excuse me? would you mind standing still while we kill you?

blackfox

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From NYT...

As U.S. Pushes Deeper Into Falluja, Rebels Attack Elsewhere


By EDWARD WONG

Published: November 11, 2004



BAGHDAD, Nov. 11 - Insurgents pressed attacks in the northern provincial capital of Mosul today, opening a major new front in the fighting, while American troops in Falluja began a push into the city's southern warrens, where an unknown number of guerrillas were believed to have barricaded themselves.

In Baghdad, a powerful suicide car bomb exploded on a busy commercial street this morning, killing at least 17 people and wounding at least 30 others, police and hospital officials said. In the evening, explosions rippled across the capital with an intensity not seen here since August, when American soldiers fought a Shiite uprising in the south.

Violence surged through the so-called Sunni triangle in central Iraq, with ambushes, bombings and mortar attacks jolting Tikrit, Kirkuk, Hawija, Samarra and the provincial capital of Ramadi, 30 miles west of Falluja, which is 35 miles west of Baghdad. Trying to halt the slide into chaos, the interim government imposed curfews across the string of cities.

American military officials have said in recent days that insurgent leaders probably fled Falluja before the American drive into the city and might try to organize a bloody counteroffensive of the sort that now appears to be unfolding across the country.

In Mosul, insurgents overran a half-dozen police stations and looted the buildings of weapons, ammunition and body armor, police officials and witnesses said. By the afternoon, they had seized five bridges across the Tigris, which splits the city in half. Columns of smoke snaked into the sky, and residents said the city, the third largest in Iraq, had been thrown into a whirlwind of chaos not seen since the Americans first invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The American military said it had launched a major counteroffensive in the southern parts of Mosul, to try to contain the violence and keep the guerrillas from seizing the government center. But by nightfall, carloads of guerrillas continued to roam the streets freely, melting away at the approach of American troops.

"It's very fluid," an Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, said in a telephone interview near midnight. "It's been going on for much of the day, and it's still going on."

The new violence in the north of the country came as American marines and soldiers renewed their three-day-old push through Falluja, in central Iraq. The invasion began at the northern boundary of the city early Monday but had slowed considerably along a line marked by the main thoroughfare through town. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said coalition forces now controlled well more than half of Falluja.
...SNIP
Anyone ever paly that game at Chucky Cheese where you try to bop the groundhog/golpher on the head with a mallet? Pops up one place, you strike, but now it's in another place, you strike, still another, etc.

Fun Game. Pretty Frustrating. Not the best strategy outside of the pizza parlor, however.

comments?

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/11/international/middleeast/11cnd-iraq.html?hp&ex=1100235600&en=b76e3d2520471f73&ei=5094&partner=homepage
 

mactastic

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Apr 24, 2003
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Whack-A-Mole? Fun game.

Yeah telegraphing your moves to your opponent is not the best strategy. But what's our other option? Not give the 200,000 or so residents of Falluja a chance to escape before we attack? Not good for PR, which really is a major factor in modern combat.

Did we ever really expect the resistance to stand and fight? I sure didn't.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
Except they didn't get a chance to escape. All men under 45 were either turned back or arrested. So much for it being down to a couple of thousand "insurgents". The US have guaranteed a numerous and desperate enemy. My signature seems ever more appropriate.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
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I spent 3 years in a strategy group for an Admiral in the late 90's. These groups have representatives from special forces to the red cross, yes the red cross. The person giving advice on end game and civil reorganization, they are called a CIVIC, can't remember the anacronym. But the pr and civilian casualty thing is huge, it is a war not chess, innocents get killed-but I am proud to be from a country that not only includes but holds in esteem a position in the strategy group for the humanitarian efforts. This person might be the most powerful in a Haiti type operation, or in the back of the room for a desert storm 1 event till things cool. Do they always get it right, nope, but they are trying to.
 

mactastic

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I believe the cordon has only been in effect for a few weeks now (although I'm not positive about that). The invasion has been on the back burner for months.

