The Siege of Baghdad
By Glenn David Cox
06/13/07 “ICH” — — – It’s funny, in a sad sick almost perverse sort of way, but it seems the only people who listen to George Bush and take him seriously anymore is the insurgency. Several months after his royal hind ass made his now famous “bring em on” statement the insurgency issued their own proclamation saying in affect, we have brought it on do you have anything else you wish to say to us?
The on going political battle over Bushes insane surge, like Custer wishing for ten more men or Westmoreland’s asking for 500,000 more. It belies someone’s ignorance and inability to understand tactic’s and by thinking that what is needed is just more warm bodies to storm the enemy trenches they create a recipe for a blood bath and the certainty of defeat in Iraq.
The siege strategy was used during the crusades against the middle-aged castles of Acre the ultimate irony is the insurgencies battle plan was once used by Saladin the great, it was used by the Russians at Stalingrad and by McArthur in the South Pacific and by the Afghans against the Russians etc. You isolate your enemy and cut him off from resupply or make resupply so difficult that he has to use a disproportionate amount of troops to guaranty his supply lines.
The American forces in Baghdad’s Green zone have no airstrip and are fourteen miles from the airport through Baghdad’s winding ancient narrow roads. General Von Paulus in Stalingrad was promised the Lufftewaffe would keep him supplied but it was an idle boast. The Americans have a more powerful air force to be sure but also a greater dependence on fuel and commodities. The high tech war machine like all war machines is only as good as it’s supply and there is another possibility to consider.
Suspected Sunni insurgents bombed and badly damaged a span over the main north-south highway leading from Baghdad on Tuesday – the third bridge attack in as many days. The attack occurred 35 miles south of Baghdad and just six miles south of a bridge brought down on Sunday by what was believed to be a suicide truck bomber.
On Monday, a parked truck bomb destroyed a bridge carrying traffic over the Diyala River in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. There were no casualties, but vehicles were being forced to detour to a road running through insurgent controlled territory to reach important nearby cities.
Earlier in the month a bomb attack heavily damaged the Sarhart Bridge, a key crossing 90 miles north of the Capital
In March and April, three of Baghdad’s 13 bridges over the Tigris River were bombed. The attacks were blamed on Sunni insurgent or attempts to divide the city’s predominantly Shiite east bank from the mostly Sunni western side of the river but far more likely it was an attempt to negate the American strength in armored vehicles
Is the campaign against the bridges an attempt to lay siege to Baghdad? Or like Khe San a generation before an elaborate ruse to draw attention away prior to a larger coming Tet style offensive. In either case the surge has begun but it has been the insurgents who have surged rather than the US.
At Stalingrad the German panzers became almost useless in the narrow streets, this army like the Americans had been designed for lighting war not for urban street fighting. A thousand eyes kept the Russian army aware of every German move and allowed Russian snipers the choicest targets.
As the occupying power in Iraq the US is responsible for keeping the residents of Baghdad fed and watered. The millions of Baghdad will create just one more burden on US forces already overburdened. Thus the American surge is already defeated without the ability to move freely the already over stretched forces will become unable to support it’s outposts. They will fall one by one just like the firebases around Khe San and the crusaders castles in Lebanon.
At Khe San the US decided to use the massive force of B52 attacks but the focus had already shifted away from victory to self-defense. The enemy had captured something far more precious than a firebase they had taken away from the Americans the certainty of victory. As the North Vietnamese army slipped away and the US forces emerged from their bunkers to claim a hollow victory, a sucker holding the bag on a snipe hunt slowly realizing he has been had. To spend huge amounts of blood and treasure to defend a muddy hill top not for a victory but only to stave off defeat.
The American surge is the latest in an attempt to stave off defeat; the moral battle was lost long ago. The political battle a stalemate, between the forces of timid stupidity verses the forces of entrenched insanity. The greatest megalomaniac’s of the 20th century had drawn up battle plans for the conquest of England and one of the cornerstones of operation sea lion was in avoiding London. Even a madman knew a large metropolis would swallow an army, and as the tide turned at Stalingrad the mad man began to cashier his own generals.
For in his madness it could only be the generals who were not following his orders not the fatal flaw in his own tactics. The mad man brooded over his scale model of the new Berlin much like the current mad man broods over his scale model of what the Iraqi’s call Bush’s palace, the Vatican city sized embassy in Baghdad which will probably never be occupied or at best be used a last redoubt.
Von Paulus pleaded for permission to withdraw and was advised that where a German foot stood a German foot stayed. The politics of cut and run verses the personal pride of the leader, the madness of leadership who view military tactic’s as personal affronts. As Nathan Bedford Forrest succinctly observed “getting there firstest with the mostest.” In regards to our own current surge without the firstest the mostest becomes a mute point the mostest with the latest is a pointless exercise.
As the siege continues the US forces will become more dependent on helicopters for re-supply and will begin to lose them in greater numbers like Von Paulus they will assume a defensive position more interested in holding positions rather than taking. Will the US then call in B52 strikes on Baghdad to try and break the siege? Or will it try sending a reinforcing column to break the siege or will they finally admit the inevitable and withdraw?
A new and perhaps last chapter has begun, new in the names and places but as old as war itself. The military is well aware of the coming checkmate and are fired for their candor in saying so only the media and the madman soldier on. Fighting on not to achieve victory or even to forestall defeat but to sacrifice the blood of innocents on all sides but to preserve protect and defend the fragile ego of the leader.