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US Soldiers re-enact Ben Hur prior to Fallujah assault
(Abhay Mehta, OutlookIndia.com, December 20, 2004)
In the first siege of Fallujah in April 2004, the Iraqi Resistance inflicted a severe defeat on the Americans. In April 2004, while over 1,200 Iraqis were killed, blown up, burnt or shot alive by the Americans -- two thirds of them civilians, mostly women and children -- while 2,000-pound bombs were falling on the the city, AC-130 Spectre gunships were demolishing entire city blocks in less than a minute and of course silence of the plop as Iraqis targeted by marine snipers hit the ground, nonetheless the operative portion remains: the Marines were beaten back in no uncertain terms. This was followed by a "truce". . . . The truce did not hold for very long. . . . This humiliation of the American military was spun as a "strategic retreat" but the desire to get rid of the "weeping sore that Fallujah was" has been on top of the US agenda since then. Fallujah represented a "stellar act of defiance" one that allowed the resistance to "actually secure and control a city, and to beat off the US military" . . . The second formal large scale assault on Fallujah (Nov./Dec 2004) pitted images of the world's most powerful military force against fighters in tennis shoes, wielding homemade rocket launchers. There were three declared tactical objectives. The first was to either kill or capture the Jordanian born "terrorist" "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi" (if indeed he exists) and to "battle and destroy some 4000 to 5000 suspected fighters". The Americans also vowed to "liberate" the residents of Fallujah from "criminal elements" and to "secure Fallujah" for the January elections. Lastly, it appears an additional declared tactical/political objective of the American Military's task was to engage in a "fight of good versus evil". Additionally it appears (presumably per their intelligence reports) that the mission also was to "destroy" "Satan" since it appears that "he lives in Fallujah" . . . On the face of it, it appears as if none of these tactical/military objectives have been met, including, it appears, the desire to presumably meet Mr Satan, resident of Fallujah. . . . As for the other very laudable and rationally quantifiable objectives including that of stuffing democracy into a city by simply obliterating it, all of these seem to be a bit astray. . . . The assault has left as many as 10,000 civilian dead--perhaps much much more . The Red Cross/Red Crescent estimate was upwards of 6000 as of November 25th. . . . What the images of Phantom Fury did not convey is that this assault is the largest concentration of heavy armor in one place, since the fall of Berlin. This was the first time since World War II that "an American armored task force" has been turned "loose in a city with no restrictions". . . . More to the point, the force of as much as 20,000 soldiers (12,000 to 17,000 American/coalition soldiers, about 2000 odd Iraqi "National guards" and perhaps 1000 odd peshmergas) were supported by an estimated 1100 to as much as 2000 armored vehicles and tanks. Air support was largely carrier based out of the gulf and B-52's from bases outside of Iraq. . . . The armor alone represents the heaviest ever concentration of armor since the fall of Berlin (1945) in one place against a single military objective. . . . Despite being flattened (perhaps about 12,000 to as much as 20,000 homes out of an estimated 50,000 razed) by the application of, as US Army Gen. John Abizaid put it, "more military power per square inch than anybody else on earth". . . . The mightiest military machine ever in world history with the mightiest firepower the world has ever seen has been mightily trying to capture Fallujah. But no luck so far. . . . Instead the Americans faced an opposition that broke the back of the assault. Instead of "breaking bone by bone" and crushing "the backbone of the insurgents", it seems to appear that the same has been done unto them as they were planning to do unto the resistance. . . . At the peak of the assault, the Americans held no more than 35-40% of Fallujah (largely the north on or around the 18th of November) Thereafter, they appear to have been steadily repulsed and in fact the coalition forces currently have been repulsed to where they were on November 13th or thereabouts and to the outskirts of Fallujah. . . . The mightiest military in the world cannot control an 8 km stretch of road, perhaps the single most important road in all of Iraq – the Airport Road from the center of Baghdad to the airport. The purported troop concentration is 120 soldiers per km of a open road and despite that the Australian defence minister could not even make it to the green zone and simply flew back from the airport. . . . Unlike Vietnam, where the American were largely in control of the cities for most parts (save Tet, and even there