BTW, where are all the people who were claiming Kerry was the guy who let politics dictate his actions? Did Bush not push this invasion off until after the elections here specifically for his benefit and to the detriment of the overall war effort? Sounds like someone is playing politics with our troops....
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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stubeeef said:
This person might be the most powerful in a Haiti type operation, or in the back of the room for a desert storm 1 event till things cool.
Or in the next room but one when breaches of humanitarian law or Geneva Conventions are being discussed...
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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As far as the law goes, every operation has a plethera of JAG officers, you can't sling a buger with out hiting 3. They are always giving briefs from Geneva Convention to Rule of Engagement (who and why you can shoot at people or things). Have their been some lapses? NO QUESTION, is there in every war? PROBABLY. But when your enemy wears no uniform, has no flag, and no government, then all the edges go fuzzy.

Can you site instances that things were handle wrong? Yes, and you probably will. The prisoner scandal is about the worst thing that could have happened. There are always two sides, sometimes three (is the glass half full, or empty, or twice as big as it needs to be).

The town was not attacked earlier at the behest of the acting PM if I remember correctly. (could be wrong). I didn't serve in Vietnam, some here did, they may be able to talk about the good and bad of politics and war better than anyone else here.
 

blackfox

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While I do not wish to dismiss the obvious humanitarian concerns, I originally posted because of the impression of futulity and subsequently, idiocy, in this policy.

So you storm one city by force and many of the insurgents rise up in another city, you go there, they rise in a third...so you spend endless time chasing a fluid enemy.

Even if we had the capacity to occupy every city, then the insurrgents would probably just re-group in the rural areas, or outside of the borders.

Now, some may say that what choice do we have? I must say, that when something like this is your best choice, you should probably re-assess whether or not you should continue.

There is no shame in knowing when you are beaten. You can always come back and fight another day.

Personally, I feel that the US should leave immediately, let Iraq sort itself out between itself, and then we should offer tons of financial and logistical aid and support. Will it be messy and chaotic? Of course, but what is it now? Allow th Iraqis to exercise their right to self-determination, and then deal with that result in a respectful and helpful manner.

That's just me.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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Interesting you should bring up the Vietnam comparison, since that's another war where the rules of engagement went haywire because it was so difficult tell the good guys from the bad guys. Iraq is very similar in this very important respect, and so might be the outcome. Trotting out a variation on "war is hell" is not an answer to the paramount question of whether US forces are in the right place doing the right thing (a civilian issue, not a military one). It took us more than ten years of death and destruction in Vietnam before we were able answer that question.
 

stubeeef

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Aug 10, 2004
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how would you feel if we left, and unspeakable horrors against humanity sprung up Sudan style, would we need to come back then, or were we negligant to leave?
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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I didn't know my feelings had any bearing on this question.

My point is, this war is clearly a horrible mistake, and flattening major cities is not very likely to end it -- if history is any guide, and it certainly should be. If Iraq turns into another Sudan or something like it, it won't be the fault of the people who thought it was a misguided effort from the start and poorly executed at nearly every step along the way.
 

Thanatoast

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Dec 3, 2002
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stubeeef said:
how would you feel if we left, and unspeakable horrors against humanity sprung up Sudan style, would we need to come back then, or were we negligant to leave?
Since we are currently doing more harm then good, we should leave. If things get even worse, a distinct possibility, then we could send troops back in in a non-invasion/occupation manner.

I'm obviously no military expert, but I would think that there are essential differences between an occupation and a humanitarian mission. If we sent troops to Sudan, would they act they same way, and under the same rules as in Iraq? What if we supplied only logistics/support and humanitarian aid? If other countries supplied only enough troops to protect humanitarian workers (having workers rather than soldiers would be an important difference) it wouldn't seem as if we were trying to occupy the nation and take over, as it seems now.

It's not a perfect solution, but since there's an obvious defficiency in our current methods, I'll put it forth for discussion.
 

blackfox

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excerpt from a NYT Editorial:
...Free advice: until you have answers to the following six questions, don't believe any happy talk coming from the Bush team on Iraq.

Question 1 Have we really finished the war in Iraq? And by that I mean, is it safe for Iraqis and reconstruction workers to drive even from the Baghdad airport into town, and for Iraqi politicians to hold campaign rallies and have a national dialogue about their country's future?

