November 13, 2004


I’m a little frustrated about the lack of information out of Iraq and more importantly the ongoing battle for Fallujah. There’s a lot of activity outside of Fallujah. It turns out this was expected. In an article in the November 7th issue of the Seattle Times, a U.S. diplomat predicted just this sort of action.

"There will be horrific events outside Fallujah," said a senior U.S. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I would never tell you that violence in Sunni areas won't get worse when you open up a battle."

He added that officials expect that period to last "not many weeks."

"You will have a shortish period when everybody will say the whole country's falling apart but they (the insurgents) will not be able to maintain that tempo."

The battle for Fallujah reminds me somewhat of the battle for Iwo Jima. Although Iwo Jima was not urban fighting, it’s the same kind of combat. makes the point better than I.

American troops encountered this a lot while fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, particularly when fighting in towns and cities of the Philippines. The situation is different, of course, in Iraq. The Iraqi fighters are poorly trained compared to the World War II Japanese, and much more poorly equipped. American night vision equipment and UAVs provide a tremendous edge, which is why some 25 Iraqi gunmen die for each American death. Very few civilians have been encountered in Fallujah. Those that claim to be civilians are given a "residue test" to see if their hands have fired a gun or handled explosives recently. Very few young men in Fallujah come away clean.

In the battle for Iwo Jima the Marines suffered 26,000 casaulties against the 22,000 Japanese defending the island. It was literally hell on earth.

Four miles long, shaped like a pork chop, covering eight square miles, Iwo had no front lines, no rear, every inch a battleground. "We were confronted with defenses being built for years," explained Captain Haynes, who later commanded the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions. "There were complex, subterranean levels, some two stories down. From these the defenders could approach the enemy on the surface virtually anywhere through warrens, spider holes, caves, and crevices.

"At great cost, you'd take a hill to find then the same enemy suddenly on your flank or rear. The Japanese were not on Iwo Jima. They were in it!" Colonel Thomas M. Fields (USMC Ret), the University of Maryland's memorable public affairs officer, has already revisited the ankle-deep black sand around Mount Suribachi. "I'd known combat in the Solomons with its sly ambushes and jungle firefights," said the former Captain, "but Iwo was another kind of war. On Iwo by the 8th day, only two officers of my second battalion (26th Marines, 5th Marine Division) were standing ... We had one prisoner -- unconscious, his clothes blown off."

As one who stands and waits, all I can do is pray that God watches over our noble warriors.

Posted by Ted at November 13, 2004 2:24 PM