None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

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Arab News is known for commentary articles that are just out there, but Lessons From the Killing of Uday and Qusay by Amr Mohammed Al-Faisal is so completely wrong in everything from its premise to its supporting 'evidence' to its conclusion that it stands as a textbook example of the dangerous stupidity I'm here to fight. Without further ado, on with the Fisking:

"I have never been a supporter of Saddam Hussein or his regime. Nor do I wish them well today. However, the way that Uday and Qusay were killed needs to be examined carefully so as to derive useful lessons. "
The disclaimer is now standard issue with those who oppose what we did and are doing in Iraq, as indeed it has to be--the alternative is the implicit presumption that the writer actually preferred Hussein & Sons in charge there (not that there's any shortage of those half-wits).

There are lessons to be learned, yes. Why don't you draw your own conclusions and them compare them to Mr. Al-Faisal's when we get to the end?

"US forces, based on a tip-off from a friend of the Hussein family (in return for a $30 million reward), surrounded a house in Mosul in which Uday, Qusay, his 14-year-old son Mustafa, and one of their supporters had hidden. Some 200 US soldiers backed by helicopter gunships, missiles and mortar shells, attacked the house. After a battle, which lasted six hours, the three men and boy were dead. "
What Al-Faisal doesn't say in this summary tells us a lot about which way he's headed, but we'll give him more rope anyway. There'll be plenty of time to smack that horse in the ass later.
"I was appalled."
I was mostly disappointed, half because the intel would have been invaluable and half because parading them around Iraq in a cage would have given Iraqis a sense of closure. Their deaths, however, were an acceptable consolation prize. But let's move on to this real screamer:
"I have said it before (not in this publication) and I say it again: Western, and especially US, military doctrine is incapable of achieving victory."

What, did this guy sleep through the (first) Gulf War? We smoked the entire Iraqi military in Kuwait in five weeks of air strikes and four days of ground combat. We achieved the stated objective, the liberation of Kuwait, with under 300 KIA (combat and non-combat deaths). The only thing keeping us from rolling on to Baghdad and finishing the job in 1991 was the lack of a UN mandate.

Also, did he sleep through the second Gulf War? We defeated the entire Iraqi military, period, in six weeks with half the casualties of the first Gulf War. Since May 1, coalition forces have been able to move at will throughout the country without facing more than token resistance. If that isn't the definition of 'military victory,' than what is?

"It took a 50:1 ratio (I am ignoring the helicopters, etc.) of crack (at least that’s what the Americans call them) troops five hours to kill the three men and a boy who were hiding not in a heavily fortified bunker but in a simple villa. What a disgrace! In addition, they were not even trying to capture them alive. If they had been, maybe it would have taken them a week."
Right, wrong, wrong, and definitely wrong, respectively. The American troops were trying to arrest the Brothers Grim, even going so far as to knock on the door when they arrived! When Oday and Qusay didn't come out with their hands up like good fugitives, and opened fire when the the Americans went into the villa to search for them, the troopers did what any good cops trying to arrest a suspect would do - fall back, establish a perimeter and call for backup. A detachment from the 101st Airborne arrived (the 50:1 ratio is probably about right here), and the next three hours (I don't know where the 'five hour' figure came from. The whole thing took about 3 1/2 hours) were spent asking for their surrender and dodging fire coming from inside the building. If the original intent was to kill them rather than capture them, one JDAM or TOW detachment could have done the job in 3 1/2 minutes, not 3 1/2 hours.

"Had these been Saudi troops I would have urged that they be court-martialed for sheer colossal incompetence and cowardice."
So unbelievably wrong that we'll have to come up with a new word to describe just how wrong it is. Had the Saudi military tried that, Saddam would be appointing a military governor for Riyadh by now. If the Saudi military were held to the same professional standards the US military is, there wouldn't be a Saudi military!

"We must learn from this that US military strategy, doctrine, tactics and whatever else you can think of have reached a point of total bankruptcy. They are simply incapable of fighting real battles against real people who do not roll over and play dead on cue."
The Iraqis didn't roll over and play dead; we rolled over them and made them dead. Get it right next time.

"I would like to suggest learning military arts from such people as the Vietnamese, who proved beyond a shadow of doubt their military superiority over the US despite the latter’s almighty bluster and fancy hardware (how the Americans love their toys). "
(Sigh) I can't believe we still have to argue this one. Despite the fact that that the modern US military is a far superior force to the one of the Vietnam era, we won every battle in that war (even Tet! Don't believe me? Examine the relative positions before and after!). Vietnam was a political defeat, not a military one.

"The Chinese also have a thing or two to teach us. Do not forget that they fought the US and its allies (another coalition of the willing) to a standstill in Korea at a time when the US was at its mightiest militarily and economically. China at the time was a Third World country, which had just come through a massive civil war. The East, brothers and sisters, is where we should look. Forget about the West, for they are finished."
Again, different army, different era. The Chinese outnumbered the UN forces by about 3:1. If anything, the military preparedness was the opposite of what Al-Faisal claims: the US had de-mobilized after WWII and the Chinese were preparing for an invasion of Formosa (Taiwan)!

"As for you, the American people, you must start to worry that the performance of your military does not start to give ideas to your southern neighbors. If they continue to perform like they are doing in Iraq, then I for one believe the Mexican Army is a serious threat to your national integrity."
And here's where we compare notes. What was the lesson to be learned from the Brothers Grim raid? <Trebek>Oooh, sorrry. We were looking for "What is 'Beware of Mexico?'" </Trebek>

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on July 28, 2003 12:28 PM.

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