Some analysis of Task Force 20

The raid in Al Mansour was supposedly meant to "get" Hussein. Here's the deal, according to Robert Fisk and the BBC. Here are some things to keep in mind about the perpetrators, known as "Task Force 20" (TF20).

1) Here's how TF20 formed, and where they came from:
U.S. Central Command has disbanded Task Force 11, the group of elite Delta Force and Navy SEAL commandos who hunted high-value Taliban and al Qaeda operators in and around Afghanistan. Some of its members transferred to the Iraq theater, where they formed Task Force 20, the group tasked to hunt for senior Ba'ath Party members, including Saddam Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusai. Task Force 20 is primarily made up of Delta, SEALs and units from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Asked who is now hunting for Osama bin Laden and ousted Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, a military officer answered, "Other folks are doing that."
2) It's increasingly clear that this "task force" in charge of capturing the Husseins doen't want to take them alive. First, note that TF20 knows how to take people alive, capturing "Palestinian guerrilla leader Mohammed Abbas in Baghdad in mid-April and the Iraqi scientists nicknamed Mrs. Anthrax and Dr. Germ". But when it comes to the Husseins, TF20 is absolutely fucking brutal. See the mistaken raid on the smuggler convoy in Syria (they thought it was Husseins). See the slaughter of the Hussein Brothers. See this latest raid, in which anything that moved was cut down without the slightest hesitation. As if, TF20 having secured the area and taken up positions, there is any way Iraqi civillian vehicles straying into this area could have possibly been construed as an immidiate threat.

3) TF20 is a take no prisoners, cowboy outfit. They have a mandate right from the top of the food chain. Dude in charge is Stephen Cambone, the guy is apparently close enough to Wolfowitz to pinch hit for him on the Quadrennial Defense Review.

4) TF20 is an "elite unit" who get the bigtime political missions, such as when they did the Jessica Lynch grandstanding. There was also the time they spent failing to find the hidden WMD, anywhere. Now, their job is the Hussein family. Its a bigtime political job, and it needs to be finished in true climactic action movie style. After all, imagine the embarrassing secrets Saddam could tell, if he could somehow manage to survive his "capture".

5) Given where it is based and who it is composed of, TF20 likely contains many of the same folks who brought you the Somalia mess, which, ironically, is what Hussein has been reported to base "his strategy" on -- protracted, messy guerilla warfare can turn back the Americans. Its also an incident the neocons find particularly troubling, and want to "rectify". TF20 formed from TF11 in Afghanistan, that was supposed to capture all the "high-value" Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. And didn't. So these things add a bit of the old feud element to the mess, and even more political weight to the mission. This TF20 probably contains people itching to get even and make up for their screwups in Somalia. The Somalia precedent also indicates that these soldiers are (culturally) probably way past the point of caring about or planning around the issue of civillian casualties of their operations.

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