10 years, 7 months ago
This post has been updated with Ramadi is Still a Troubled City.
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Those of you who are consistent readers at my site (believe it or not, there are actually a few of you) know that when I think I see a spade, I call it a spade. Right or wrong, I call it like I see it.
I am a patriot. This post is not about the war in terms of its rightness or wrongness. It is about how we are conducting part of the war and the potentially terrible cost to U.S. lives that might result from our current strategy. It is time to weigh in on Ramadi. I think it is a mess, and I think that its a mess because of the tactical approach taken by the brass. This will not make me popular with the brass, but they don’t read my blog anyway, so I have lost nothing and I’ve kept my honesty.
Early on I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but pointed out that this tactic of surgically striking at the insurgents in Ramadi (while also leaving the civilians in the city) was prone to disaster and carried the risk of utter failure. Now, I feel that it is not only prone to disaster, but will also cost U.S. lives in the future.
I questioned in a earlier post on Ramadi “what kind of strategy digs a hole and puts U.S. troops in it waiting to be attacked,” or something like that (and in fact, the U.S. troops were taking bets as to when they would be attacked). Now, this from Ramadi:
Ramadi, Iraq – Peering over piles of sandbags in this ravaged city, US Marines sometimes see more gunmen on the streets than municipal employees going to work. The provincial governor regularly arrives at his office with armed gaurds in tow.
After three years of war in Ramadi, the US military has yet to move from combat to stabilization operations in most of this Sunni Arab city of 400,000 people, the capital of Anbar province.
Here full-fledged combat still rages. Efforts to build a local government have faltered.
In just four months, one Marine has fired 27 rockets. Another estimates he has fired 5,000 rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun. One marksman has 20 confirmed kills. His superiors believe he has probably killed another 40 but they are not sure.
The US military said Sunday that four US Marines assigned to the Regimental Combat Team 7 were killed in action in Anbar province, although it did not say where.
Residents of Ramadi are afraid of even walking near the offices of the Anbar provincial government, which is supposed to administer an area the size of Greece, and with about 1 million inhabitants.
“There’s been a concerted campaign against government officials that’s had some great success … the government center is nearly devoid of governance,