CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Snap Reaction: Hannity and Colmes

Monday, November 08, 2004

Snap Reaction: Hannity and Colmes

I am following Hannity and Colmes in the background as they discuss events with LtCol Oliver North. (Certainly they'll post the transcript when they finish the showFOXNews.com) Hannity asks if US troops are going to go house-to-house. North says they are prepared to and probably will. Reaction: Troops only enter buildings in an urban environment for specific reasons: the building provides key terrain to observe and participate in the battle; the building is known to house intelligence which can be exploited; the building is housing weapons which need destruction, etc. "Let's go house to house and see what happens," is not a plan for success, just for disaster. Entering a building in an urban environment is extremely dangerous. One reason NOT to enter a given building is because bad guys are in it. FOX reported earlier today that the rules of engagement are: if fired upon from a building, US troops will level the building. This is a much better alternative than entering and searching. Hannity and North discuss the much-vaunted tunnel systems: how will the insurgents use them? Reaction: More than likely, if tunnel systems exist, the insurgents are using them as interior lines of communication, to avoid using surface streets or congregating in buildings. Tunnels, sewers, and other utility systems are a common part of the 3D urban battlespace and must be planned for carefully. Colmes asks North if there is evidence that the attack was influenced by US political considerations. North parries by saying it is intimately tied to Iraqi politics. Reaction: This is a dumb question. It goes without saying that the campaigns and battles of the war are influenced by political considerations in the US and rightly so. This is why we have civilian control of the military. Most wars have involved these types of calculations. Consider Lincoln, who tied operational planning to his own re-election efforts, because he knew that if he lost re-election, the US would lose the war. The interaction between politics and war is one way of defining "strategy." Please take a look at the book, Supreme Command : Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime, which is offers four case studies of the interaction between civilian leadership and military leadership: Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill, Ben-Gurion. Outstanding book. Colmes notes that Allawi has prohibited weapons in Fallujah and halted all essential city services. Colmes asks North why this is only happening now, if we've had problems with Fallujah for a long time. Reaction: It is happening now as part of an overwhelming offensive in which Iraqi politics, US politics, humanitarian considerations, and destroying the enemy have all been taken into account. Every last detail has been thought out as thoroughly as possible, including small touches such as banning weapons in Fallujah. North is asked by Hannity or Colmes what good it will do to take the city if Zarqawi has escaped. Part of the question references Iraqi public opinion in Baghdad, polls of which show that the Iraqi on the street thinks Zarqawi is gone. Reaction: North answers correctly that whether he is there or not he has now been and will continue to be completely marginalized. North notes that Osama bin Laden is still alive, but has been reduced to making speeches to threaten American, rather than actually killing Americans. This is an example of marginalization. Excellent point by North.

10 Comments:

Blogger carlee said...

Some insightful comments from PureData at the Belmont Club on pictures of insurgents/terrorists from Fallujah.

Picture Link:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/news/search?p=Bilal+Hussein&ei=UTF-8&fl=0&c=news_photos

---snip---
The few photos seen on the internet of the Fallujah insurgents, if typical, leave little hope that they will kill anyone but themselves.

I see groups of four to eight clustered together shooting from the hip not using cover or concealment. They are not dressed in concealing covering, but actually wearing brightly colored, contrasting clothing and standing in full sunlight. It does not appear that they are using supporting fires nor defilade positions.

None of the men are outfitted with a standard combat load - ie AK-47, 300 rds ammunition, grenades, water, food, radios, etc so they cannot set up a base of fire and sustain manuever from it. ( Grenades ARE the bread and butter of MOUT and you are dead if you cannot use them liberally. )

I see these insurgents running out of ammo and water, then becoming very tired and immobile, then dying.

Note that Fallujah is not very big - four square miles and with lots of 1-2 acre open areas embedded in it.

There are a lot of differences between Hue and Fallujah. The insurgents do not have resupply nor artillery nor coordinated command and control and are not organized into organic well-trained units. The fighters do not have a basic comabt load nor instruction in how to use it. They are already in detail and just await defeat.

November 8, 2004 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Alaska Paul said...

It seems to me that you better have a really strong reason to enter a building, as they are probably booby trapped to the hilt. Playing the urban warfare environment house to house is like Russian Roulette. The odds get worse the longer you play. I am sure that Marine commanders know this and will keep the house-to-house stuff to a minimum and take advantage of heavy iron to do the heavy lifting.

November 8, 2004 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...

Personally, L-T, I think Zarqawi had a JDAM for lunch one fine evening.

I find it odd that this al-Iraqi has just now popped up to assume control. I don't buy the 'power struggle' story line between Z & OBL/al-Q.

Can't exactly say (and save face) 'Ooops. OK. You got him, Mr. al-Amriki..but now we give you al-Iraqi.' Not a good recruiting move.

Just a thought.

Great Blog, L-T. Keep it up.

November 8, 2004 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Original_Jeff said...

Thank you for your analysis. I have a technical question. From reading Gen Tommy Franks's book, I am familiar with artillery and how you set up the gun and you align it very carefully and you can even fire test rounds to make sure it is set properly, etc. But how is this done with mortar tubes? Isn't a mortar just a tube on a base plate? There is no precision gearing or fire control system, is there? In other words, in the incident I've quoted below, how did knowing the GPS (or range/direction) help these guys kill the enemy so quickly? Here was the incident:

I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees. "Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons." A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given. "Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."

November 8, 2004 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

Anthony Cordesman was on NPR. He thinks this will be over in a matter of days.

November 8, 2004 at 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is no precision gearing or fire control system, is there?"

Yes, there is - very fine, very accurate when done properly. How fine and how accurate depends on which system. The latest are of course the best - but even the oldest (WWII) versions could be 'dialed in' with deadly accuracy.

November 10, 2004 at 6:30 AM  
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