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Registered: 03/14/04
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informative war article page
    #3315853 - 11/03/04 06:22 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

These are written by a CA war nerd... He is not partisan - he absolutely loves war and gore and bloodshed, and understands them all well. This slightly disturbs me. However, I've been reading his articles, and they make a ton of sense on every level..


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Re: informative war article page [Re: vampirism]
    #3315991 - 11/03/04 07:11 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

You can't write worth a shit.

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Re: informative war article page [Re: Great_Satan]
    #3316009 - 11/03/04 07:15 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

You apparently have severe reading comprehension problems. My writing was hesitent, yes, but not incoherent. I wrote only to make you go to the link, but apparently you're too stupid to click on the link, so here I'll post an article, which will probably be more effective than relying on short attention spans anyway.

I tried making a little fridge list of Iraq options. I came up with one: "nukes?" The nukes aren't much use now, with no Russia to do High Noon with. So dust off a Fallujah-sized neutron bomb, and let it do its thing.

It'd make more sense that what we're doing now, fighting the enemy's war. It's real simple: when we're fighting a combined-arms, mobile, armored war, we're fighting our war. When we're hunkered down in somebody's backyard trading potshots over the adobe fence, we're fighting their war all the way. At that point it's just rifleman vs. rifleman, and the enemy has the advantage, because he knows the neighborhood.

I just saw video of the Marines in Fallujah sniping by nightscope. They fire over the wall, some Ahmed fires back, it goes on all night and you've got just as good a chance of killing Ahmed's donkey or his two-year-old daughter as getting him.

There's another way. You do it the way we were starting to do in Nam, when Colby came up with the Phoenix program. You find out who's shooting at you, and then you send somebody quiet to kill him and anybody who works with him.

But to do that you have to have this little thing called intelligence, and we ain't got none, because if we did we'd have to admit the Iraqis are the enemy, and these crazymen, Bush and Wolfowitz, won't admit that. So all we can do when they get unfriendly is fire blind into those mud huts.

I heard a Marine officer complaining that the insurgents in Fallujah use the locals for human shields. Don't they teach you anything about guerrilla war in the service? The whole idea of guerrilla warfare is to hide in the civilian population. You snipe from the mosque or the kindergarten till finally the occupiers get mad enough to start firing blind at the mosque, the kindergarten, whatever. The people blame the occupiers, not the guerrilla. You're doing the guerrillas' recruiting for them.

It's a little weird, if you ask me, how nobody in charge seems to know all that. After all, we just went through a whole century of guerrilla warfare. Take a world map, point at random and you'll find a country that probably had a guerrilla war in the past 100 years.

But we're acting like it's a shock, like the Iraqis are breaking the rules. That's like calling a personal foul in a bar brawl.

Well, don't ask me, I just work here. If you want to know the truth, what's pissing me off most is I think the mess in Iraq is getting to me. I had to go to the doctor last week because my back's gone out again, and I was expecting just the usual lecture about losing weight, exercise, buying a bike and wheeling around in green lycra like some Italian or something. You know, painful but short.

Instead he puts the cuff on my arm and inflates it, then grunts and does it again, grunts again, does it for the third time and waves me over to sit down. In other words, we're going to have a serious talk. Turns out it's my blood pressure, and some other blood thing called "purines" -- sounds like a dog chow to me, but apparently it's a blood count, and mine is through the roof.

I told the guy maybe we could try again after Iraq settles down. He looked at me like I was crazy.

So then there was another ten minutes of serious lectures about how I need to take care of myself and so on. I was thinking, all I need is for us to get out of this Iraq mess, but I decided it was better not to try explaining that to him again. I took the brochures and the prescriptions and got out.

Now I'm on three medications, one for blood pressure, one for these purines, and one for my back disc. Like an old man. I just turned 38 and I've got little brown bottles all over the sink like my grandma did.

The other thing that's driving me nuts about the war is this stupid question, "Is Iraq actually Vietnam?" Answer: no, Vietnam is this place about 5,000 miles east of Fallujah.

Every time I hear that I want to ask them why? Isn't Iraq bad enough for you?

