Politics rules everything around me
Psywarops, it scares the shit out of the dinks
On Scene: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled
Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing
By BRIAN BENNETT/AL JALLAM
The operation, which doubled the population of the flat farmland in one single airlift, was initiated by intelligence from Iraq security forces, says Lt Col Skip Johnson commander of the 187 Battallion, 3rd Combat Brigade of the 101st Airborne. "They have the lead," he said to reporters at the second stop of the tour. But by Friday afternoon, the major targets seemed to have slipped through their fingers. Iraqi Army General Abdul Jabar says that Samarra-based insurgent leader Hamad el Taki of Mohammad’s Army was thought to be in the area, and Iraqi intelligence officers were still working to compare known voice recordings and photographs with the prisoners in custody.
With the Interior Ministry's Samarra commando battalion, the soldiers had found some 300 individual pieces of weaponry like mortars, rockets and plastic explosives in six different locations inside the sparsely populated farming community of over 50 square miles and about 1,500 residents. The raids also uncovered high-powered cordless telephones used as detonators in homemade bombs, medical supplies and insurgent training manuals.
Before loading up into the helicopters for a return trip to Baghdad, Iraqi and American soldiers and some reporters helped themselves to the woman’s freshly baked bread, tearing bits off and chewing it as they wandered among the cows. For most of them, it was the only thing worthwhile they’d found all day.
So what was the woman supposed to eat? An MRE?
Look, the reason the 101st did this is because they have a lot of helicopters and commanders who are tired of sending out two and four ship patrols and dropping off recon teams and the odd Special Forces unit, between resupplies.
Everyone thinks the politics of this comes from DC, but this probably came right from division HQ.
One of the things about the Army which they don't tell you on TV is the fierce rivalry between units and branches. Army Aviation has had a rough war, mostly shunted to the sidelines. After reading all the hype the Cav got during their tour and how Petreus jumped to the head of the list of future heads of the Army Chief of Staff, with the former Cav commander Pete Chivarelli one step behind him, and Harry McMaster making his bid for his first star, you have people watching their careers go up in smoke.
Some for good reason, like some of the 4th ID's battalion commanders, who were, for lack of a better word, batshit crazy. But most of these guys are watching the war pass them and their men by and they want to do something.
So you get Swarmer. Harmless in most ways, no bombs, no guerillas waiting with manpads and rpgs, no firefights and great pictures.
And so many people wanted in, they pulled in a unit from the 4th ID, the Cav's 9th Cavalry Regiment (the one in Apocalyse Now) and a company from the 101st's 187th Rakkasans, one of the Army's best regiments. Along with the Iraqis auxilkiaries tagging along, everyone had their combat op. The 101st aviation units did their large formation thing, the gunships had a milk run and no one got killed.
I'd consider any day an American family doesn't get a phonecall or a visit a great day, myself. No dead Iraqis, same thing.
Only problem, when they do this stunt again, and people are waiting, it's gonna be bloody.
Of course, this has nothing to do with fighting the guerrillas, who took notes on everything and made sure to note when a 50+ ship attack is coming, the ones who hadn't left days before.
posted by Steve @ 1:28:00 AM