April 1, 2004

Analysis of our response at Fallujah

Wretchard at the Belmont Club has an as-usual excellent status report on Fallujah and a good analysis of what we are going to do next. bq. The cordon has if anything, been tightened. "U.S. troops, however, remained outside the city Thursday, and commanders said they would act 'at the time and place of our choosing." The US military defended its decision not to send troops into Fallujah immediately. Instead, the forces available blocked off the access routes. Fallujah is bounded in the West by a river and four major roads lead in and out of the town. And on the tactics of what comes next: bq. The rest is tactics. The Marines have long studied Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). They will put snipers in dominant overwatch; use the road network to divide up the town into zones by posting the intersections; they will build EPW cages outside the town; they will put persistent aerial surveillance aloft; there will be a blanket of electronic surveillance and electronic jamming over the town; they will map out the operation to a room-by-room detail. Then they will lop off bits of Fallujah one slice at a time. bq. The biggest danger, as Kimmitt knows, is that the Anti-coalition Forces will use civilians, particularly children, as human shields by sheltering and firing from houses. Unfortunately for the enemy, the cordon ensures that Kimmitt will be in no particular hurry. The enemy can shoot it out with Marine snipers who have plenty of match grade ammunition. The presence of Iraqi policemen will allow Kimmitt to direct civilians into processing areas. Then the evacuated houses will be searched individually until the entire leadership structure is taken apart. bq. The deliberate, even cold-blooded approach by the Marines makes this incident the anti-Mogadishu. The tactics employed against the Rangers in the Blackhawk Down incident relied on the belief that Americans could be reflexively trapped into defending unfavorable positions in attempts to recover bodies. The Anti-Coalition Forces probably felt sure that taunting Americans over the media would produce the desired impulsiveness. As the minutes lengthened into hours and the Marines responded with icy professionalism, the enemy may have come the unpleasant realization that this was not the former administration and that other still more unwelcome surprises were in store for them. If I was a thinking terrorist (but I contradict myself), I would be very very worried for my skin right about now. The Marines and the Iraqi police will not be impulsive, they will be slow, methodical and thorough. Semper Fi -- Fallujah delenda est! Posted by DaveH at April 1, 2004 7:21 PM