Category Archives: 1

Measuring the impact of 4GW on the home front

“In this 4th Generation War we are fighting, the American public is as much a target as Marines and Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi politicians.  While the Marines and Iraqis face bullets and bombs, the American public is targetted by GRPs.

“The Nielson organization uses Gross Ratings Points (GRPs) to measure the reach and frequency of a commercial.

“If each TV news story, newspaper article, etc., is thought of as a commercial about Iraq, the number of ratings points can be arrived at.

“Each report about Iraq can be generally categorized as negative or positive.  The terrorists prefer negative reports, the Coalition prefers positive reports…”

Click on the link for the full analysis. The author of the blog, Faces from the Front, is a former Marine combat cameraman, when he found out his old unit was deploying he arranged to be embedded with them.

Posted by Phil

Interested in Special Operations? Here’s the magazine for you

  I spent most of today painting my house, but now I’m relaxing enjoying a cold beer and googling, resulting in my discovery of a great magazine that I had never heard of before:

Special Operations Technology:
All kinds of great stuff here about all the services’ special ops guys and you can explore the archives too. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Royal Marine Colour Sergeant M.R. Tomlinson who is doing an exchange with the USMC and has spent time in Iraq. I didn’t know the Marines were engaged in this kind of riverine combat:
We deployed on the night of November 8, 2004 from our launch site and commenced our transit downriver toward Fallujah. Five SURCs and one Rigid Assault Craft (RAC) were used during this operation, with 53 Marines of SCCo spread between the craft as boat captains, coxswains, gunners, mechanics, my GCE of ten Marines and the medic. As with all other operations, the GCE would always be seated in the first two craft. Their task is mainly as a dismount section utilized for infantry tasking.

Within 20 minutes of launch we were at our limit of exploitation. The intelligence we had received, that insurgents were actively patrolling the riverbanks, proved accurate. No sooner had we arrived when the enemy engaged the front two boats from a range of 50 meters. A mix of HMG and small arms fire ripped overhead, some rounds striking the gunner’s Kevlar plates on the GPMG mounts, others passing directly through the open console of the craft. Immediately, we returned fire into the building and riverbank positions where the enemy had foolishly tried to take us on. The rear SURCS maneuvered forward and increased our return fire. The craft turned 180 degrees to enable the rear .50 caliber guns and MK19 to fully engage the attackers.

The craft then moved upstream 300 meters and established the FOB. Luckily we had survived what would prove to be the first of several ambushes.

The Fallujah offensive lasted approximately 19 days of which SCCo spent 15 days operating from the FOB. We took on multiple tasks and certainly proved an asset to the land force commanders. Each day we were subjected to mortar and rocket attacks, snipers, and heavy, medium and small arms fire.

Seven days into the operation, on November 15, at 1500 hours, we were tasked to search a compound for a suspected weapons cache in our TAOR. We decided to set a diversionary maneuver and patrol upriver past our intended target, with the intention of inserting the GCE further upstream. All was going according to plan, however, a well-prepared ambush lay in wait. The insurgents had actually dug in several fighting positions along the riverbank with good cover and concealment. Just as the two lead boats (with myself and GCE embarked) started to about turn, we came under sustained RPG, RPK and small arms fire. Rather than attempt to drive through the ambush the boats turned directly into the ambush. With GPMGs, MK19s, .50 cal and even the GAU 17 returning fire, we closed their position. No sooner had the two SURCs rammed into the riverbank than I disembarked with my two fire teams and the ever-enthusiastic Captain ‘W’ and began assaulting the fire positions. Over the next 48 minutes we were in contact, fire and maneuvering across irrigation fields, closing with and destroying the enemy.

During this time the SURCs and crew were taking RPG and small arms fire, yet they still managed to provide us invaluable fire support. It seems that a local village not 400 meters from our position was accommodating a large number of insurgents that had obviously fled from Fallujah. It soon became apparent that we were nearly surrounded, as we started taking fire from left and right and to the rear. We were greatly outnumbered and running low on ammunition; with an ever-increasing number of insurgents pressuring our position, we decided to call in the SURCs to conduct a hot extraction. We finally broke contact after 68 minutes. The only casualty was a lance corporal.

The Fallujah offensive continued for another eight days, during which time we continued to engage pockets of insurgents both from the boats and on the ground. We were also subjected to several attacks involving extremely close air burst mortar fire, sometimes falling 10 meters from the boats.…

Mortified right ignores message of Durbin speech

Borrowing a tactic from Dan, the Right has ceaselessly chastised Senator Durbin the past few days for comments likening Guantanamo to concentration camps. They’ve happily made so much noise about the syntax that the return value has been conveniently ignored. This is a masterful tactic. Focus on the text and not the message. Unlike Dan, however, they have no convenient excuse like “I’m drunk by 3pm” or “I have no concept of right or wrong” to cover for their maneuvering.

