This looks, frankly, too cool for words. It’ll be great if the performance measures up.
Jack Kelly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gets it very right.
|::::::::|| The rule of thumb for the last century or so has been that for a guerrilla force to remain viable, it must inflict seven casualties on the forces of the government it is fighting for each casualty it sustains, says former Canadian army officer John Thompson, managing director of the Mackenzie Institute, a think tank that studies global conflicts.
By that measure, the resistance in Iraq has had a bad week. American and Iraqi government troops have killed at least 1,200 fighters in Fallujah, and captured 1,100 more. Those numbers will grow as mop-up operations continue.
These casualties were inflicted at a cost (so far) of 56 Coalition dead (51 Americans), and just over 300 wounded, of whom about a quarter have returned to duty.
“That kill ratio would be phenomenal in any [kind of] battle, but in an urban environment, it’s revolutionary,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, perhaps America’s most respected writer on military strategy. “The rule has been that [in urban combat] the attacking force would suffer between a quarter and a third of its strength in casualties.”
The victory in Fallujah was also remarkable for its speed, Peters said. Speed was necessary, he said, “because you are fighting not just the terrorists, but a hostile global media.”
Jack Kelly is national security writer for the Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, by the way. (Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1476, if you like.) Peters is quite correct. The US and Iraqi forces engaged in the Fallujah operation have conducted an immensely successful operation. Not that you’d know it listening to our news media, of course. Kelly continues:
|::::::::||The swift capture of Fallujah is taxing the imagination of Arab journalists and — sadly — our own. How does one portray a remarkable American victory as if it were of little consequence, or even a defeat? For CNN’s Walter Rodgers, camped out in front the main U.S. military hospital in Germany, you do this by emphasizing American casualties.
For The New York Times and The Washington Post, you do this by emphasizing conflict elsewhere in Iraq.
But the news organs that liken temporary terrorist success in Mosul (the police stations they overran were recaptured the next day) with what happened to the terrorists in Fallujah is false equivalence of the worst kind. If I find a quarter in the street, it doesn’t make up for having lost $1,000 in a poker game the night before.
The resistance has suffered a loss of more than 2,000 combatants, out of a total force estimated by U.S. Central Command at about 5,000 (other estimates are higher) as well as its only secure base in the country. But both the Arab media and ours emphasize that the attack on Fallujah has made a lot of Arabs mad. By this logic, once we’ve killed all the terrorists, they’ll be invincible.
“The experience of human history has been the more people you kill, the weaker they get,” Thompson noted.
For the Arab and European media, the old standby is to allege American atrocities. In this they have had invaluable assistance from Kevin Sites, a free lancer working for NBC, who filmed a Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi feigning death in a mosque his squad was clearing. Al Jazeera has been showing the footage around the clock.
The mutilated body of Margaret Hassan, the aid worker kidnapped in Baghdad last month, has been discovered in Fallujah, as have torture chambers. Residents of Fallujah have been describing a reign of terror by the insurgents. But it is the Marine’s alleged “war crime” that is garnering the most attention.
I guess the media has been too busy wailing about a Marine who shot a wounded terrorist to carry this story too far:
|::::::::||In Fallujah, where U.S. Marines and soldiers are still battling pockets of resistance, insurgents waved a white flag of surrender before opening fire on U.S. troops and causing casualties, Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert said Saturday without elaborating.||::::::::|
Walter Cronkite was once considered the most trusted man in America. I remember listening to him myself as a boy. It wouldn’t be for several years that I learned of his infamous declaration that America could not win the Vietnam War in the midst of the catastrophic rout of NVA forces by American and South Vietnamese troops in the Tet Offensive. His simple utterance – one completely unsupported by the facts – was the straw the broke the back of the American public’s will and forced the withdrawl of US forces from Vietnam under Nixon. Nothing happens in a vaccum, I’d like to remind the reader, and what is casually left out of whatever history texts are used today on the Vietnam War is what happened to the people of South Vietnam after we pulled our last people off the roof of the embassy in Saigon. Millions killed. Millions more forced to run. Where do you think the term “boat people” came from?
