US Military Fails Yet Again In Iraq

“”Coalition Forces attack helicopters engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen southwest of Khalis, Friday.

Iraqi police were conducting security operations in and around the village when Coalition attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and ground forces from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, observed more than 15 armed men attempting to circumvent the IPs and infiltrate the village.

The attack helicopters, armed with missiles, engaged and killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and destroyed the vehicle they were using.”

The above is an account by the US military of an attack on al Qaeda militants in the village of al-Khalis, north of Baquba on June 22nd. It was widely reported by western news media as a successful mission.

Jim Muir, a reporter for the BBC has discovered a somewhat different story:

“…….villagers in largely-Shia al-Khalis say that those who died had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. They say they were local village guards trying to protect the township from exactly the kind of attack by insurgents the US military says it foiled.

They say that of 16 guards, 11 were killed and five others injured – two of them seriously – when US helicopters fired rockets at them and then strafed them with heavy machinegun fire.

They added that the guards, lightly armed with the AK47 assault rifles that are a feature of practically every home in Iraq, were essentially a local neighbourhood watch paid by the village to monitor the dangerous insurgent-ridden area to the immediate south-west at Arab Shawkeh and Hibhib, where the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed a year ago.”

This is not the first time western military tales of success have turned out to be false. In fact, piecing together the jigsaw of stories to emerge, both from Iraq and Afghanistan, reveals not the experienced, high class, well disciplined, US military held in such high regard by the American people, but a disorganized, badly led, undisciplined bunch of trigger-happy renegades with no experience of guerrilla warfare, unreliable intelligence, often inept leadership and little regard for the civilians they are supposed to protect.

American troops may be well versed in riding roughshod over the enemy on an open battlefield, where superior technology and firepower cannot fail to win the day, but in the closed combat arena of inner city guerrilla warfare the US military is totally out of its depth.

In this sense, America’s leaders have failed miserably to learn the lessons of Vietnam. Jungle warfare and urban guerrilla warfare are tactically very similar. The prime reason America lost so many troops in Vietnam was their enemy’s total superiority in close-quarter, jungle warfare. US soldiers are suffering a similar fate in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unable to win against superior fighters, the military continues to fall back on all it knows, the use of air power and heavy armament. Such weapons, particularly when coupled with poor intelligence, more often than not result in heavy civilian casualties while the more experienced enemy combatants melt away to regroup and fight another day.

Winning the hearts and minds of a local population, vital to any chance of success on either front, is not going to happen while they are being regularly slaughtered by those charged with their protection.

The inability of the US military to fight an efficient war under such circumstances, particularly in Iraq, has the result of merely complicating an already complex situation. It is hard to envisage that situation ever improving while the US military is still involved there.

As occurred in Vietnam, the only sane conclusion to be drawn is for the US military to accept defeat and get out.

Jim Muir’s report is worth reading. It can be found HERE.

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6 Replies to “US Military Fails Yet Again In Iraq”

  1. Hitting like a scirocco out of the blue and then melting away into the air is a historical Bedouin tactic and is particularily useful against large numbers of standard military columns. They just wait for nature to compromise the enemy, with, say, a canyon or mountain fold, and then attack.

    Knowledge of the terrain is essential and the vituperance of these small bands is legendary. Perfect for guerilla warfare; not so perfect for the huge foreign squadrons deployed in ‘wave attack’ formations in Iraq…especially as they are so dependent on the roads for their movements.

    Couple this with the new emergence of IEDs, and i suspect there will be even more brain trauma cases in returning soldiers than the epidemic already taking place. This form of casualty will probably be dropping soldiers long after the occupation is over.

  2. Sad but true. We have NO idea how to deal with the mess we created. But as long as Halliburton continues to profit…there we are.

  3. F.S., i really don’t know why Bush dragged in the Crusades while trying to whip up public zeal for this war. I think historians have pretty well agreed that every single Crusade was a failure except for the first one, the King’s Crusade, which was a total surprise and probably the best funded. The rest of them seemed to be more of a way to clear the roads of northern europe of robber barons who had been cut out of primogeniture legacies; or of course, a way of getting rid of heretics, as in the Albighensian Crusade.

    I was amused to discover that, according to Muslim historians, the Crusades were never really regarded as important, being more of a border war to the great kingdoms east and west of the fighting rather than anything which could seriously topple their governments.

    If you really want to see a people who do not give up, look at those who took the interrogation end of the Crusade in the Lange d’Oc into a full-blown Inquisition. That inquisition was never ever taken off the books; it is still deemed to be current and was both championed and maintained by the present pope while in his role as a cardinal.

  4. Anan – the Arab people have had a great deal of practice dealing with invaders. They’ve honed the skill over centuries. As for Bush, he would have no inkling the Crusades were basically a failure. He would see them as glorious Christian wars to usurp the evil ones. It’ll be awhile before he gets round to reading the full history. After all, in 2001 he was still mastering “My Little Goat”.

    Jerry – that’s really what it’s all about: profit before people.

    Flimsy – with the gross inefficiency of the US political and war machines, this conflict may well last longer than the crusades.

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