It's dumb, the Iraq = Nam talk. No war ever repeats exactly, because the technology is changing so fast. And if you had to pick two countries in the world that have nothing in common, it'd be Iraq and Vietnam. The Vietnamese were the most dedicated, disciplined army since Prussia disappeared. If you want to know how dedicated the VC were, read this book, The Tunnels of Cu Chi, about the VC who lived in this huge tunnel network around Saigon. (Back when it was Saigon.) Men and women spent months down there with the spiders and scorpions, no fresh air for weeks, shitting into a bag. They had hospitals down there where they amputated hands with no anaesthetic. This VC doctor said, "Half would die of shock, but half would live."

Iraqis aren't like that. They're noisy where the VC were quiet. They're flighty where the VC were coldblooded. They mob up and get each other excited, where the VC could just coldbloodedly do it.

But the thing is, Vietnam isn't the only way you can lose a war. Look at what happened to the Israelis in Lebanon. Iraq is a hell of a lot more like Lebanon than Nam.

22 years ago the man in charge of Israel was Menachem Begin, a real weirdo. He and Ariel Sharon were sick of taking mortar rounds from PLO in south Lebanaon. They decided they'd invade Lebanon, push the PLO into the sea.

It went fine, as long as the Israelis were heading north, attacking via combined arms. Their airforce destroyed the opposition. The Syrians lost 82 planes; Israel lost...zero. The IDF zoomed all the way to Beirut in record time, bombarded the PLO district and pushed Arafat into exile in Africa. They lost only about 400 men, but killed thousands of PLO. They kicked ass.

Then came phase two, the occupation. And that was the biggest military disaster Israel ever had. Sound familiar?

What happened to them is exactly what's happening to us: they woke up the Shiites, who turned out to be way, way scarier than the PLO. In Lebanon, just like in Iraq, the Shiites were the lowest of the low, basically terrorized into keeping quiet and doing all the crummy jobs the Sunni didn't want. And just like in Iraq, the Lebanese Shiites lived either in urban slums or in villages in the South.When the invasion came, the Shiites went from welcoming the invaders to warning them to leave, then to open warfare. Exactly the same script, 20 years apart, Lebanon and Iraq. Once the Shiites started to fight, they showed why it's better not to mess with them.

Shiites are big on martyrdom, and guerrilla wars make a lot of martyrs. Just last week, two Shiites purposely jumped in front of American tanks and got turned into catfood under the tracks. A lot of this Arab bragging about loving death and craving martyrdom is bullshit, but some of it isn't, especially when it's Shiites saying it. After all, their hero is a guy who charged at the Caliph's whole army with 30 men.

It was the Shiites in Lebanon who taught the Palestinians to fight. It was Shiite kids, even some girls, who started driving cars full of explosive at Israeli patrols in Lebanon. Pretty soon there were Shiite militias like Hizbollah attacking harder than those softies in the PLO ever had. Israelis and their local proxies, the South Lebanon Army, were getting picked off at a slow steady rate until the Israelis finally gave up and went home a couple of years ago.

That's the likely scenario for Iraq: another Lebanon, only way, way bigger. Now that the locals see how easy it is to pick off foreign troops who don't have a clue about the neighborhood, they'll bleed us non-stop.

So could it have been any different, as in "better"? Probably. Starting with disbanding the Iraqi Army. This was one of Bremer's first moves, and like all our biggest screwups it was because they really thought Iraq was going to turn into Minnesota after we invaded. Wolfowitz and the boys figured the old Iraqi army was full of bad elements. Which it was. But those bad guys were for hire, willing to work for anybody who paid them. They had the local street-smarts, the connections and snitches, to keep the streets quiet.

The British begged Bremer to keep the Iraqi army going, give it new uniforms and hire it as local mercenaries. They were thinking smart. They actually know something about colonizing Arabs. But Bush's people weren't listening to the Brits or anybody else. They were too busy lying to themselves that Iraqis were just Ohio Presbyterians in funny clothes, real nice folks under those turbans.

So we shut down the Iraqi army overnight. Boom! Suddenly there were 500,000 armed men out of a job, hanging around the house getting more and more pissed off. First they tried asking for their jobs back, then they staged demonstrations, and finally they just said the Hell with it, I'll dig up the AK-47 and RPG I buried in the back yard and start killing the foreigners who put me out of a job. From what I hear, the Brits are so pissed off with Bush that they've finally started saying we told you so. They're right, too. In fact they come off looking pretty good. One of the stories you probably haven't been seeing is how quiet things seem to be in Basra, where the British troops are in control. Basra's a Shiite city, just like Najaf and Karbala -- so how come it hasn't blown up like they have?

