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What Price Glory?

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  • What Price Glory?

    The news is abuzz with killing Iraqis. But what kind of Iraqis will we be killing. They Iraqi army is prepped to use civs as shields. What do you think the international community will accept as casualties? Do you think that the U.S force will negate some casualties? And finally, do you think that the war will be severely hindered by the caution around casualties?
    14
    Ignore Civ Casualties
    0.00%
    0
    Accept losses for a large objective
    57.14%
    8
    Go slowly to limit civ casualties
    21.43%
    3
    Not attack densely populated areas
    21.43%
    3
    Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

  • #2
    Wherte did you get the information that the Iraqi Army will use its own civilians as shields?
    http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

    Comment


    • #3
      I think it's a gimme that the RGFC will exploit our ROE to their advantage and use civilians as a weapon. Even if they don't use them as human shields, the enemy will employ them as obstacles to restrict mobility, deplete supplies, and protect their forces.

      The world will have to tolerate the civilian casualties incurred as a result of fighting on urban terrain. Our Rules of Engagement should restrict outright abuses. However, we must provide troops the freedom to accomplish their mission as quickly as possible with minimum cost.

      The Iraqi people will suffer in any invasion of Iraq. They will be caught up in the middle to two fighting forces. Men will be locked in primordial combat. Civilians who find themselves in the middle of this hell will probably die. Our soldiers can do what they can to encourage civilians to stay in doors or to make their way to designated areas. Yet, it will be up to the people to listen, and the defenders to allow their movement. The only way to really avoid non-combatant casualties in MOUT is for both sides to take steps to protect the innocent. I don't think the RGFC is so kind.

      We must focus on bringing the fighting to a rapid conclusion. That should dominate our every move. Ending this war rapidly will keep casualties down on a more permanent and universal level. I'm not saying we should abandon all ROEs and go in blazing. However, our forces can't move rapidly while spending days convincing scared civilians to join their side. We can only do so much. The Iraqi people and it's military will need to do the rest.

      Again, I think we should consider contacting Iraqi commanders directly. Maybe we can convince them to surrender or turn against Saddam. I am certain there are commanders within the Iraqi Army who recognizes the fultility in resisting. We can offer honorable surrenders to commanders stressing the importance to of rebuilding Iraq. We should talk to them commander to commander. Maybe that will save some lives. The RGFC might be ruthless, but they are professional soldiers. Maybe some of their commanders don't want to see their men wasted in another exibition of Saddam's military ignorance.

      It's a long shot, but one can always hope.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

      Comment


      • #4
        Deltapooh:

        I don’t buy that line that the Iraqi military is going to use its own people as ‘human shields’. Like these people are their mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, and children! It seems a bit far-fetched to say the least of it!

        It is true that if and when a war starts many innocent people will die in the fighting. There is just no way that this situation can be avoided when air power on a massive scale is employed as an operational tool. If it goes the full distance and major fighting erupts in Baghdad, Takrit, Mosul, and elsewhere then there will be more civilian casualties but in urban conflict situations like this most of the civilians will flee and be able to take shelter. Some people will surely die in crossfire or cases of mistaken identity. First chance they get though they will flee the areas of fighting and will end up refugees. It is in a situation like that where the old, sick, lame, mothers and children will suffer the most and people will succumb under the stress of hardship. A major problem will be lack of sanitation, access to clean water, and food supplies. These factors have the potential to really shoot up the civilian casualty rate.
        There could be a major environmental catastrophe if Saddam blows the oil wells, which will create a huge amount of environmental pollution far in excess of what happened in Kuwait at the end of the last Gulf War.
        Another factor re civilian losses is what might happen in the immediate weeks following a collapse of Saddam’s power. In Basra, Karbala and Najaf the Shites are the majority and have been ruthlessly suppressed by Saddam’s men over the years. They will seek revenge on their oppressors and maybe even their families who are based there. The same goes in the north if Mosul and Kirkuk fall to the Kurds.

