israel helps out america — again
The current Iraqi uprising started with the burnt American corpses hanging from a bridge outside Fallujah. The killers of the Americans claimed vengance for the death of Hamas leader Sheik Yassin at the hands of the Israelis. Now the Israelis have assassinated Sheik Yassin's replacement. I wonder if the Iraqis will notice?
How many Israelis and Americans will die because of this? Shall we send thank you cards to Sharon?
[Update: 1:10 PM]
If you haven't seen it, Juan Cole has an article about the relationship between Iraq and Israel re US standing in the Arab world and linkage of policy.
Turning into Israel?
While I'm at it, I might as well add this article that describes the world Sharon and Bush have in mind for us. Something to look forward to.
Inside the bubble
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
What a mess, indeed.
I'm on a roll. Here is Mike Golby's look at the Israeli based US Middle East policy. Mike, by the way, is Our Man in South Africa.
U.S. and Israel Form Unholy Alliance
Sleep well. Sharon is looking out after us.
The Total Sum of Solitudes
Sueños de sueños
[Dreams of dreams]
history belongs to those who write it
thanks to Undernews
AIDS in Zimbabwe
iraq — the face-off
The face-off continues. Someone is going to drop that puck soon.
I fly off to Washington, DC, on Tuesday. I will be shooting some of my grandfather's paintings at the Naval Historical Center. Yesterday I shipped off my lighting equipment. I hope I see it again. If I don't, here are some pictures of it. I'm using just one light source and its a continuous tungsten light with a 750 watt lamp.
It's a Lowel Tota light. Compact and rugged.
The little sucker really puts out a broad and *bright* light.
I got an umbrella with it but I won't be using it for shooting the art work. The smaller the light source, the easier it is to control glare off of shiny surfaces.
I shot my last test shots before shipping the light off. I used Fuji NPL, a tungsten balanced film. Here are the tests with quick and dirty color adjustments.
A painting of my grandmother that Griff did sometime in the 20s. It has some damage, which I will repair digitally. It's a large piece — 51" x 38".
This is a 19" x 26" David Goines. This is behind glass so I was pleased to avoid reflections.
Studio lighting is something new to me and it's exciting to be able to do new things with my camera. It opens new doors. Once I figure out what I can do with one light, and how to finesse that light, I will get more lights. Using continuous lights is not the norm, strobes are. But continuous lights are a lot easier to work with when you can easily see the effect of the lighting. The lights are a lot cheaper and have capabilities that most strobes don't. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. If she can do it, I can too.
My daughter, Katie, had her partner, Duc, return from Iraq two weeks ago. Katie's best friend's husband, Ken, returned three days before that. Ken had been patrolling the streets of Baghdad. We were all so relieved that they both made it home alive. Today I found out that Ken is being called back to Iraq. Those bastards! Those fucking bastards!
iraq — the death spiral
From Jerome Doolittle at BAD ATTITUDES:
I have a busy day and limited time and energy for watching and reporting on the Iraqi Death Spiral. Go read Juan Cole, Robert Fisk, and Michael Moore. And then think about why we are replicating these two scenes:
Sheila Cobb mourning her son,
Pfc. Christopher Cobb, in Bradenton, Fla.
Around 125 Iraqis killed in Falluja
fighting buried in this makeshift cemetery
The New York Times has a nice article about the deaths of US soldiers. It's nice that they finally noticed that soldiers are actually dying in Iraq. And it's nice that they are reporting that some of the families of these dead soldiers seem to be confused as to actually why did their loved ones have to die. And it's nice that they publish attractive graphics like the one below to show how well we are doing at dying. It's not so nice that they can't be bothered to find out how many Iraqis are dying and to show that in attractive graphics, too. Maybe the bars in the bar chart would just be too tall to publish in the newspaper.
