Thursday, May 12, 2005


"The US considers all of Iraq a combat zone"

One learns the darndest things from certain government documents. This blows a hole in the "all the violence is only happening in the Sunni Triangle" lie that the right-wingers like to propagate. But of course John Tierney over at the "liberal" NYT will say that to mention this is un-American.

Charles butts in to let the reader know that the Iraqi resistance also regards the whole of Iraq as a combat zone. As Ellen Knickmeyer of The Washington Post writes a squad of 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment suffered 100% casualties in fighting near the Syrian border: "Haban, Iraq - The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border. Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.... In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be....Lima Company drew Marine reservists from across Ohio into the conflict in Iraq. Some were still too young to be bothered much by shaving, or even stubble....


Did you see Gilliard's citing the article on the insurgents with tank-piercing AP bullets who managed to stand off a company of Marines for two days? They were hiding in the crawl space under a house and shooting Marines through the concrete floor.

AP ammo is so heavy and bulky that it's not issued to US troops unless you're expected to need it in the near future. Either the insurgents are muscle-bound mutants, or they were planning to dig in under that house and do exactly what they did, which was to die while tying up a large number of US troops -- including air support, which is how they finally took out the last insurgent -- for a few days.
Those are the same resistance fighters described in this article, PW. That's why the squad was so exhausted.

I'm not sure it's surprising that these fighters would choose to fire from underneath the floor with such heavy weaponry. Body armor means that most weapons are not very effective against US troops. That means that their opposition has to rely more on explosives and heavy weapons anyway. From there, it's a small step to what they did.
My bad -- I thought they were separate pieces!

But yes. On the one hand, we have people who are willing to stay in a location for days on end knowing that they will eventually die there. On the other hand, we have the newly-minted Iraqi troops and police forces that know they are being used by the US to keep American casualties low enough so as not to hurt Bush or the Republicans politically, and so tend not to stick around when the bullets start flying.
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