April 09, 2004


A couple highlights from the NY Times after-action on the Fallujah ambush, which finally starts to answer some of the questions that needed answering:

"Blackwater employs some 450 "independent contractors" in Iraq to protect Mr. Bremer, guard five regional buildings used by the occupation forces and provide security for supply convoys."

So that's what they do; good to know. And on the ambush itself:

The drivers and other witnesses, he said, described "a classic, well-planned vehicle ambush" in which the five-vehicle convoy was suddenly blocked from the front and the rear by vehicles.

"The ICDC blocked the road, and the ambush happened," he said, referring to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, a force trained by the United States to guard roads and utilities and to fight insurgents. The assailants first "opened up at point-blank range" on the rear car in the convoy, he said, then fired on the lead vehicle.

The Times doesn't explicitly say it, but the implication is clear: they trapped them all, and then let the Iraqis go. (Remember, this is allegedly the same Fallujah ICDC who Reynolds and Sullivan and many others praised last month as the new minutemen, too.)

A couple other things are clarified now:

*The three flatbed trucks being guarded were for moving kitchen equipment, presumably for Regency Hoteliers. No food involved.

*The convoy met their "escorts" at the intersection of Highways 10 and 1, but the ambush itself occurred deeper inside the city proper.

In other news, the Marines have so far killed 1 out of every 1000 Fallujans, but admit they have yet to move into the city's residential areas AT ALL, and can't secure the areas they have moved into. From the Post story: "They shoot at us and fall back, and we don't have enough men to seal the area they fall back to," said Lt. Andrew Terrell, 24, who was impatiently waiting to be treated for a shrapnel wound so the troops in his Humvee could return to action.

A Marine officer is quoted saying only 20% of the population is actually hostile. That works out to something over 50,000 people. So, it's 2,000 Marines against 50,000 resisters. Oh, yeah, and the Iraqi police are pretty much all on the resisters' side. This one could take a while.

In other overnight Iraq news, the Italians have "temporarily" withdrawn from Nasiriyah, and a Canadian aid worker has been taken hostage.

Posted by BruceR at 01:06 AM