I'm going to be out of town from the 20th to the 28th. I will going back to Washington, DC, to take pictures of my Grandfather's paintings as part of the website project I'm doing on his work: Griff's Story. His paintings are at the Naval Historical Center. Gail Munro, the Head Curator, sent me digital files of what they already have film on, which is most of it. I will be shooting those that they haven't already. I'm off to pack up the lighting and photography gear I don't want to try to get through airport security so that I can UPS it. Here is one of the pictures Gale sent me. It is of the rescue of the men of the Reuben James. I will be putting them all up on Griff's site later.
"Like Black Shiny Seals in the Oily Water"
This is more than a little depressing. The US is merely a front for right-wing Israel. We are here to do Sharon's bidding.
The End of the Road
The timing of it!
Ali Abunimah points out that this is only making the reality public.
Why all the fuss about the Bush-Sharon meeting?
A Higher Law
I know the feeling.
Bernd and Hilla Becher
thanks to Conscientious
the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
It looks like the US is backing down on al Sadr and Najaf. it's not clear if there is any change in Fallujah.
Steve Gillard's take on this...
April 15, 11:15 am EST.
Rahul Mahajan has blogged about this but now has a separate piece up. A must read...
Helena Cobban points us to another Iraqi blog that is a must read...
thanks to Coudal Partners
more of the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
Inside the fire
thanks to Conscientious
Jesusfuckingchrist! What are we doing?
the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
The stand off continues. Negotiations in Najaf and the Marine snipers, in Fallujah, picking off anyone that moves. There are 2,500 troops ready to move in to Najaf. One hopes that everyone will come to their senses.
The first link is to another piece by one of the most amazing voices in Iraq — a 24 year old woman in Baghdad who goes by Riverbend. I couldn't find anything I wanted to leave out from her latest post, so here is the whole thing. If you haven't read Riverbend before, go read everything she has written.
Media and Falloojeh...
Rahul Mahajan has been reporting from Baghdad and Fallujah. What he shows are war crimes.
Insurgents Display New Sophistication
Why are people suprised when Iraqis show they aren't stupid? Not only do they have the capability to cut off our supply lines, they can hamper any future retreat back to Kuwait.
Deaths of scores of mercenaries not reported
My first CD cover! I received this in the mail from Boise, Idaho, a couple of days ago. The indie band is The Same Yest and the ablum title is intelligence failure. The music is sampled and political — anti-Bush. Wendy, who put the cover together, found my dead bug pictures and fell in love with Bug #4. (Those are her words, not mine.) All I get is byline and a CD so I'm not ready to quite my day job yet.
I love two wheel vehicles — with and without pedals. Monday last was TestingTesting with Timothy Hull. When he arrived for the show, I went out to greet him and, to my amazement, saw this fine motorcycle in my driveway. It had been riden over by a friend of his — Allistaire. Allistaire had spent two years restoring this 1942 wartime 500 single BSA. It's a beauty. It's his first bike.
I have my own motorcyle project. It was my transportation for 4 years but has sat neglected needing some work and a lot of cleaning. It's a 1982 BMW R100RS. After I get my fixie on the road, I will be getting the beemer back to looking like it did in that picture.
I don't mean to be a nag and a bore. There is more happening, both good and bad, than Iraq. It's just that I've never seen this country doing things that scare me as much as this. The impact of what is happening in Fallujah, Baghdad, Najaf, and too many other cities, will be felt directly by us. And it won't be good. Sorry, I want to return to regular programming but I fear that won't happen any time soon. Boy Blunder seems to be making sure of that. I'll do what I can.
language and genocide
The use of language is important in dehumanizing your enemy. I linked earlier to a related item, when Juan Cole talked about Untermenschen. Billmon talks about language. Language that lets us kill children without loosing sleep.
When you read about Iraq, look at the words being used. Be careful. And be sure to read the comments on Billmon's post.
spoken word artists
I heard about this (literally) at Whole Wheat Radio...
