duty at the besieged government center opposite the main bazaar. ‘Just about everybody has resigned or is on the verge of resigning.’” Support the troops! “I know my uncle, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army currently fighting in Iraq, wants to vote. But because of Republican Party tactics this election year, he almost lost his chance.” Commentary Editorial: “The gap between the administration's public statements and private actions is enormous. In May, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said civilians captured in Iraq would be treated according to the conventions. And Stephen Cambone, Mr. Rumsfeld's under secretary for intelligence, gave at best a misleading answer when he testified under oath that it was his ‘guess’ that President Bush would take the issue under advisement should it ever come up. Not only had it come up, but the decision had already been made to deny the protections of the Geneva Conventions to certain prisoners.” Editorial: “The United States is in Iraq because ________. President Bush has been erasing his answers and writing new ones since before the invasion began. A recent answer is: To capture or kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi is the Jordanian-born terrorist responsible for bombings, ambushes and beheadings. President Bush put Zarqawi at the top of his list to answer Sen. John Kerry's charge that Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror. That was before news reports revealed that poor decisions by President Bush have given Zarqawi the scope and possibly the munitions he needs to attack American and Iraqi forces.” Opinion: “My peripatetic colleague Dana Milbank recently reported on a poll showing that 72 percent of Bush's supporters believe Iraq did in fact possess weapons of mass destruction and that 75 percent believed Hussein gave al Qaeda ‘substantial support.’ These beliefs are false, in contradiction of the facts, and even Bush, when pressed, has admitted that. But these beliefs did not arise out of nowhere. They are a direct consequence of the administration's repeated lies -- lies of commission, such as Cheney's statements, and lies of omission, the appalling failure to correct wrongly held views.” Opinion: “If George W. Bush loses this election, he will face a career crisis not seen since his days as a failed oil wildcatter before he was elected governor of Texas. But like all confused job seekers, Bush should follow his passion, which is clearly bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq. That is why if John Kerry is elected president, he should appoint Bush to be his ambassador to Iraq.” Analysis: “The damage done by Abu Ghraib might at least have been minimized had the administration pursued a strategy of publicly and sincerely holding accountable those responsible for it. Instead, it has done something close to the opposite. The Bush administration has condemned the abuses as the work of a ‘few bad apples,’ while working diligently to get the story off the front pages and out of the presidential campaign. In a meeting with Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth shortly after the scandal broke, reports Hersh, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice argued that the abuses resulted not from the president's policies in the war on terrorism, but from “implementation of policy” by the military. The various committees and commissions investigating the scandal have more or less abetted this line of defense. Discussing the results of the independent investigation into Abu Ghraib he chaired, former defense secretary James R. Schlesinger explained that while ‘institutional and personal responsibility’ for the abuses went all the way to Washington, they were rooted in the sadism and brutality of a few individuals—‘Animal House on the night shift,’ as he put it. While the military's civilian leadership was guilty of ‘indirect responsibility,’ Schlesinger told reporters, Donald Rumsfeld's resignation ‘would be a boon to all of America's enemies.’ Go past the executive summaries and press releases, however, and a careful reading of the reports reveals a different story. The devastating scandal of Abu Ghraib wasn't a failure of implementation, as Rice and other administration defenders have admitted. It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office.” Casualty Reports Local story: Arizona soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Massachusetts Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Hawaii Marine dies in Iraq. Rant of the Day This really frosts my ass. I don’t know what happened to the explosives at Al Qa Qaa, but I damn well know what should have happened. Tucked away in one of the G4 annexes of every Division Operations Order, (I don’t remember which annex, and I’m too lazy to go dig out my copy of FM 101-5) there are instructions on what to do with captured enemy material. The capturing unit destroys enemy weapons in place. Small arms and crew-served weapons are collected and smashed with a tracked vehicle, while larger weapons are destroyed with a thermite grenade placed in the breech. (Never toss a thermite in the muzzle. If the previous owner left a round in the breech, you’ll get a big surprise.) You report captured ammunition and other material with a spot report that eventually arrives at the G4 in the Division rear command post, while your brigade S3 and the Division G3 will alert follow-on units about the location. Based on the specifics of whatever you’ve captured and reported, the logistics weenies in G4 will either send out a survey team or ask the G3 to issue a fragmentary order to the Division engineers to blow that shit up. If the G4 decides to survey whatever you captured, they can opt to destroy it, evacuate it or secure it. Again, the G4 - either at Corps or Division - will issue the appropriate FRAGO, directing an MP unit to secure the site, a quartermaster unit to haul it away, or an engineer unit to destroy it. If I remember correctly, the time standard from spot report to final disposition is 72 hours. Here’s the nub, and to make my point I’ll have to explain a bit about Army organizations and staff functions. Bear with me; it won’t hurt much. An Army division is a self-contained unit with organic resources configured to move, shoot, communicate and sustain high-intensity combat operation for 96 hours without reconstitution or outside support. An Army corps is a big, fat headquarters with shitloads of staff planners, logisticians, and even bigger shitloads of support units that is capable of maneuvering and supporting two or more divisions for an entire campaign. The corps augments subordinate divisions with resources from corps support units - say, engineers, military police, artillery, aviation or logistics outfits - based on mission, enemy troops, terrain, and time available. For example, a division assigned to breach an obstacle by assault will receive the lion’s share of corps’ combat engineer and artillery assets while the follow-on exploitation division will get a disproportionate amount of the corps aviation goodies. Now, back to all that shit you captured and reported. If the division is moving rapidly, that stuff will end up in the Corps sector as boundaries change, but the disposition process remains the same - destroy, secure or evacuate the shit. We know Rumsfeld stripped out many corps support units from the time-phased force and deployment list (the document that identifies, alerts and deploys units required to support the campaign plan, abbreviated TPFDL and pronounced “tip fiddle“ or “dick fiddle” depending on your core beliefs about staff duty.) Rummy stripped out the XVIII Airborne Corps MP brigade, engineer brigade, and logistic units. Those units didn’t deploy for the initial invasion and couldn’t reinforce the assault divisions until they arrived in the theater of operations, well after the fall of Baghdad. So you captured a depot of enemy material. You reported it. You marked it on your map and alerted the units to your left, right and rear. You told your troops not to fuck around with it and your sergeants enforced your order. Your battalion commander issues march order, you saddle up and submit a displacement report as you head off to your next objective. You did your job and you did it right. The guy who didn’t do his job was Donald Rumsfeld, because he didn’t give your division and corps staff weenies the necessary resources to destroy, secure or evacuate all that shit you captured, and now the bad guys are throwing it at you with a vengeance. So bite my Big Red One, Billy Kristol, Laura Ingraham and Rudy Giuliani. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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