Friday, November 05, 2004

Fallujah: A Last Prayer

You've seen it on the news already. Fallujah is the next city to fall. We've been softening up targets while the political process goes forward. Alaa at the Mesopotamian talks about the background of the people inside, negotiations and the need for a good rear guard in Baghdad:

The “negotiating” team from Falujah has written a letter to the government stating the terms and conditions for solving the crisis from their point of view. It is an arrogant letter demanding more or less surrender and reinstatement of the apparatus of the Saddam regime under thinly disguised pretexts and carefully crafted sentences. These conditions were described by Kassem Dawood the minister of Security affairs as “laughable”. It is noteworthy that this minister himself is a Sunni.(...)

But before I end this post I must make one urgent warning. It would be one of those serious mistakes, in my opinion, to rush into battle in Fallujah without protecting and thoroughly securing the rear in Baghdad and surrounding area.

For more information on the upcoming battle in Fallujah from our own sources, go on to the inner sanctum.

We have our own resources on the Marines in Fallujah. Major Dave, newly promoted from Captain, tells us the Marines are prepared to go in. More than prepared. Chomping at the bit. They are hoping they aren't stopped this time. Civilians leaving Fallujah tell them that the "Muj" have taken over their houses and they ask the Marines to turn the houses to rubble rather than let the terrorists have them. Stories are coming out of Fallujah, confirmed by civilians, of average people being kidnapped, shot and killed or beheaded. Seems daily they are finding bodies of people, headless, floating in the river. The enemy is an animal on two legs. He has no mercy and the Marines will have none for them.

I have no idea the numbers of beheadings that have occurred in Fallujah since I have been here. I have no idea the number of hostages that have ended up in Fallujah since we have been here. I just don't know that Americans would be able to comprehend the number anyway. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse. There is no hope for any type of reasoned solution with an enemy like this.(...)

Once again, we are being asked by citizens who have fled the city to go in and take the city back. They are willing for us to literally rubble the place in order to kill the terrorists within. (...)

The Marines understand and are eager to get on with it. The only lingering fear in them is that we will be ordered to stop again. I don't know if this is going to happen but if it happens soon, I will write you when its over.

God bless you Major Dave. Our prayers are with you and your men. May God protect the innocent civilians and the children of those that will fight and surely use them for their own purposes.

A commentor over at Mesopotamian talks about potential issues and what the enemies battle order might be:

First they underestimate the numbers of the enemy. The last guess I read was 2 or 3 thousand. My guess is 30,000. It is based on straight population data. 10% of the population will fight. I include women and children, because the women and children are integral parts of the G's formations. The under 6 kids will act as scouts and runners, the 7 to 12 year olds will be RPG gunners, the teenage boys will carry AK's. Females over 12 will act as corpsmen and supply mules. The adult males will operate crew served weapons and act as shock troops. This is the same force structure that was used in Lebanon and Somalia and there is no reason for it to change.

I'm not sure about either estimate frankly. According to some reports, about 150k people have fled the city already. This was good for the civilians and our soldiers. Less potential for civilian casualties. But there are many who were unable to leave and have nothing to do with the fight. Elderly, sick and poor will be stranded inside the city. The enemy has no desire to let them leave. If nothing else, they will be looking for high civilian casualty rates to try and force public opinion to turn or, at least, win a moral victory that may allow them to recruit more people into their outlying brigades and from across the ME. We cannot forget that the enemy has a long term goal and Fallujah may serve it's purpose.

It was my opinion in April and my opinion today that was the reason for holding off in Fallujah. What we have failed to do, as we have failed to do for some time, is to gear up our own propaganda machine. Every headless body, every grave of the executed and citizens of the city, fleeing and demanding that the city be turned to rubble to save them from the terrorists, should have been on television. Some retired generals should have been on every channel talking about the tactics of the enemy to use their wives and children as battle support and civilians as shields.