01:39 PM - link
the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
Things are simmering. Kept to a low boil. The sides are jockeying for position, trying to improve their chances for success when the next move comes. And the next move will come. Muqtada al-Sadr is not going to lay down his arms and be taken into custody by the US. And the US, not to put too fine a point on it, is showing what big dicks they have. The military must show what manly men they are and not back down. Do they really believe their bluster or are they just lying to us? If they actually believe their bluster, we are in for some bad times. Not to mention the Iraqis.
Just what is happening in Fallujah? Body and Soul has a rundown...
Civilian casualties in Fallujah
Hundreds of Iraqis also died this week, but we seem to be doing our damnedest not to see or hear them. The Associated Press reports roughly 882 Iraqis killed this week, but plays we say/ they say when trying to explain who they were.
Check out these posts from a blogger in Iraq. I've linked to his comments in other blogs. Be sure to read his Report from Fallujah -- Destroying a Town in Order to "Save" it. He doesn't have permalinks in his blog so you will just have to scroll down. It all should be read anyway...
We talked with Issam Rashid, the chief of security for the mosque. He told us the story. At 3:30 am on Sunday morning, 100 American troops raided the mosque. They were looking for weapons and mujaheddin. They started the riad the way they virtually always do -- by smashing in the gates with tanks and then driving Hummer in. The Hummers ran over and destroyed some of the stored relief goods (the bulk of the goods had already been sent to Fallujah -- over 200 tons -- but the amount remaining was considerable). More was destroyed as soldiers ripped apart sacks looking for rifles. Rashid estimated maybe three tons of supplies were destroyed. We saw for ourselves some of the remains, sacks of beans ripped apart and strewn around.
The mosque was full of people, including 90 down from Kirkuk (many with the Red Crescent). They were all pushed down on the floor, with guns put to the backs of their heads. Another person associated with the mosque, Mr. Alber, who speaks very good English, told us that he repeatedly said, "Please, don't break down doors. Please, don't break windows. We can help you. We can have custodians unlock the doors." (Alber, by the way, was imprisoned by Saddam for running a bakery. As he said, "Under the embargo, you could eat flour, you could eat sugar, you could eat eggs, all separately. But mix them together and bake them and you were harming the economy by raising the price of sugar and you could get 15 years in prison.)
The Americans refused to listen to Alber's pleas. We went all around the mosque and the adjacent madrassah, the Imam Aadham Islamic College. We saw dozens of doors broken down, windows broken, ceilings ripped apart, and bullet holes in walls and ceilings. The way the soldiers searched for illicit arms in the ceiling was first to spray the ceiling with gunfire, then break out a panel and go up and search.
When I asked Rashid if we could use his full name, he said, "Why not?" It's a response we get more and more these days, from people who would have been afraid but have lost their fears through anger. Dignity is one of the few things in Iraq that is not in short supply.
April 12, 1:20 pm EST. Baghdad, Iraq -- Some people are calling the killing in Fallujah "genocide." That's too strong a term and shouldn't be overused. They are allowing women and children to leave, for example. They haven't flattened the whole city.
Let's just call it what it is. It's an incredibly brutal collective punishment in defense of a regime, that of the occupation, that is less brutal than Saddam was but more than makes up for that with its negligence. Fewer people in the mass graves, more children dying for lack of medicine, more people being murdered on the streets or kidnapped. Hard to weigh all of the factors, but I've heard so many say, including Shi'a, that things are worse now.
And Fallujah is something further as well. The Marines are corroborating my judgment, expressed previously, that the mujaheddin of Fallujah (and we're really talking about all of al-Anbar province, which includes Ramadi), are just the men of Fallujah, not some extremist faction. They don't allow "military-age males" out of town. And check out this quote from Time Magazine:
In some neighborhoods, the Marines say, anyone they spot in the streets is considered a "bad guy." Says Marine Major Larry Kaifesh: "It is hard to differentiate between people who are insurgents or civilians. You just have to go with your gut feeling."
