View Full Version : Preparing for Fallujah

04-23-04, 05:43 AM

From the Editor:

Preparing for Fallujah

By Ed Offley

Say a quiet prayer for our Marines in Fallujah.

It is becoming clearer by the day that they are going to have to clean out the band of several thousand Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists the old-fashioned way – in block-by-block city fighting at the squad and platoon level.

A solitary act of barbarism three weeks ago, the murder and defiling of the bodies of four American contract security guards, has now prompted a major military show of force that could well be the defining moment for the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. With only three months before the June 30 deadline for the handover of power in Iraq, the stakes in Fallujah could not be higher for the coalition.

Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, the senior Marine commander in Iraq, said yesterday that only surrender by the insurgents would forestall a Marine sweep of Fallujah. “There are X number of days left,” the general told reporters. “In that period of time, we need to see some distinctive cooperation on the part of the Iraqis inside the city to disarm. If that doesn’t happen, it’s inevitable that we'll go in and attack those people.”

Two events point to that stark scenario taking place.

First, despite a tenuous cease-fire, a group of insurgents mounted an attack on Wednesday that quickly escalated into a prolonged five-hour battle that only ended after several air strikes on the Iraqis’ positions. At one point, dozens of Iraqis rushed the Marines’ positions in what one Marine described as “almost a suicide-like attack.” Three Marines were injured and nine Iraqis killed with an unknown number of wounded.

Second, efforts to have insurgents turn in their weapons as part of the cease-fire have had scant results. When one truck showed up with a small pile of rusty and dysfunctional weapons, one Marine said, “This is one of those tests to see how stupid we are.”

Despite alarmist reports by some news organizations that the Iraqis have assembled a skilled fighting force in the city, a careful review of the news coverage suggests this is an exaggeration. As the Christian Science Monitor noted today:

“From a purely military viewpoint, the unrest in Iraq is not necessarily a massive problem. Fighting in Fallujah has involved around 1,000 dedicated insurgents, in a city of 300,000. The broader insurgency seems to involve 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, according to data compiled by Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.”

There have been some isolated signs of military cohesion among the insurgents that suggests a number of former Iraqi Special Republican Guard soldiers may have joined up, but it remains clear the Marines would ultimately prevail given their training, superior weapons and night-fighting capabilities.

Conway and his subordinate commanders have brought in several thousand reinforcements, providing a force of 3,500 Marines who are currently conducting raids and stockpiling ammunition and supplies in event the attack proceeds. He has also brought in AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopters and Air Force AC-130 Spectre gunships to patrol over the city by night.

Unidentified Marine officers told The New York Times that they “desperately” want to avoid a major conventional battle that would lead to widespread destruction and civilian deaths. At one point on Wednesday, Marines had to decide whether or not to fire at a Mosque inside Fallujah that was a gathering point for the Iraqi fighters.

“You have to look at the risk versus the gain: the destruction of the enemy versus the loss of goodwill from the people,” said 1st Lt. Ben Deda, in an interview with a Los Angeles Times reporter. The mosque was not attacked.

Ironically, many experts on Iraq warn that our demonstrations of willingness to negotiate – such as the cease-fire itself – come across to the militants as a sign of weakness. Other events such as the terrorist bombings in Basra and Riyadh this week show that the insurgents and terrorists have not yet given up.

This is the central dilemma that our Marines face: how to use overwhelming force with precision against a foe who is determined to erode public support for the rebuilding of Iraq by forcing as many civilians as possible into the crossfire.

It will fall on the shoulders of several thousand young Marines to carry out this critical balancing act.

Godspeed and Semper Fi.

Ed Offley is Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at dweditor@yahoo.com. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com. © 2004 Ed Offley.



04-23-04, 08:43 AM
Two words to the Devil Dogs in Fallujah


:marine: :devious: :marine:

04-23-04, 09:31 AM
I say line up the bulldozers, with Tanks right behind them. Put them side by side, and have the commander on loadspeaker say that. SIK EM! Good one sox.

04-23-04, 10:07 AM
KUFA, Iraq (AP) - A Shiite Muslim cleric threatened on Friday to launch suicide attacks if U.S. troops attack him and his forces in the holy city of Najaf. Muqtada al-Sadr, was speaking during the Friday prayers sermon in Kufa, another Shiite Muslim holy city few miles from Najaf. The area is mostly controlled by his Al-Mahdi Army militia, whose members have clashed with U.S. troops several times since their uprising began on April 4.
"Some of the Mujahideen brothers have told me they want to carry out martyrdom attacks but I am postponing this," al-Sadr said in front of thousands of worshippers. "When we are forced to do so and when our city and holy sites are attacked, we will all be timebombs in the face of the enemy."
He condemned suicide bombings Wednesday in the southern city of Basra that killed 73 people because they targeted Iraqi police and civilians.
U.S. forces are deployed outside Najaf, but their mission to capture or kill al-Sadr has effectively been put on hold while negotiators try to resolve the standoff. U.S. commanders say they have no intention for the time being of entering Najaf, the holiest Shiite city.
Al-Sadr is wanted in the April 2003 killing of a rival cleric.

Lets get a bunch of these Radical Shiites, put them in American Uniforms, give them weapons that will blow-up in their faces when they try to use them, run them in front of our Marines, let the Radical Shiites launch suicide attacks against them and then go in and clean this cesspool up once and for allb]

[b]Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr, center, speaks during the Friday prayers sermon in Kufa, southern Iraq, Friday, April 23, 2004. The anti-U.S. Shiite Muslim cleric warned Friday that his followers will launch suicide attacks if the holy city of Najaf is attacked by U.S. troops aiming to capture him and uproot his militia. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

04-23-04, 10:44 AM
Interesting isn't it, that while the new Iraqi army and new cops run away before firing on other Iraqis, the terrorists don't seem to have the same problem.

04-23-04, 11:14 AM

Interesting isn't it, that while the new Iraqi army and new cops run away before firing on other Iraqis, the terrorists don't seem to have the same problem.

They all look the same to me, Iraqis Army, Cops and Terrorist. Heck we are supplying them with arms to shoot our troops with.