Regarding Cronkite, however, you’d think that a man with 30 years of hindsight available to him – 30 years of research and reporting that shows that the Tet Offensive was most assuredly not a stalemate and certainly not a loss – such a man would be careful in spouting off again. Apparently not.
|::::::::||What America needs right now, legendary TV anchor Walter Cronkite said Thursday, is a new election — and, he warned a laughing press conference full of reporters, he wasn’t kidding.
”That’s not entirely a joke,” Cronkite said solemnly, arguing that the Bush administration has spent itself into ruin while embroiling the country in a war that will eventually make public revulsion to the war in Vietnam look “like peanuts.”
”I think you journalists today have a great four years ahead of you,” Cronkite observed dryly. “It’s going to be a great story to cover.”
Cronkite — in South Florida on a promotional visit for the Fisher Island Philanthropic Fund, a children’s charity — spent 30 years at CBS News, including 18 as anchor of the network’s evening newscast, before retiring in 1982.
His retirement has mostly been a quiet one. But during the past year, Cronkite — who turned 88 earlier this month — has made some startling departures from his old just-the-facts anchorman’s demeanor. He proclaimed that most journalists are liberals and praised them for it, and accused Republican political operative Karl Rove of orchestrating the release of a new Osama bin Laden tape last month to help President Bush win reelection.
On Thursday, he whacked away at the Bush administration even harder, accusing it of destroying the nation’s infrastructure and wrecking its education system to the point that American democracy itself is in danger.
”You want to get down to the nub of how this democracy is going to defend itself,” Cronkite said. “We’ve got to have an intelligent electorate and we’re not going to have it because our education system is in a shambles right now.”
Well, let’s just take a look at these declarations, OK? We don’t have an “intelligent electorate”. Well, isn’t that nice? Too damn bad we’re all such stupid, drooling morons unlike Mr. Cronkite. Nice to know we have such a massive intellect looking out for us and ready to point down from the mountain to highlight our sentience-challenged horrificly wrong decisions, isn’t it? Yes, I’m feeling just ready to explode with my pride and agreement that Mr. Cronkite is the man because he thinks I’m too stupid to breed.
For this point alone, Mr. Cronkite: fuck off. If your demeanor and actions are supposed to be the mark of intelligence, I’m thinking it’s the so-called intelligencia here in America that’s living in the low end of the electorate’s intellgence.
Not to mention the obvious glee he’s feeling over how the legions of journalists today – mostly liberals, you’ll note, and he’s damn glad to see that – will have a great time covering the story of how the war on terror is making the public (Now, is that the same public that’s too dumb to vote correctly?) recoil worse than the media made it look like everyone was doing 30 years ago when John Kerry was telling us all about the war criminals we had in uniform. Dry comment or not, he’s already got the story written. Just a matter of playing it out for us poor old dumb shits back in the States. And for the record, Walt, you must really think we’re dumber than a post to believe anyone possessed of any sense would just take your word for it that eeeevil mastermind Karl Rove manipulated OBL to send a tape on cue. For a guy who claimed the title “reporter” you’ve certainly devolved in your standards of reporting. And how about those other 2 statements you’ve tossed out here? That the Bush Administration has destroyed the nation’s infrastructure and wrecked its education system? The education department’s budget has gone UP hugely during Bush’s 1st term, not down. How the hell is that to be considered “wrecking” it? Maybe you meant something else, but you don’t bother to explain. Guess that’s because you think I and my fellow citizens who re-elected President Bush are just too brain-dead to understand?
And the infrastructure? Care to get a little bit more specific? I’d imagine not, since that would entail actually defending an accusation.
Of course, when asked for his views on something closer to home, he suddenly gets a case of the “ethical laryngitis”.
|::::::::||But he backed away from a question about the troubles at his old network, where an independent panel is investigating a report by Cronkite’s replacement, Dan Rather, that raised questions about President’s Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the National Guard.
”I’m not going to comment on the Dan Rather matter until the investigators come up with their report,” said Cronkite. “I’ve had great difficulty keeping my lips buttoned, but so far I’ve made it.”
That’s a matter of opinion, sir. Of course, I can understand why you’d like to avoid talking about a reporter who’s allowed his personal agenda to color his reporting, while at the same time claiming to be an intelligent objective. Guess that must be my education suddenly kicking in.