April 12, 1:00 pm EST. Baghdad, Iraq -- Word on the street is that the risks to foreigners are very great. I will probably not leave home in the evening any more. I will only be able to update once a day, if things go smoothly. It's even possible I'll phone in my blog updates. Going to Fallujah was very important, because literally nobody was reporting the whole story in English, but risking kidnapping day by day here is a foolish risk -- or so my colleagues have persuaded me.
Everything you've seen in the press (if you're reading very widely and carefully) about how the occupation is collapsing is true. I don't mean this to predict prematurely what the outcome is, just to say that the change I sense in public opinion seems close to irreversible.
Fallujah Gains Mythic Air
"The fighting now is different than a year ago. Before, the Iraqis fought for nothing. Now, fighters from all over Iraq are going to sacrifice themselves," said a Fallujah native who gave his name as Abu Idris and claimed to be in contact with guerrillas who slip in and out of the besieged city three and four times daily.
He spoke in a mosque parking lot emptied moments earlier of more than a ton of donated foodstuffs destined for Fallujah -- heavy bags of rice, tea and flour loaded into long, yellow semitrailers by a cluster of men who, their work done, joined a spirited discussion about the need to take the fight to the enemy. They included a dentist, a prayer leader, a law student, a lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi police and a man who until 10 days earlier had traveled with U.S. troops as a member of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.
"Our brothers who went to Fallujah and came back say: 'Oh, God, it is heaven. Anyone who wants paradise should go to Fallujah,' " Abu Idris said.
The US is claiming to have control of the roads, again, but it does appear to a major problem on it's hands. With a supply line as long and thin as the one they have between Kuwait and Baghdad, there really is no way to keep it open. If it's not open: no bullets and no food.
U.S. tries to regain control of supply routes as gunmen ambush convoys, kidnap drivers
Troops in Iraq Strain to Hold Lines of Supply
The risks to civilian contractors and military convoys moving supplies from Kuwait and around Baghdad have become menacingly clear. After the attack on the Kellogg Brown & Root convoy, military officials said Monday that they feared that the nine people had been taken hostage by militants.
On Monday, a convoy of flatbed trucks carrying M-113 armored personnel carriers was attacked and burned on a road in Latifiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad, according to The Associated Press. Witnesses said three people had been killed. A supply truck was also ambushed and set ablaze on Monday on the road from Baghdad's airport. Looters moved in to carry away goods from the truck as Iraqi policemen looked on without intervening, The A.P. reported.
Commanders and contractors have said American forces are in no immediate danger of running low on essential supplies. Most units are said to keep at least a week's supply of fuel, food and water at their bases.
Even if some of the convoys get through, how much longer before the civilians running the supplies decide that being in a war zone is too dangerous and go home? Apparently, if the Iraqis get serious about cutting off the supplie line, the Army can't last much longer than a week. Who's idea was it to privatize support services?
The negotiations continue and the possibility of the US going into Najaf is too scary to contemplate.
Iraqi clerics say coalition 'must pay' for crisis
In a statement issued Monday after a meeting with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the clerics and members of the country's religious authority also cautioned the coalition against doing battle in the holy city of Najaf, and warned against any attempt to kill al-Sadr.
"The current crisis in Iraq has risen to a level that is beyond any political groups, including the Governing Council, and it is now an issue that is between the religious authority and the coalition forces," the statement said.
"Those who have brought on this crisis must pay for what they have done."
Sistani Threatens Shiite Resistance if US Invades Najaf
Shiite Leaders Negotiate with Muqtada
Just two more links. One about Iran and another about similarities to Vietnam.
Rafsanjani's victory stomp
by Helena Cobban
Blind in Baghdad
01:02 PM - link
Last night's show with Timothy Hull was a lot of fun. Having my living room full of musicians laughing and making great music was a good antidote to what is going on around us. It ended only too soon. But, through the miracle of modern technology, you can listen to the show over and over. Please consider this an invitation to do so.
