Guerilla and media tactics changing in Iraq

The Iraqi resistance has begun to use car bombs in a serious way. Bigger attacks (attacks that actually get reported) seem to be coming in waves. Nothing too new here, numbers still at about 10-15 attacks a day, about 10 wounded, 1 killed a day. The sabotage continues, the improvised explosive device seems to be taking the place of the RPG, the Iraqi resistance seems to be strategizing about how to attack other Iraqis, sypathizers and foreign soft targets. Anything that destabilizes Iraq undermines the American occupation. One thing I cant figure out is why they stopped attacking lone targets (walk-up shootings). Perhaps they are fixated on body count, but there seems to be a reduction in assasination type attacks that characterized the early resistance. Perhaps they think its too dangerous a tactic. I wonder.

Also, the Iraqis are demonstrating that intelligence is a double edged sword. This is something I pondered blogging about a while back, as afghanistan has made the US wary. The American security effort relies completely on tips from Iraqis and admit as much. The US is just starting to realize that the WMD tips they were getting before (from Iraqi defector/spies) may have been false Is it too much of a stretch to believe that they are *currently* getting all sorts of false tips about the resistance (and saddam)? Well, the army is starting to complain about it. The shitty tips could be deliberate, but also could be a natural function of what they originally touted as "increased cooperation". Too much intelligence info can pose more problems than it is worth, and since it is apparently not channeled through reliable iraqi hierarchies before the US military gets it, it probably has to be filtered through ignorant and reliable (a very stupid combination) of american hierarchies.

On the other hand, the Iraqis are learning about the Americans. The mortar attacks have to be getting better, and the americans better thank their lucky stars that the Iraqi cell phone network isnt running proper, because if it was the mortar squads could employ civillians as spotters to quietly help aim. Here's a primer on tactics, ironically written with US troops in mind as the mortarers. Anyway, the longer the bases sit the higher the chance of eventual mortar causalties suffered by the US. Also, the Iraqis have been able to obtain intelligence on the US, apparently firing 2 surface to air missles on a plane very close to the time Rumsfeld departed, who knows if he was in it. The more this happens, the more chance they have of an actual shootdown, and they know the political value of the big wigs, and will try to target them. The longer these folks operate in Iraq the more the resistance learns about them. US installations and personnel that dont constantly move or change their routines are slowly becoming easy targets, and time is on the Iraqi side, allowing scouting and planning of larger attacks, development of suicide bombers, and the space to carry the attacks out as Americans hunker down. Things are going to get very hot -- especially if the iraqis can exact a large number of US casualties in a single attack, or if they can get a high profile US administrator.

Until then, whats relevant is that the *mainstream* US media is beginning to note the number of wounded Americans (now over 1000 - stats here). 14 here. 7 there. These numbers will be crucial to get out there to influence US public opinion. Its interesting that the media is doing this -- rich folks may be movilizing for a change of policy.

Anyway,the body armor the Americans use basically means that most soldiers don't die instantly when attacked, and can be evacuated and stabilized before they die. This is a very mixed blessing for the US. The nice thing for the army, is that "wounded" tallies dont specify whether a soldier lost his legs, was blinded, or simply grazed by a bullet. So when you hear that 11 soldiers were wounded today, people arent as likely to notice. Militarily, 11 wounded, if they are not returned to duty (the army reports note when the soldiers are returned to duty, so apparently many arent), is a huge loss. Soldiers that are decomisioned this way are an additional burden, because they need to be evacuated, protected, they clog hospitals in the US and consume tons more resources than a dead soldier, who is just tallied, bagged, shipped, buried, and forgotten. The social *cost* of this high tech body armor is not being considered, and it will be significant. And very interesting to observe, as wars start to leave a much more visible mark on US society, one that isnt buried.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?