complete control was not lost), the US/UK garrisons are isolated in the middle of a hostile population. . . . They cannot even traverse a km or two out of the 'green zone". Their supply convoys have come to a standstill over the last month and a salvage operation of re-supplying by air has started over the last 10-12 days. Air supplies are limited and there is no reason to believe that these can be significant (a max of 400 tonnes a day, slated to rise to 1600 tonnes a day against an estimated minimum 20,000 odd tonnes needed daily to keep a force of 160,000+ fed, watered, armored and resupplied). . . . The 300 mile long supply line is toast. Well, at least any thing dark, metallic, armored or otherwise. (4000 pounds of armor on a humvee that can carry a max load of 5000 pounds) Can it move? And even that is not helpful – in the words of the great military strategist, Rumsfeld, circa Dec 04, even tanks blow up. . . . Against the most heavily armed opponent in the history of War, Fallujah has still not let itself be "taken" to date (As of 20th Dec, 2004). Falluah and indeed the rest of Iraq post April 2003, heralds "supersymmetrical" warfare and the end of conventional warfare. This represents a turning point in military affairs – the end of warfare--as practiced by the Americans i.e the application of overwhelming force to obtain a victory. . . . If this is indeed correct (and there is no reason to consider any other alternative) then the Iraqi Resistance's repulsing the assault and indeed the forcing back of the American positions represents not only a turning point in the American occupation of Sovereign Iraq but in fact a turning point in warfare itself. . . . In fact, it would certainly be one of the greatest military victories in history. . . . The cost/personnel advantage is noteworthy. With minimal or no training, just about any one can operate a RPG. A squad of say 3 would cost perhaps no more than $5000 to equip. Against this, the M1 Abrams ("the mightiest tank", 70 odd tonnes of steel, a few million a pop). . . . Now consider the mightiest Gun in the West against the rookie squad of three. Throw in a street. Add cover (even rubble will do, in fact quite nicely, thank you) . . . Even odds? . . . There is more, but you get the idea. Not very state of the art weapons, far from it. But very very functional. Now, consider the sheer amount of counter offensive power these represent . . . Add to that pre-prepared defensive positions, not very fancy for sure but very functional and very very functional minefields with a variety of triggers. Throw in, the "most ingenious" booby traps ever. . . . Add the Iraqi resistance--the bravest of the brave--operating these. Well now, it is state of the art. The State of the Art of Urban Warfare. . . . Oh yes, And yes, how can I forget toys. Well, one needs to buy those since "remote controls from toys" (Well at least as per the American Military) are a primary trigger in IEDs. . . . So we add a few 10s of dollars per toy car and remote kit, say from your local K-mart.K-mart?. Turns out that an army cannot be equipped from K-mart, to quote the great military tactician Rumsfeld once again, circa early Dec 0). Also turns out Centcom claims that they cannot jam these (circa Dec 04,) , , , It does appear that we have a problem here. Toy remotes. Rather sad, would you not say? . . . Short of using a neutron or a nuclear bomb (the Americans did use chemical weapons in Fallujah), despite all efforts, what the Americans have been able to achieve is relatively little, if anything at all, even in the best case estimates of the official narrative. . . . 45 days and going on and on and on and on. . . . Oh, oh, but, but, but we took Baghdad in 21 days. . . . 45 days for 16 sq kms.....The opposing American army in this case has not been able to be actually "take" them out. Never mind control or physically occupying 16 sq kms. . . . In fact, even a neutron bomb would not be militarily significant. You need to "take" it and keep it and keep on keeping it and keep on and on and on. . . . And they have not. They will not. They cannot . . . The limits of raw firepower have been reached and no matter what the American military objective is no longer possible. . . . Shoulder-held surface to air weapons limit the role of armored copters. In fact there are several 'copter graveyards in and around Fallujah. Big ones. Some of them are quite near the tank killing fields. Yes, several hundred armored vehicles resting, not quite in peace but hey... Raw unopposed firepower has reached its limits. Never have so few battled against so many in face of overwhelming odds and brought a superpower to its knees. And the nightmare continues. . . . It is indeed the greatest military victory in history. The self proclaimed mightiest empire that ever was, in fact, turns out to have had the shortest reign ever. This Empire met its match in the land between the two rivers.
posted by Lorenzo 1:48 PM