10:52 AM - link
|Monday April 12 2004|
It's Monday and time, 7pm (pacific), for another TestingTesting webcast from my living room. Tonight's special guest is Timothy Hull.
"His neo-Celtic guitar wizardry and rocker heart make for many moments of transcendence throughout his performances"
- Willimaete Week, Portland Oregon
"Great Songs and A Beautiful Voice"
- Legendary Scottish singer Dick Gaughan
The TT House Band will be Derel Parrott, Joanne Rouse, Steve Showell, Joanne Rouse, and Lisa Toomey. Barton Cole will be here with his Commentary from the Wires. Click on in for an evening of living room music.
02:40 AM - link
the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
US Turns to Negotiations with Insurgents
Hamza Hendawi of AP points out that the US offensives in Fallujah and the Shiite south have been extremely costly politically. Interim Governing Council members grew openly critical, and one suspended his membership on the council. The minister of human rights resigned in protest. The appointment of a minister of human rights in Iraq was treated as a great propaganda victory by the Bush administration when it happened. But there has been virtually no reporting about the resignation, which is a dramatic critique of US policy. Hendawi quotes me, ' "No Iraqi likes to see an imperial power like the United States beating up on people who are essentially their cousins,'' said Juan R. Cole, a University of Michigan lecturer and a prominent expert on Iraqi affairs. ``There is a danger that the vindictive attitude of the Americans ... will push the whole country to hate them. A hated occupier is powerless even with all the firepower in the world,'' he said. '
What is going on now in Fallujah and Najaf is called in Arabic wasta or mediation. With a painless registration, readers who are interested can consult the valuable paper by George E. Irani entitled "Islamic Mediation Techniques for Middle East Conflicts". The Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni fundamentalist organization cooperating with the US, appears to have taken the lead in negotiating with the resistance in Fallujah. A number of Interim Governing Council members are trying to talk Muqtada back from the brink, though he certainly is not going to allow himself peacefully to be arrested. In wasta procedures, it is important that a) both sides are seeking a way to save face and do want to back off from a confrontation and b) that the persons doing the mediating have the necessary social standing with both parties to be credible. That is, only if the US administrators give sufficient respect to their Iraqi colleagues is it likely that the mediation will be successful. Likewise, Arab conceptions of mediation require that all outstanding issues be resolved at once, since the party that feels victimized will be very suspicious if victimization is continuing in one sector even as it ceases in another.
The rumors going around Washington that Bush is going to meet Sharon and give away everything to him, allow him to annex 45% of the West Bank, build the wall, and put Palestinians in small Bantustans (all this negotiated by the criminal Likudnik Elliot Abrams, whom the Neocons got appointed to the National Security Council to deal with Israel-Palestine issues), bode ill for the future of the American occupation of Iraq. The two occupations are profoundly intertwined in the eyes of Iraqis, and the recent fighting in Iraq was in part sparked by the Israeli murder of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas cleric. Bush will never have credibility in Iraq if he rips up the road map and gives away the West Bank to Sharon. Sharon's iron fist in the Occupied Territories is likely to ignite new anti-American violence in Iraq in the coming year if Bush goes supine this way.
Al-Nazzal told me that the people of Fallujah refused to resist the Americans just because Saddam told them to; indeed, the fighting for Fallujah last year was not particularly fierce. He said, "If Saddam said work, we would want to take off three days. But the Americans had to cast us as Saddam supporters. When he was captured, they said the resistance would die down, but even as it has increased, they still call us that."
Nothing could have been easier than gaining the good-will of the people of Fallujah had the Americans not been so brutal in their dealings. Now, a tipping-point has been reached. Fallujah cannot be "saved" from its mujaheddin unless it is destroyed.
The comments on Billmon's posts are always interesting. Here is a comment on the above post. There isn't a link to the comment so I'm posting the whole thing. It's worth reading the other comments.