Question 2 Do we have enough soldiers in Iraq to really provide a minimum level of security? Up to now President Bush has applied what I call the Rumsfeld Doctrine in Iraq: just enough troops to protect ourselves, but not Iraqis, and just enough troops to be blamed for everything that goes wrong in Iraq, but not enough to make things go right.

Ah, Friedman, what do you know about troop levels? Actually, not much. Never shot a gun. But I'm not a chef either, and I know a good meal when I eat one. I know chaos when I see it, and my guess is that we are still at least two divisions short in Iraq.

Question 3 Can Iraqis agree on constitutional power-sharing? Is there a political entity called Iraq? Or is there just a bunch of disparate tribes and ethnic and religious communities? Is Iraq the way Iraq is because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraqis are the way they are - congenitally divided? We still don't know the answer to this fundamental question because there has not been enough security for Iraqis to have a real horizontal dialogue.

Question 4 If Iraqis are able to make the leap from the despotism of Saddam Hussein to free elections and representative government, can we live with whomever they elect - which will be mostly politicians from Islamist parties? I take a very expansive view of this since it took Europe several hundred years to work out the culture, habits and institutions of constitutional politics. What you are seeing in Iraq today are the necessary first steps. If Iraqis elect Islamist politicians, so be it. But is our president ready for that group shot?

Question 5 Can we make a serious effort to achieve a psychological breakthrough with Iraqis and the wider Arab world? U.S. diplomacy in this regard has been pathetic. "It is sad to say this, but after 18 months the U.S. still hasn't convinced Iraqis that it means well,'' said Yitzhak Nakash, the Brandeis University expert on Iraq. "We have never been able to persuade Iraqis that we aren't there for the oil. There still isn't a basis for mutual trust.''

Question 6 Can the Bush team mend fences with Iran, and forge an understanding with Saudi Arabia and Syria to control the flow of Sunni militants into Iraq, so the situation there can be stabilized and the jihadists killed in Falluja are not replaced by a new bunch?
Good Questions, I think.
Perhaps it is overly hopeful, as "thoughtful" and "deliberative" took a beating at the recent polls.
 

Desertrat

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Jul 4, 2003
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Thanatoast, when all you send is food and suchlike to a place like Sudan, where the government is as nasty as any enemy, what happens is that this "duly constituted" government takes the aid for its own folks and everybody else does without.

Remember all the rock music concerts to raise money for food for Ethiopia? Some $50 million was gathered up. They sent shiploads of wheat to Ethiopia. The government first would not allow unloading. They then allowed the wheat to be unloaded and stored--in government warehouses.

As far as these attacks in Iraq, it's much like the Tet offensive of 1968. That was the last gasp of an organized Viet Cong. After that, the only effectives were the NVA's people. Prior to Tet, the VC was nearly ready to go to Phase 3+ of Mao's four phases of insurrection. Post-Tet, the VC was back to Phase 1.

I'm not predicting that a great killing of these "insurgents" will guarantee the same result, but they're certainly easier to kill when they're out in the open and attacking.

'Rat
 

LethalWolfe

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Jan 11, 2002
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I don't know if there are any really "good" choices right now, but leaving is definetly a bad one. If we leave, not only will it look like we cut and run, but if we come back the obvious Q will be, "Why the hell did you leave in the first place?" Plus, the role of the U.N. Peace keeper is a joke (unless the rules of engagement have had a major overhaul). And, as 'Rat mentioned, sending aid only helps those in power (food for oil anyone?). The situation in Iraq has crumbled into a catch-22. The only way I see it calming down is if Iraqi's who want a "free Iraq" stand up and actively help pacify their country. Of course any Iraqi who helps coalition forces instantly puts a big, fat bull's eye on their forehead. The fighting needs to go down so the common citizen will feel comfortable (safe) helping the coalition/new Iraqi government, but the fighting won't go down unless the common citizen feels comfortable (safe) in helping the coalition/new Iraqi governmnet. Chicken/egg, Chicken/egg.