Former President Clinton was absolutely correct in his comments that we need to either clean up or we need to shut it down. When we watch the news, we’re horrified to see civilians and military personnel alike taken hostage and presumably harmed or tortured by enemy combatants. However, there’s no outrage that the very same is most likely going on outside the borders of our great Nation, just under our supervision? A lot of Americans were dismayed there was no Muslim outrage at the events occurring in the Middle East. Why would there be? There’s no Christian outrage that the detainees holy symbols are being desecrated, that their way of life in regard to women and sexuality is constantly being affronted, or that they’re being forced to listen to American pop music. While I would welcome strippers and would laugh at the misguided destruction of Bibles, as the message is what’s important to me, not the worthless paper it’s printed on, the music would definitely be torture.

Dan has expressed concern that these people “do not deserve honor or humanity or honesty.” What he’s failed to do is distance himself from moral relativism. He has determined that some of these uncharged “criminals” do not deserve to be treated well, or for that matter, not subjected to cruelty or torture. He says this because presumably they’re responsible for or have some connection to the deaths of Americans, or perhaps they’ve stolen his corporate card number and are charging phone sex. Either way, his hatred for enemy hostage-takers can be assumed. But to them, are the people they are capturing, torturing, and in some cases beheading on television not responsible for the deaths of THEIR people? I doubt these men are blowing themselves up in at military checkpoints because they’ve nothing better to do. They must perceive their way of life must be in jeopardy, and it is America that is responsible. While I do not lament the loss of their backwards cultures, their human rights violations, or their lack of respect for women, I do understand that these things they think are “normal” and that they do not like having their views changed forcibly.

I’m not justifying their actions. But I’m saying that if we want to level the playing field, we have to show the enemy that we’re treating prisoners with respect and that we are not harming them, we are not being destructive in regards to their beliefs, and that we have a legal and well-documented due process for them. The President hides behind comments like “processing these men would put our troops in danger” and other bait-and-switch tactics. “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.” What damage could determining these mens’ guilt or innocence do to our current operations in the Middle East? If Ackbar is found innocent, what is likely to happen? He returns to Iraq/Afghanistan and tells his comerades “be careful, the employ women in their ranks, who at any moment may begin to dance and remove their clothing to Britney Spears music… I saw it with my own eyes, and I may never sleep again… Oh, also, they’re looking for us in Pakistan now too.” What sensitive information could they give up? “They are searching for our leaders in the mountins along the border… Oh, you know? Yeah, I guess it’s hard to miss the tanks and helicopters and Hum-Vees, and that FoxNews van is quite colorful for a desert setting.”

While possibly shortsighted as to the quick rhetoric and shallow understanding of his detractors, Senator Durbin was exactly correct. The Nazis detained people they determined to be guilty without a trial of their peers, held them in conditions that were aversive to their needs and their faiths. The SS pulled people from the streets who were never heard from again and weren’t acknowledged as being prisoners of war. The Nazis decided that Jews were the enemy because of their actions that affronted their beliefs. They believed the Jews were responsible for the starving deaths and horrible economy of their people. They provided no evidence to the people of Germany that the Jews were criminals or had done anything wrong. Perhaps we could see a list of crimes the Guantanamo detainees are being held for? The hostage-taking and murder by suicide-bombing of our people is deplorable. The Arabs in this case are mimicking the Nazis quite well. But we are putting on a good show as well.

The far Left wants the draft

Dan and I argued mightily over Kerry’s purported support of the draft. Besting me on technicalities, as usual, Dan had nothing substantive to say in the arguments, so I’ll just say I won. Dan supports ill-planned and unnecessary wars, and therefore the draft, and I support James Bond, and therefore deserve a beer. That aside, the energetic Kos and many of his readers have been calling for a draft for the past few weeks. Continued coverage of the “Hollow Army” talks about declining enlistments, raising bonuses, preventing loss and turnover, etc. The readers rightly criticize the armchair hawks of the right, who blog comfortably from their deckchairs in Aruba, sipping margaritas and no doubt wondering how much of their ill-gotten campaign kickbacks it would take to purchase the buxom serving girl from her Saudi banker / resort owner masters.

This causes me to wonder, what is their motivation? Greater equality? Get more of the white affluent campaign-contributing Christians into battle to lighten the load of the minority poor that are taking the brunt of insurgent attacks? Or are they hoping the draft would be so unpopular as to unseat the current Administration? Hard to say at this stage.