CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Reflection on Baghdad Seizure

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Reflection on Baghdad Seizure

Here's a great quote from an outstanding book, The March Up : Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division: About Entering Baghdad: A single battalion plans its movement: "Under the old doctrine, the plan would have been to deploy abreast two companies with tanks across the five-kilometer front and advance down the peninsula block by block, reaching the university at the western end by the afternoon of the second day. "Instead McDonough proposed rolling through the center of the Snoozle [a certain piece of terrain in Baghdad where palaces are located], tanks in the lead, peeling off one company to secure the embassies and one platoon to guard the approaches to the central bridges, and sending tanks on with one company to search the university. Conlin [the Bn Cmdr] should ignore random RPG shots, McDonough [the operations officer] urged, and concentrate on grabbing the three key pieces of real estate; he should rely on shock to crumble the resolve of any stay-behinds. He should finish taking the Snoozle in four hours and the next day move on to another sector. In other sectors, the Army and Marine units were planning the same type of nonlinear movement." I quote this here because it is an excellent look at the "bypass and collapse" vs "straight up the middle" concepts of attacking a city. No doubt similar formulations have been used in Fallujah. Maneuver warfare triumphs again. Four hours vs. two days. Outstanding. Think on this when reading press reports.


Blogger USMC_Vet said...

Yossef Bodansky interviewed by John Batchelor tonight:

Bodansky reminds that Falluja has been an islamist host city since the late '90s when Saddam made a deal with bin Laden. Falluja already had Wahabbi mosques and an influx of Wahabbis from Saudi Arabia, and Saddam figured he might jsut as well 'let bin Laden' have it as a recruiting ground, since it was largely already lost anyway (Wahabbi Islamists loathed the secular Hussein, remember). It was more a live and let live type of deal.

Fast forward to today. Bodansky says the terrorist leader in Falluja today is actually an Afghan named Atrit (or something like that), 40 years old and a veteran of many operations. Most of the insurgent terrorists have indeed left the city. There were about 4,000 well trained fighters with some 10,000 lesser trained local tag alongs. Most of the well-trained have left to fight another day. Atrit remains to coordinate what will amount to harassment until the inevitable collapse.

What Bodansky says will happen is also inevitable: There is no way Americans and/or Iraqi NG can hold the city. Deals will be struck between the Iraqi gov't & what remains in the city of Fallujah. Once the tanks are gone, the city reverts back to its former self: a population of Wahabbi sunnis with militant islamist mosques. The terrorists bleed back in just the same way they bled back out, reorganize, rearm and resume. It is inevitable.

Because we lack the stomach to storm a city unannounced and destroy the terrorists where they lie, this cycle will continue.


While I applaud what our Marines & soldiers are doing, the fight they fight and the task they are completing, we must look at this in context. They are bagging bad guys, yes. They are duking it out finally, yes.

But...we will look back on this after the cycle completes and realize that we were shadow boxing.

If we are not willing to do what needs to be done, why spill these fine men's blood? We cannot hold the city. We have to keep moving. A disheartening cycle.

This city must go. There is no way around it.

What are we afraid of (politically)? Are we going to make Arabs mad at us? Do we fear the editorial pages of Europe's newspapers or the NYT/WP? Are we afraid the UN might not approve?

Time for a gut-check.

Just my take, because I agree with Bodansky's logic.

November 9, 2004 at 10:12 PM  

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