As odd as it may sound blowing up their own country men is a very sound tatic for the militants. Not only does it deter people from helping the coalition and new Iraqi government but it also builds resentment. The common reaction is to blame the troops for not stoping the attackers instead of blaming the attackers themselves.


Lethal
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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It's called a civil war, and we started it. I don't think it makes sense to decide what the US should do next in Iraq until we've come to grips with this basic fact.
 

mactastic

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Lethal, you just described one of the main objections myself, and a large number of those opposed to the Iraq invasion, voiced before it took place. We were roundly shouted down at the time, although that fear has now largely come true.

Now I realize that we can't go back and refight that battle, but it drives me crazy that those who were right about the results of an Iraq invasion are not being listened to now. The same people who were wrong about the WMDs and the likelihood of a civil war erupting are still in charge and dictating policy. To me that seems insane. Listen to the people who long ago said we needed another 100,000 to 150,000 troops to effectively control Iraq. Or the ones who predicted chaos within Iraq's factional groups. Or the ones who said it would take far more than a year to get Iraq's oil output to fund any portion of it's reconstruction and that America would be footing a very large bill until that happened. But the current leadership refuses to do so.
 

Desertrat

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I"m not at all saying that the situation in Iraq is all wonderful, but it seems like there's a lack of perspective: Fallujah is but one city. There are some 25 million Iraqis. Yeah, there are other trouble spots, but nowhere near the magnitude of Fallujah.

The country's infrastructure is being rebuilt and/or improved. Away from the trouble spots, life is getting better for "Joe Iraqi"--according to various reports from either returned GIs or from guys who are now there.

Hell's bells, at least now they have the freedom to bitch about anything that doesn't suit'em. That's one helluvan improvement, considering that bitching used to carry a death penalty...

'Rat
 

mactastic

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Desertrat said:
I"m not at all saying that the situation in Iraq is all wonderful, but it seems like there's a lack of perspective: Fallujah is but one city. There are some 25 million Iraqis. Yeah, there are other trouble spots, but nowhere near the magnitude of Fallujah.

The country's infrastructure is being rebuilt and/or improved. Away from the trouble spots, life is getting better for "Joe Iraqi"--according to various reports from either returned GIs or from guys who are now there.

Hell's bells, at least now they have the freedom to bitch about anything that doesn't suit'em. That's one helluvan improvement, considering that bitching used to carry a death penalty...

'Rat
Hey 'Rat, how come the US hasn't met the level of resistance we were expecting to find in Falluja?

Could the answer to that have anything to do with the recent surge in violence outside Falluja?
 

Desertrat

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mac, damfino. I've seen some theorizing that some of the "Fallujahns" bailed out ahead of the attack, moving elsewhere. Lord knows, we sat around talking about the attack long enough...

However, Custer discovered that it's unwise to split your forces, as the hostiles have done.

'Rat
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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stubeeef said:
II am proud to be from a country that not only includes but holds in esteem a position in the strategy group for the humanitarian efforts. .
This from the same country that has supported dictators around the globe? Only because those countries offer something like oil or more? THe US is nothing more than a whore in the streets. No wonder there is so little world respect for the US. Trie to defend that...
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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Northern Virginia
stubeeef said:
how would you feel if we left, and unspeakable horrors against humanity sprung up Sudan style, would we need to come back then, or were we negligant to leave?
I wish I had the Parade Magazine list of the worst "dictators". Many are supported by your (our) government. We choose our "enemies" for what the "winner" can give us. That makes us a whore of a country IMO.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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Northern Virginia
Desertrat said:
As far as these attacks in Iraq, it's much like the Tet offensive of 1968. That was the last gasp of an organized Viet Cong. After that, the only effectives were the NVA's people. Prior to Tet, the VC was nearly ready to go to Phase 3+ of Mao's four phases of insurrection. Post-Tet, the VC was back to Phase 1.
And we left as the "loser" just 4 years later as I recall. The Tet Offensive was a moral victory for the enemy. It was anything but a "last gasp". It showed the US and the world that they were here to stay. And in the end they "won". Tet broke the "spirit" of the US military.