David is working as an independent journalist and went to Fallujah yesterday in a humanitarian convoy. Taking back roads, they found the highway lined with people who were literally throwing food and water into their van to take into the city.
Despite the rumors of a cease fire, David heard loud explosions and rifle fire. David, because he is white, volunteered to ride in an ambulance into the conflict area. All the other ambulances in the city had been destroyed by the Marines. David helped collect dead and wounded and unsuccessfully tried to escort a pregnant woman out of her house, which had been comandeered by the Marines for use as a fire base.
At some point, the Marines attacked this ambulance as well. David said he was lying on the floor as all the tires of the ambulance were shot out and it was otherwise riddled with holes. Somehow nobody was killed.
David said he was at a medical clinic as car after car drove up with wounded. He saw a woman and a boy who had both been shot in the neck. They both died.
Our country is committing great crimes in Fallujah. All of Iraq and much of the world is outraged. Our press, locked in their hotel rooms or "embedded" with the military, only tells us of a "cease-fire." The Marines are preparing to "take" the city, whatever that means, and things will only get worse. How many more troops is John Kerry going to send to Iraq?
Posted by: Scott Fleming at April 11, 2004 04:57 PM
How GI bullies are making enemies of their Iraqi friends
Iraqis who detested Saddam and welcomed the invasion are uniting against a new perceived oppressor - the US. Paul McGeough reports from Baghdad.
When he arrived at the Palestine Hotel yesterday he was limping; the leg of his jeans was soaked in blood. The cut was small and we were able to bandage it, but George Bush had lost another Iraqi friend.
Sadeer, a 28-year-old Shiite, had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Americans and he takes his life in his hands by working for me. Iraqis are being executed just for being in the company of Westerners.
But his encounter with a bullying US soldier, who roughed him up as he came through the security cordon around the hotel, has pushed him into the nationalist Iraqi camp.
When the GI challenged him, Sadeer tried to explain in his limited English that he entered the hotel routinely. But he was barked at, shoved away and then belted on the foot with a rifle. He used to slow in traffic to greet the US troops. Now he has turned: "Americans bad for Iraq - too many problems."
Leaving the hotel on foot, we had to go through the same streets to get to his car. I tried to explain our movements to the officer in charge of a US tank unit, but we were greeted with a stream of invective.
As I thanked the officer for his civility and moved on, one of his men fell in beside me, mumbling. Asked to repeat himself, he exploded: "Don't you f---in' eyeball me."
Nodding to his officer and raising his weapon, he shrieked: "He has rank to lose. I don't. I'll take you out quick as a flash, motherf---er!"
This is a very thought provoking piece, particularly after the above couple of posts. It's about guerilla warfare and how guerillas get their support and how to take their support away from them.
Iraq: Guerilla Warfare and the Continuation of Politics
This is the first and most important point. Guerilla war, like any other kind of war occurs because people believe there are political goals that can be obtained through war more easily than through other means. If people feel that the occupation of their country won’t end peacefully – then war is inevitable. If certain groups wish to impose their religion and know that it will not be allowed then war is a route to their goal. If people want law and order and occupation forces are unable to provide it – then a new government is necessary and if one cannot be obtained through peaceful means then it must be obtained through violent ones.
The failure of politics leads to war. The failure to provide law and order. The failure to rebuild infrastructure. The failure to provide belief in a promising future. The failure to align the interests of the occupation with the interests of the population. All of this sets up the preconditions for guerilla warfare and rebellion…
Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together? It is only undisciplined troops who make the people their enemies and who, like the fish out of its native element cannot live. – Mao Tse Tung, "On Guerilla Warfare."