        Saddam’s main power base is Takrit, north of Baghdad. He also has strong support in the capital itself, having been based there for many years and it was here that he first developed his considerable, if bloodthirsty skills! His support base in Takrit is also part of the Sunni Islam area of Iraq. Since the days of the Ottoman Empire the Sunnis have run affairs at the military, political and administrative level. They look down on the Shites who are seen as unsophisticated over religious types. For the Kurds they have some respect as fighting men but Iraqi policy towards these non Arabs has veered between oppression and accommodation over the years.
        Saddam you see came to manhood in a State where ‘the Strong Man’ military dictator type was the paradigm. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1958 and the King, Crown Prince and others were murdered, power fell to Karim Qasim, who ruled with some degree of popular support mixed with ruthless suppression till 1963, when he was overthrown and promptly executed. The Ba’th Party ( of which Saddam was a member) came to power briefly for a few months but their programme was too radical for some and they were ousted at the end of the year by Salam Arif. After this the Ba’th Party was suppressed and Saddam spent two years in prison (shucks!) where he forged links with people who were to serve him well later on.
        Salam Arif died in a chopper crash in 1966 his weaker brother ruled till 1968 when he in turn was ousted by the resurgent Ba’th party under Hasan al Bakr, who was a relation of Saddam and actively prompted his rise through the ranks. President Arif was put on a plane out of the country. Iraqi politics was very much based around building personal and tribal loyalties to Leaders who then rewarded those who obeyed them. Those who did not could be executed, tortured, exiled, assassinated etc. Saddam took all these lessons on board on his rise to the top.
        As you might have guessed I’m reading book on Iraq at the moment! The year 1968 is as far as I have got right now.
        http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolfe Tone

          I don’t buy that line that the Iraqi military is going to use its own people as ‘human shields’. Like these people are their mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, and children! It seems a bit far-fetched to say the least of it!
          I have to disagree. I doubt the RGFC considers every countrymen their brother. A soldier might not use his relative as a human shield. However, I believe his will use a stranger to protect himself if self-preservation motivates him to. I'm not saying the Iraqi military is unhumane. The RGFC simply don't value life to the degree necessary to avoid this kind of atrocity.

          One also has to consider the poorly trained Iraqi Army. They are more likely to use human shields because they don't have training, skill, and confdence to rely on. These men will improvise under considerable stress. Self-preservation can overwhelm these soldiers making human rights violations acceptable.

          The Iraqis will try to exploit our desire not to kill civilians in every way possible. I believe it would be a mistake to assume that just because these are their countrymen, they will show pity.

          Originally posted by Wolfe Tone

          Another factor re civilian losses is what might happen in the immediate weeks following a collapse of Saddam’s power. In Basra, Karbala and Najaf the Shites are the majority and have been ruthlessly suppressed by Saddam’s men over the years. They will seek revenge on their oppressors and maybe even their families who are based there. The same goes in the north if Mosul and Kirkuk fall to the Kurds.
          Excellent point! I can't agree with you more. Similar events after the fall of the Taliban. The US should take that as a lesson learned. Coalition forces must avoid extensive use of these rebels and maintain a presence sufficient to intervene in the event of atrocities.

          What is the name of this book Wolfe Tone? It sounds quite interesting. Saddam did learn alot about politics and how to stay in power. It's these lessons that will probably result in his demise. Saddam doesn't want to comply because it he feels it makes him look weak. He rules on fear. So if Saddam complies, it would mean he is scared of the US. That can be dangerous in his political analysis.
          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

          Comment


          • #6
            I heard they already keep anti-aircraft missles located near civilian buildings so the Allied aircraft can't take them out.
            "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

            Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chuck
              I heard they already keep anti-aircraft missles located near civilian buildings so the Allied aircraft can't take them out.
              Well if they have AA batteries in Baghdad then of course they will be located on or near civilian buildings. I don't think the Iraqi military are going to be so obliging as to cease fire on the approach of Allied aircraft in a war zone or move their guns out of harms way! Placing AA guns in your capital city to defend it from attack in a War is perfectly legit.
              http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, but the Iraqis are notorious for placing thier AA mobile radar vehicles next to mosques and hospitals.
                Editor-in-Chief
                GameSquad.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Deltapooh:

                  You might have a point if you look at it this way. Those Iraqi forces based away from their home areas will not have the same reticence about being responsible for civilian casualties as those fighting in their hometowns or cities. Maybe in a place like Basra the Sunni troops would not perhaps be too worried if the place is wrecked from end to end. Chances are they will see themselves facing a Shite revolt there anyway, in which case they will be fighting for their lives before the American Army even gets there! If anyone saw the film ‘Three Kings’ (I only got to see it last week!) there is a scene in which one of Saddam’s men shoots a Shite woman in the head in front of her little daughter and her husband. Expect to see these crimes returned by at least some the Shites in due course. Further north in Baghdad and Takrit the Sunnis hold sway (though there are Shite areas in Baghdad too and probably mixed areas as well) and it’s impossible to know just how many Iraqis will choose to fight at that stage. The Republican Guard can’t really expect any mercy and will no doubt fight it out to some degree.

                  However it is important to bear in mind that Iraq does have a national identity and many Iraqis regardless of religion or political persuasion will oppose this invasion. They might not like Saddam but who wants to see their country invaded and overrun? There is a lot of anti western feeling there and innocent Iraqi civilians have died at the hands of Allied bombers both during the last Gulf War and in more recent times. The sanctions too bit hard esp. in the early years and rightly or wrongly America and Britain are seen as the villains in this. This caused a lot of suffering. In recent years things have eased somewhat and Iraq from an economic viewpoint is slightly better off.

                  I just can’t believe Deltapooh how anyone can use civilians as human shields in an urban combat situation in any meaningful way. No doubt buildings will be attacked in which there are civilians in which some Iraqi troops have taken up positions and the Iraqis will attack buildings in which Allied troops have done likewise. In urban warfare situations these things are unavoidable. But I don’t think that it is possible to use this type of tactic as a means of operation. To soldiers in a War civilians are just a bloody nuisance as they get in the way of operations and clog things up. This line of reasoning will apply to both forces. Again I must stress that Iraqi soldiers in many areas will not want to see innocent women and children etc. hurt or killed, they are human beings too and will have natural feelings of protection towards their own people especially. The American and British soldiers will no doubt wish to avoid killing innocent people as well.True in war these feelings can break down and not everyone will behave in a chivalrous manner that’s for sure, but I think we can discount the one about there being widespread use of the ‘Civilian Shield’ tactic, at least in the Sunni areas. You can be sure of one thing though and that is both sides will fling mud like mad in the Propaganda War so this one will no doubt surface again in the months ahead.

                  Another point to bear in mind is that notwithstanding the Sunnis central place in the scheme of things the Shites have been allowed to take part in Iraq’s political life as have the Kurds. Saddam spreads his network into all sections of Iraqi life where personal loyalty to him is the prerequisite for personal advancement. In this way the contradictions between the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the State are subsumed in loyalty to ‘Saddam who is Iraq’, therefore ‘Iraq is Saddam’.