The PR war needed to be started some time ago in my opinion. We know that the civilian casualties, or at least appearing as civilian, will be high in a battle for the city. We should be making sure that the blame for the situation is placed squarely on the shoulders of the terrorists.

I know our boys will try hard not to kill anyone that is not directly firing at them, but it is inevitable that it will not be clean nor perfect.

The commenter at Mesopotamian I believe has it correct:

The Euros will go crazy the first time they get film of a AH-64 making a gun pass on a family unit operating as a squad.

Not just the "Euros", but the peace at any cost folks here in the states as well as your normal, every day citizen who has no idea what the enemy is truly like or the ones that already think that the war or it's operation is a mistake. Again, let us not forget the propaganda machine of the terrorists and their complicit mouth piece al Jazeera.

Stand by for much wailing and gnashing at the teeth.

I'll say it again, our propaganda machine is running way behind the terrorists. I'm not sure I understand our reluctance to do it. Maybe so there is less to explain? Maybe they think it will give ammunition to the terrorist's PR groups? I really don't understand it. Is it our morals? Our desire to stay above the fray just a bit?

It's the same reason I don't understand the lack of pictures from the mass graves or interviews of those families. It's all on film and being released as movies here and there, but it is not part of our daily news consumption. Is this about us? About our inability to look outside and see how terrible the world really is? Or does someone think that it would cause an upsurge against our own Muslim population? Cries for retribution upon the Arab world?

I think there are ways to handle that as well.

If I say it again, "I just don't understand", am I alone?

I'll end here again with a prayer for our boys, the civilians who could not leave and the children who are conscripted into the lines of the enemy and cannot possible understand what they have been committed to. May God protect them and have mercy on them.



G-Man said...

Did a little analysis of this over on my blog as well, if you care to have a gander.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

The insane, subhuman, and cowardly tactics of the terrorists cannot be any big secret to average Iraqis by now, as evidenced in the Iraqi-operated blogs these days. And as biased as Al-Jazeera is for the terrorists, they will probably just refuse to air any of the photos or videos anyone gives to them, to prove that the "insurgency" is Taghut rather than Jihad.

But I do agree that military planners have not made anywhere near as much use of Psyops as they should--via such venues as Iraqi TV. For that, and also Abu Ghraib, I think Rumsfeld should consider his career to be on paper-thin ice at the moment. One video clip is worth ten clips of lead bullets, in my estimation. And we aren't firing enough of them.

See my comments to G-Man's post on the tactics of the assault itself. Great work, BTW, G-Man!

Donal said...

Why we dont have a propaganda machine? Not being in charge I cant say why but I do have some ideas. First, the Iraq's had television news during SH's rule and it was filled with bs everyday,they have no real belief in a free and accurate press. The fact is the majority of the Arab world belive very little that they see on television esp. state run tv- it explains why al Jeezera is so popular it isnt state run and is fairly accurate (not by our standards but by most of the Arab worlds standards). Our refusal to allow al Jeezera into Iraq is also a mistake. They broadcast in by satilete anyway and it gives the appearance that we have something to hide. As for why we dont see this stuff here is that there is no one to report it. Journalists in Iraq are at risk all the time and it has been escalating at an alarming rate. Its going to be bloody and tough the president should be telling the public to prepare for it. In closing let me join with you in prayer- may God protect and have mercy on our soldiers and all the innocents of that city. Amen.

G-Man said...

Why thank you, thank you very much.

MichaelH121 said...

As an Army Vet GOD Bless out Marines (JarHeads) hehehe sorry it is a rivalry thing.

They step into the fire,

They battle on the ground.

May they have an angel,

To take the incomming round.

But they know even when,

They may be the one to fall.

Their journey is not ended,

It is GOD who'll make the call.

The angel that is with them,

Has wings of Greens and Blacks.

Combat boots instead of sandels,

And a job to watch their backs.

Fate is not the bullet,

GOD alone decides their ends.

But they go not alone,

They stand amongst their friends.