Guerillas require one thing to operate, and one thing only – the support of the population. Nor do they need the support of the majority of the population, a substantial minority (generally estimated at between ten to twenty percent) is all that is required though the larger the proportion that supports them the more freely they can move. Unwillingness to cooperate with the enemy (often because retribution from guerillas is certain) is all that is needed from the rest of the population. As long as informers will not go forward to reveal what they know guerillas can disperse into the population and re-supply more or less at will.
In such a situation, no matter how many guerillas you kill you can’t stop the warfare. To do so you have to stop the support of the population for the guerillas. There are basically two ways to do this. The first, and most commonly used, is through atrocities. The US in the Philippines broke the guerilla resistance this way. Entire villages and towns were destroyed including every man, woman and child and the populations of entire towns were moved to camps. This sort of brutality will succeed, and even on a lesser scale can be successful – the Turks in the 90’s broke the Kurdish guerillas through much the same means and Russians in Chechnya are likewise using much the same means
The second method is to prove to the population that their interests are better served by supporting you – not the guerillas. The British in Malaysia were succesful using this as their primary method. If support for the occupation forces will lead to rebuilding, to law and order and to a free and independent Iraq then the population will support the occupation troops. On an operational level this means convincing community leaders and empowering them to deal with law and order on a local level as well as empowering Iraqis to rebuild. On a strategic level it means a strong political commitment to goals Iraqis agree with.
This is not terribly encouraging after looking what we are doing in Iraq.
01:23 AM - link
thanks to Conscientious
Rudolf Koppitz: 1884 - 1936
thanks to Conscientious
12:34 AM - link
|Sunday April 11 2004|
the iraqi intifada — vietnam, lebanon, and the west bank on internet time
Here is a link that describes the Army's force structure. I know I have used some of these terms incorrectly. From the smallest to the largest we have: the individual soldier, squad (9-10 soldiers), platoon (2-4 squads), company (3-5 platoons), battalion (4-6 companies), brigade (2-5 combat battalions), division (3 brigades), corps (2-5 divisions).
The Marines went into Fallujah with two battalions and have called in another battalion for reinforcement. A battalion is between 300 and 1,000 soldiers. That was to secure a heavily armed city of 300,000. Also, when you hear talk of needing another division, we are talking about 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers and all their equipment. Just some perspective.
Army Force Structure
Juan Cole continues to have the best coverage of what is going on...
What Went Wrong in Washington and the Green Zone
Robin Wright of the Washington Post goes Bernard Lewis one better with an insightful piece on What Went Wrong with the American enterprise in Iraq. The Post is on a roll today, with an excellent overview of how things spun out of control in recent weeks by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Anthony Shadid . (I had to scroll down to see it at the MSNBC site in IE for some reason). The article argues for arrogance and ignorance as motives in coming after Muqtada and his people right before Arba'in. But I still wonder about a darker side. The CPA told them that they cracked down on Muqtada because his militias threatened to make democracy impossible. I wonder if what they really meant to say was that his militias threatened to make it impossible for the Pentagon to install Ahmad Chalabi as prime minister.
Here are links to the articles Juan Cole mentioned...
War’s full fury is suddenly everywhere across Iraq
Anti-U.S. Outrage Unites a Growing Iraqi Resistance
Iraqi force refused to back Americans
Series of U.S. Fumbles Blamed for Turmoil in Postwar Iraq
U.S. Targeted Fiery Cleric In Risky Move
As Support for Sadr Surged, Shiites Rallied for Fallujah
The last two are must reads. here are three more posts from Juan Cole that should give everyone some things to think about...
