Looking at Iraq
fun in Iraq
More Than 50 Bodies Found in Iraq River
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago
The bodies of more than 50 people have been recovered from the Tigris River and have been identified, President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday. He said the bodies were believed to have been those of hostages seized in a region south of Baghdad earlier this month.
In a separate discovery, another 19 Iraqis were shot to death and left lined up against a bloodstained wall in a soccer stadium in the town of Haditha, about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, an Iraqi reporter and residents said.
Talabani did not specify when or where the bodies were recovered from the Tigris. However, he gave the information in response to a question about the search for hostages reportedly seized from the area around Madain, 14 miles south of Baghdad.
Shiite leaders and government officials claimed last week that Sunni militants had abducted as many as 100 Shiite residents from the area and were threatening to kill them unless all Shiites left. But when Iraqi forces moved into the town of about 1,000 families over the weekend, they found no captives, and residents said they had seen no evidence anyone had been seized.
"Terrorists committed crimes there. It is not true to say there were no hostages. There were. They were killed, and they threw the bodies into the Tigris," Talabani said. "We have the full names of those who were killed and those criminals who committed these crimes."
In Haditha, taxi drivers Rauf Salih and Ousama Halim said they rushed to the stadium after hearing gunshots and found the bodies lined up against a wall. The reporter and other residents counted 19 bodies and said all appeared to have been shot.
Residents said they believed the victims — all men in civilian clothes — were soldiers abducted by insurgents as they headed home for a holiday marking the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.
Let's look at this for a minute.
Every month, you read a story like this: Iraqi soldiers or recruits murdered en masse.
How does that happen?
Now, the warbloggers, who are fuzzy on the details of the actual war, like to believe that we're winning in Iraq. They're about the only ones who do.
A quick glance at the Iraq Order of Battle shows NG units carrying a major portion of the fighting.
Let's take a look at the map of major convoy routes in Iraq.
Most days, large stretches of these highways are vunerable to attack. And notice something else: all roads lead to Baghdad. So if you wage a road denial campaign against the US military, every attack in Baghdad has a multiplier. Because it slows down the whole network.
This is the commerical road net.
Notice the general overlap with the main convoy route. Remember there is one main highway from Iraq to Kuwait and the US Army has to travel it every day. It doesn't take a genius to wait and ambush stuff on it.
Now let's look at the force disposition in July 2003
There are 156K troops in Iraq, including most of the US's mobile divisions.
This is the April 2004 dispostion of forces in Iraq, with 138k troops.
This is the area of operations of various guerrilla groups
Now what does our picture show demonstrate?
The Army's own charts show a resistance which is widespread and capable of attacking the US across the country. While there is no overall command, there is a great deal of evidence that there is some coordination with some groups.
How effective is this?
Thousands of attacks per month.
This isn't news because Iraq is so dangerous that reporters cannot get out to cover the news, unless escorted by US troops. And there is every reason to believe units just don't report attacks which miss or don't cause damage.
But what this shows is that the pace of combat is intense. One can conclude that US troops are under heavy combat daily and as a result, this pace of combat is wearing out men and equipment at a fairly high rate.
What people don't want to do is put it together. You have declining enlistments, recruiters going AWOL, up to 5000 desertions, massive complaints about equipment and supply.
So let's draw some conclusions:
* Rumsfeld's eagerness to use Iraq as a test bed for his transformation of the military was a disaster. While the US handled stage one capably, his indifferent to disorder set the stage for stage two.
* Leaving open the ammo dumps set the bed for the resistance. The Iraqi resistance is the most lavishly equipped in history. Every unit well armed with modern weapons.
*Poor planning left the US without their Third World auxillary armies to provide basic security. Without the large Pakistani and Nigerian units to patrol towns and provide basic area denial, US units have had to do two jobs, security and quick reaction.
* Disbanding the Army set the stage for the resistance to have trained people running it. These men didn't learn war from textbooks. The senior folks learned in combat and passed those lessons down
* US forces have adapted to tactics only to have those tactics shift.
* The Iraqis have minimized the use of helicopter units and limited them to observation and attack.
* The Iraqi resistance has also limited the use of the roadnet. Without convoys, resupply is impposible. This control is so dominant that US units now get some supplies by air.
* They have also thoroughly penetrated US assets in Iraq. No Iraqi unit can move without the guerrilas eventually finding out.
* US units are unable to leave their bases except on patrol. During the Vietnam War, Americans could frequent bars and live in the cities. No American can live in Iraq without security at the risk of kidnapping and death.
* The lack of infantry leaves the US unable to sustain military successes when they do occur. The scarest military resource is not armor, but trained combat infantry. Sure, you can send artillerymen out on patrol and get tankers on foot. But infantry is irreplacable for guerrilla warfare.
Every day, US forces go out, take casualities and go back to their bases, trying to survive yet another attack that night. The US, in two years, have lost lives and material, but gained little. There is not one area the US can say that guerrillas cannot operate. And that is the most important fact. After two years and 1500 dead, the guerrillas control the highway to the airport, Baghdad's main drags and the country's highways.
This is not winning.
posted by Steve @ 8:07:00 PM