                  The book I’m reading is ‘A History of Iraq’ by Charles Tripp. It’s a bit scholarly and dry, which is why I’m trying to get it finished before I return to work, as it’s heavy going in places.
                  http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wolf Tone you ignore the point. The Iraqi army is not out to necisarily commit atoricities, they are out to make us get trapped into comiting them. AA missiles on the roof of a hospital? What do you do at that situation. The life of an American soldier has the same value as that of an Iraqi in the hospital. And there were seval documented cases of such tactics.At what point Wolf Tone is civilian protection going to mix with protecting Iraqi soldiers?A soldier knows that the enemy cannot enagage civilians, but that soldier can engage the enemy while intertwined with the civilians. A line must be drawn, period.
                    Doesn't read Al Franken, can't watch Al Jazeera, will attack dumbasses. Anyone but Rumsfeld '04.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Headshot
                      Wolf Tone you ignore the point. The Iraqi army is not out to necisarily commit atoricities, they are out to make us get trapped into comiting them. AA missiles on the roof of a hospital? What do you do at that situation. The life of an American soldier has the same value as that of an Iraqi in the hospital. And there were seval documented cases of such tactics.At what point Wolf Tone is civilian protection going to mix with protecting Iraqi soldiers?A soldier knows that the enemy cannot enagage civilians, but that soldier can engage the enemy while intertwined with the civilians. A line must be drawn, period.
                      To make that one stick your going to have to come up at least one example with a time and location...can you do that?

                      I certainly would not condemn military forces for attacking AA batteries if they were under attack from a hospital area but I just don’t think these things really happen outside of ‘propaganda’ stories.

                      Quote: ‘Truth is the first casualty of War’…Sir Winston Churchill, circa 1940.
                      http://www.irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wolfe Tone


                        To make that one stick your going to have to come up at least one example with a time and location...can you do that?

                        I certainly would not condemn military forces for attacking AA batteries if they were under attack from a hospital area but I just don’t think these things really happen outside of ‘propaganda’ stories.

                        Quote: ‘Truth is the first casualty of War’…Sir Winston Churchill, circa 1940.
                        Yes, I can. I saw it first hand. I participated in the assault on Iraq in 1991 as part of the 18th Airborne Corps air assault into FOB Cobra and As Salman. There is a large prison complex on top of the hill near the city there. The Iraqis positioned a very large AA radar very close to the prison virtually inviting its destruction, along with all the prisoners inside of course. The tactic didn't work. The radar was bombed without any damage - that I saw - to the building (along with a battalion of T62's about a mile away). I also saw the wanton destruction the Iraqi army caused to Kuwait City.

                        There was also the case of the infamous bunker incident that killed scores of Iraqi civilians. In point of fact the structure was an Iraqi command and control center at one time and there were reliable reports that the Iraqis were still using the place for limited military operations even while large numbers of civilians were taking shelter there. They even went so far as to paint fake battle damage marks on the roof in an attempt to fool Allied planes. The place was destroyed and the Iraqis got a huge publicity boon out of it. Washington ordered the theater commander to change the bombing tactics to help avoid such potential problems in the future. The new tactics meant the aircrews would have to take greater risks in order to save Iraqi lives.

                        I believe the first incident was unintentional on the part of the Iraqi regime, but once they saw how squeamish the Westerners were about civilian casualties they immediately began to take advantage of it.

                        You have to understand that this regime has brutally suppressed, imprisoned or murdered the majority of its population. They have used helicopter gunships and chemical weapons to kill large numbers of their own people. Who do you think carried out these suppressions? Saddam himself? His military will do what he tells them to do because the price of failure is torture or death (to include family members and children). Saddam's men have on numerous occasions mutilated and tortured the children of dissidents as they watched in order to crush the will of anyone to resist. Do you think they will have any qualms about using civilians to further their cause?

                        Read this report from the British government:

                        http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/saddamdossier.pdf

                        The Iraqi regime understands that it can't successfully fight and win a major war against the United States or any Allied coalition. That still doesn't mean Saddam doesn't think he can't win. He believes that if he caused enough carnage - both his casualties and ours - that there will be such an outcry from the international community that a halt will be called to the offensive. How many Iraqi civilians have to die before the more liberal parts of Europe and Asia howl with protest over the "unjust American invasion?" The writing is on the wall. It has already been reported by CNN and other news agencies that the bulk of Saddam's forces are re-deploying into the urban areas. This is a tactic which can have but one use, and have no doubt it will be a tragic one.

