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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Insurgents Banking On Another Tet

I received this from fellow Think Tank member Evo Riguzzi, a retired Army General. It is from a soldier stationed in Iraq. It lays out the political climate in Iraq, the strategy of the insurgents and the response and dedication of our soldiers. Read all of it, especially the part about the battalion from NYC. Thanks, Evo.

The letter:

The insurgents continue to have the capability to surge their attacks for a brief time, but then have to taper off. Generally we see surges after we have dealt them a significant defeat, and they are using the surge in violence to attempt to regain the initiative. They do not have the capability to conduct sustained operations. Having said that, I assess that we will see their best attempt at a surge for the next three months. We have the Constitutional Referendum 15 OCT, followed by the start of Saddam Hussein's trial on 19 OCT, coupled with the month of Ramadan (currently a week into that) (much more glorious to become a martyr during Ramadan), followed by the National elections on 15 DEC.

Our enemy is not stupid, and he knows that if the Iraqis adopt a constitution and elect a government in DEC, the insurgency has no chance of prevailing. The Iraqis have tasted freedom, and they like it.

Establishing a constitution and government in the next 75 days will build a firm foundation for an Iraqi form of democracy, and the insurgents will not be able to wrestle that away from the Iraqi people.

The bad guys also assess that if they can get the American public to become non-supportive of the war, they will be able to win because we will withdraw before we have established a democracy and trained the security forces to defend it. They have studied the Tet offensive, and assess they can lose tactically and operationally and win strategically as the NVA and VC did 37 years ago. Should be an interesting three months as they try to create an Iraqi Tet. We will smoke them tactically and operationally; just have to keep the strategic fight going in the right direction.

Recently the insurgents have been more ruthless in their attacks. I find a couple of techniques particularly loathsome: shooting a van full of families, placing the wounded members (women, children) on the road, and waiting for Coalition forces to come to their aid, detonating the IEDs when our guys arrive; and targeting the ambulances and hospitals that are taking care of civilian casualties from previous IED attacks. However, these attacks on innocent civilians are driving a deeper wedge between the populace and the insurgents vice intimidating the Iraqis to join the insurgency or stop supporting the Government.

Our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines continue to excel in all that they do. One of our MP battalions is an Army Reserve unit from New York City. They have a large number of NYC police officers in their ranks. Each day, they dedicate the day to one of the police officers or firemen who was killed in New York on 9-11. The battalion commander writes a letter to the next of kin, and informs them that his battalion is dedicating that day's operations to their father/husband/son, sends them a picture of the unit at Abu Ghraib, and assures them that their loved one's sacrifices are not forgotten. I was at Abu Ghraib on 11 SEP this year, and this MP battalion and the combat support hospital (also an USAR unit from the New York - Philly area) conducted a very moving remembrance ceremony, with numerous testimonials of Soldiers who were involved in the aftermath of the attacks on that day.

As I travel about Iraq and work with the Iraqi Government, I amazed at how completely Saddam Hussein destroyed the infrastructure here. By funneling all oil revenues into his personal gain, and that of his cronies, nothing was done to repair roads, develop sewer systems, provide potable water, or develop an electric grid capable of supporting the population. Once you get past the hundreds of thousands of people he murdered, tortured, raped, and maimed, his rape of the country's infrastructure is truly astounding. The damage we are working to repair did not come from our three week attack or the looting afterwards; it stems from decades of abuse and neglect.

Things have been picking up. Our task force had three KIAs and a number of wounded last week, which is high for our relatively small organization. I literally drove into a firefight last Monday coming back from Baghdad. It was interesting observing the Iraqi Army operate against the insurgents; not on a par with our guys, but definitely better than the enemy. We helped with the wounded, but the Iraqi Army had things well in hand, and we continued on our way after they finished things off. The Army and Police are getting better every day, and that causes the Iraqi people to gain confidence in their security forces.

Well, time to head to the hooch, clean my weapon, and hit the rack. My correspondence will probably be more intermittent than normal between now and the first of the year. The bad guys should present ample opportunity for us to kill them when they mass to try to create a Tet-like environment, but we have to keep the press honest so you all get a sense of what is really happening. Schools are opening, water lines are being run, electricity generation is increasing, roads are being repaired, and a democracy is being born. Exciting time to be in Iraq with so many great young Americans making a difference.

Have a great week. You know I will.

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