Revolution in Baqubah
Virulent Racism, Disregard for Civilian Life Mar US Military Approach: British Commander
The critique begins with attitudes. The officer quoted says that the US military looks at Iraqis as "Untermenschen," a Hitler-derived term for inferior human beings. ' "My view and the view of the British chain of command is that the Americans' use of violence is not proportionate and is over-responsive to the threat they are facing. They don't see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are." '
This attitude tracks with what I know of racial attitudes in US military ranks. The US military is disproportionately Southern whites and they tend not to be educated outside the officer corps (and even there the education is often narrow). I think we all know what most US soldiers think of Arabs. Even calling them "hajjis" and "Ali Babas" betrays the attitude. (Hajji is a strange thing to call Iraqis, who have lived under a militantly secular socialist regime for 35 years and most of whom couldn't have gone on the pilgrimage to Mecca even if they wanted to). The contempt for Iraqis and Arabs and Muslims that is widespread in the ranks, the British maintain, spills over into operational plans, creating a contempt for human life and a willingness to endanger and kill civilians in a ruthless effort to get at insurgents. This approach produces, of course, further insurgents.
I originally saw this link at AntiWar.com. Read the rest of Juan's comments and original article...
US tactics condemned by British officers
This is from an Iraqi that supports the coalition...
One year after Saddam
thanks to The Agonist
Steve Gilliard has some disturbing analysis of the military situation...
Failure in Iraq
If a regular Iraqi battalion held the town, US forces would make short work of them. But the fact is that this is as much political as military and all the resistance has to do is kill Americans and hold on. They have turned one of the most hated towns in Iraq into a nationalist symbol across the country. The commanders tell the reporters one story, their unit movements say another.
One exmple, the use of the AC-130. That plane is never used in offensive operations. It can kill a football field's worth of soldiers. No one can move forward when Spectre is above, unless they want to die. It is usually used when US forces are pinned down. Then, it can wipe an attacking enemy out. The fact that it was used in Fallujah indicates that their attack stalled out. Then, they had to call in more AF fighters, which means they were in serious trouble. Marines hate calling in the Air Force because they have a habit of killing Marines.
Then, of course, they bought up a third battalion. A full regiment of troops still stuck in that one mile area of Fallujah.
In no war game you could play, in no Lessons Learned, do you bring up another unit if your attack is going well. You do that when your other units are getting hammered.
We will never control Fallujah. We will use the cease-fire as a fig leaf to hide our defeat, and that's what this is, and shove some Iraqi cops and Civil Defense troops in as a shield.
Nor will more troops help, because they don't exist. We already have 24 brigades deployed out of 33, the rest are refitting and losing men who don't want a return to Iraq. No country is going to send men to put down an Iraqi rebellion at this point. The thousands of Pakistanis, Nigerians and Bangladeshis we used as our infantry will stay home and watch this debacle devolve. People think we mean NATO troops when we say adding troops to the coalition, we don't except in a symbolic way. We really want Egyptians, Nigerians, Pakistanis and even Indians, who have large battalions and brigades and who troops can walk around towns and have enough discipline to not rob the locals.
They are not going to send their troops to kill fellow Muslims for us and our vague goals of democracy.
Any attempt to expand the Army will come way too late to solve our troubles in Iraq. We need 3-500K men on the ground today, not three years from now. You don't send two battalions to take a city the size of Albany. You send a division to do that. You had a division in Fallujah, there would be sniping, not fighting and a cease-fire. We don't have a division to send there. We will not get a division to send there. We may have problems getting the First Marine Division home.
We are failing in Iraq. Our mission, our war, lies in shambles. How many more Americans and Iraqis have to die before we decide to walk away?
Here are some comments from Ralph Nader that should give us all a pause. I don't support Ralph in any way, but Kerry is making noises of sending in more troops and we need to think about what that may mean.
Message To America's Students
From Ralph Nader
Nader: The War, The Draft, Your Future
Once again, there is one overriding truth: If war is the only choice in this election, then war we will have.
Today enlistments in the Reserves and National Guard are declining. The Pentagon is quietly recruiting new members to fill local draft boards, as the machinery for drafting a new generation of young Americans is being quietly put into place.
Young Americans need to know that a train is coming, and it could run over their generation in the same way that the Vietnam War devastated the lives of those who came of age in the sixties.
Have a nice weekend.
01:37 PM - link
thanks to coincidences
12:00 PM - link