September 16, 2004

Not a righteous shoot

That Al-Arabiya clip (part of it is in this BBC report) of the killing of their journalist on-camera by an Apache is telling. The exploding missile (presumably a Hellfire) goes off in the middle of a street, with dozens of people calmly standing around, without any warning whatsoever. There is no obvious shooting, and no indication of weapons in or gunfire coming from the crowd.

Yes, the Bradley (abandoned by its wounded crew after damaged by a car bomb) probably had to be destroyed if it could not be recovered, just to deny the recovery of any remaining ammunition and weapons inside. But to do it in this way, killing over a dozen civilians without any warning, was callous and inhumane.

An army that expected to win this war would have announced charges against the pilot, rather than defending his actions, one suspects. An army that expected to win that neighborhood back someday would certainly have made clear Rules of Engagement that prohibited denial-of-equipment attacks in the middle of a crowded, peaceful street. But I really don't believe this is an army that expects or is likely to win out, this time. This increasingly feels like those on the ground have concluded they're just punching the clock until Bush wins, so that victory can be declared and they can come home. (Hopefully not too many more will die before that happens, or there won't be too many intervening attempts to reinforce failure.) So they execute the orders of the moment (destroy the Bradley, using much suppressive fire as you think you need to preserve lives) without worrying too much about the long-term.

If I were an Iraqi insurgent, I'd be buoyed by this: it's the Americans' telltale lack of any concern for what will happen when they control these neighborhoods again... because at this point they don't ever expect to... that is a tell-tale sign of their mental retreat. Historically, physical retreat generally follows, sooner or later.

Posted by BruceR at 07:48 PM

Attack timing

My thesis: the most propitious time for any genuine Iraqi nationalists and other local anti-American factions to attack American forces in Iraq is before the U.S. election, to try and knock Bush out. The most propitious time for any major attack from Al Qaeda or other transnational Islamist groups is AFTER a Bush/Kerry victory, to prompt a continued policy of American overreach in the Middle East.

I wouldn't be too concerned about flying a plane or visiting a landmark this autumn. This Christmas, on the other hand...

UPDATE: Case in point -- quoth the terrorists: "[Mr. Bush,] we are not going to find a bigger idiot than you."

Posted by BruceR at 03:02 PM

Okay, this was funny

"Right now, at a Kinko's in Abilene, TX, a $5.75 an hour counter clerk named Donna is covering the phones, answering in a courteous and professional manner the barrage of reporters' questions unrelated to Velo binding or glossy prints. But what's she's thinking is..."
--Protein Wisdom. Read the whole thing.

Posted by BruceR at 01:55 PM