                        If it comes to pass, this is one war that no one is going to win.
                        Editor-in-Chief
                        GameSquad.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here are a few quotes from the British government's report:

                          There is first-hand evidence that the Iraqi regime tortures children. In June, a BBC correspondent, John Sweeney, visiting the Kurdish safe haven of northern Iraq, reported the story of Ali, an Iraqi who used to work for Saddam’s son Udayy. Some time after the bungled assassination of Udayy, Ali fell under suspicion. He fled north, leaving his wife and two-year-old daughter
                          behind. The secret police came for his wife. They tortured her to find out where Ali was. When she did not tell them, they tortured the daughter, half-crushing her feet. When John Sweeney met Ali and his daughter two years later, she was still hobbling. Ali feared that his daughter had been crippled for life.

                          Mr Sweeney also met six other witnesses in northern Iraq with direct experience of child torture, including another of Saddam’s enforcers – now in a Kurdish prison – who told him that an interrogator could do anything. ‘We could make a kebab out of a child if we wanted to’ he told Mr Sweeney and chuckled.

                          ---------------------------------

                          During his interrogation, the husband’s arms were tied behind his back and he was then suspended in the air using a hook hung from the ceiling. This caused intense pain as his shoulder muscles and ligaments were torn. After a period, the interrogators entered the room and the husband was unhooked and placed in a chair in the middle of the room. From close range, he was then shot at with a pistol whenever he refused to agree to sign his confession. Sometimes shots were fired which missed his body, at other times the pistol muzzle was placed against his fingers, toes or arms and fired so as to mutilate these areas. Over the following two weeks further interrogations occurred at intervals, following periods of food and water deprivation. Eventually the husband’s and wife’s wider family paid a bribe.
                          The UN human rights commission also discovered documents, some carried by Iraqi army members, such as this:

                          Government personnel card of Aziz Salih Ahmed, identified as a “fighter in the popular army” whose “activity” is “violation of women’s honour” (i.e. a professional rapist).
                          There is very little the Iraqi regime hasn't already done. Hurting innocent civilians is the least of what Saddam is capable of.
                          Editor-in-Chief
                          GameSquad.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wolfe Tone, you are equating the Iraqi Army to Western forces. I don't believe they assign such a high value on life that would eventually prevent civilians being used as human shields. Saddam rules by terror. I don't think he portions that to just his tribal enemies. So, more than likely, the military has experienced abusing and killing on a more general scale.

                            Unlike the US and it's allies, the Iraqis don't train with restricted ROEs meant to protect the civilian population. I'm certain none could explain even the most common law governing conduct in war. It's commanders don't care about their troops. So why should they care about anyone else?

                            The regular army is gonna *hit on themselves the moment they get a real taste of urban combat. They will use every trick in the book to survive. It's not impossible to imagine soldiers placing their own families at risk to save themselves.

                            The South Vietnamese did as the country fell to the North. Men pushed their own mothers, children, and other relatives out of the way to board planes out. One documentary showed just how uncaring those men were. Those that were left behind were prepared to blow a plane up instead of allowing it to escape.

                            There's nothing wrong with your opinion. To be honest, I pray you are right Wolfe Tone. Yet, I just don't think the Iraqis think at your level. The regular Army lacks the training, and it's military as a whole has experienced brutality by its leaders. You don't have to torture anyone for it to dehumanize you. Just seeing it on a regular basis can cause one to develop a kind of immunity to feelings of regret and remorse. Saddam has created a generation raised in terror. We can't expect the military to be like our forces who grew up with alot of freedom and no abuse.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I voted for accepting heavy casualties for important objectives. If there is actually any willpower to defeat the Iraqi regime and truely help the Iraqi people, full committment will be required, including perhaps inflicting/suffereing heavy casualties. I in no way advocate going to war with Iraq, but if we're going to go to war, at least let's do it properly and have the determination to see it through to the end. After all, this war isn't about WMDs, Saddam, or oil, but the freedom of the Iraqi people.....right!?
                              Last edited by Martin Schenkel; 29 Dec 02, 00:01.

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