As far as I can tell, it's because the Brits are just plain better than us at handling the locals. They let the Shiites live the way they feel comfortable living. And that really ticked off Bremer's people, who started leaking stories about how the Brits were a bunch of Arab-loving weaklings.

I found this article from March 24, where some reporter from Dow Jones news is whining about how the Brits are taking it too easy on the locals:

"Some Basra residents complain that Britain, whose troops occupy Basra, is turning a blind eye while the religious establishment usurps the running of the city through intimidation and threats against secular residents. Explaining why the British are loath to intervene, Maj. David King, a British spokesman, says: 'We are not here to dictate our way of life,' but merely 'to provide a basic foundation to get Iraqis back on their feet.'"

We weren't going to let the Shiites live their way. Nope, we had to change them every which way at once. We were even letting Baptist missionaries in! How stupid is that? If I saw a foreign army riding shotgun for jerks like the Pentecostals I had to listen to when I was a kid, I'd probably turn Shiite and start spraying the Bible-bashers myself.

You can't mess with people that way and expect them to wait around for you to get smart forever. Especially not hotheads like the Shiites. So at the beginning of April, it boiled over. Riots, sniping, you name it. But there again, the way the Brits handled it was so much smarter. On April 3 the Shiites in Basra challenged the British just like they did the Americans. A bunch of armed Shiites stomped in and took over the governor's office in Basra. But the Brits realized it wasn't the time to get tough. So they made the visiting Jihadis some tea and cakes or whatever, and let them yell and talk big for a while. After a few days, the Shiites got bored and went home. It worked, in other words.

And don't think it's because the Brits are soft. They may be a lot of things, but not soft. Who do you think was the first to use poison gas against Kurdish villages? If you said Saddam, no lollipop for you. It was the RAF, with the personal approval of Winston Churchill. There's nobody tougher than the Brits. But they're smart too, cold-blooded. They realized the time wasn't right to piss off the Shiites -- not with the Sunni triangle already worse than Compton on a three-day weekend. So they played nice. Result: on April 4, Najaf blew up, with huge riots, 40 Shiites and 2 GIs dead. But in Basra and the rest of the British-occupied parts of southern Iraq, no casualties.

As for what we do now: I don't know. I've been going over different scenarios and I can't see any good way out. It may be too late for us to get smart in Iraq. Especially with the Shiites, because people who have that thing about martyrdom aren't the forgiving kind. They're always getting worked up about something horrible that happened to their ancestors 500 years ago. You can bet that the womenfolk in these Shiite towns are sewing little memorial hankies for those two Shiites who jumped under that M1 tank. They'll be heroes in the neighborhood. And all the little guys in grade school are going to want to grow up just like them.

People always think there's a smart military solution. What they don't get is sometimes it's just too late in the campaign. It's like if you were playing a grandmaster at Chess and he's got you down to two pawns and the king, it wouldn't matter if Bobby Fischer stepped in for you right then. He'd lose too. It would be way too late.

The only pawns we have left in Iraq are the Kurds. They don't love us either, but they hate the Arabs even more than they hate us. We could've used them effectively back when the occupation started. In fact they were begging us to let them help out in the Sunni triangle. They warned us: "You don't know the people there, you can't read their body language! Let us handle security there!"

That's what the Brits would've done. They've been playing one tribe against the other for hundreds of years. But it was the same old story: Bush's loudmouths wouldn't listen to anybody. They told the Kurds to shut up and stay home, and put ordinary GIs who didn't speak a word of Arabic in charge of crazy hellholes like Fallujah and Ramadi.

Naturally they got burned bad. It started slow, with RPG and automatics firing on Humvees, then as the locals figured out they weren't going to get caught, they got braver. The ex-Iraqi army guys started digging up the munitions they took home when we fired them. Suddenly the attacks featured artillery shells wired to detonators. Next it was all-out attacks on police barracks. And we still weren't catching the perps.

That's fatal with Arabs. The Brits used to have this saying about them, "The Arab is either at your feet or at your throat." When the Iraqis realized how easy it was to jump our patrols, they went from feet to throat in about five seconds.

So who needs Nam? Iraq is Iraq, and that's plenty bad enough.

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Re: informative war article page [Re: vampirism]
    #3321695 - 11/04/04 09:54 PM (13 years, 5 months ago)

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