Category Archives: Iraq

Review of “Full Battle Rattle”

Full Battle Rattle would be better named The Battle of Medina Wasl. Medina Wasil is not a real town, but rather a simulation at Fort Irwin, “The World’s Premier Trainign Center for the World’s Finest Military.” Bush visited the National Training Center during the production of the film, but after the main filming, allowing clips of this event to be included:

The film concerns a two-week training simulation. The four ‘sides’ are townsfolk, a Blue Force, a Red Force, and controllers able to inject events. Some injected events (such as a Sunni-Shia wedding) go quietly, while another escalates to a massive Red Force assault. As the townsfolk repeat their roles, they develop close relationships, and this adds to the realism of the situation. Moments of levity, such as the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Chief of Police angling for a promotion are balanced with truly spooky scenes, such as a scene where Red Force “Anti-Iraqi Forces” (AIF) boredly play soccer in front of American troops. “It’s just fun to kill people and blow stuff up, you know,” an AIF terrorist says to the camera, simultaneously identifying the fun of playing the world’s most expensive game of laser skirmish and a motivation behind the true terrorists in Iraq.

The filmmaker’s clearly know their subject, and much is referenced through either brief camera shots or short comments. The resolution of a real drama — very real deportation hearings against the fake Deputy Chief of Police — is referenced by a single line. Likewise, a lingering shot shows a Blue Force officer reading Roger Trinquier’s Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency. The scale of the operation allows the Fog of War to control events, as seen after the situation escalates because of the inability of the Deputy Mayor to contact the commander of Blue Force.

Full Battle Rattle effectively captures two layers of events, the outcome of the fake Battle of Medina Wasil. Both of these levels are real, in a way. Google searches also reveal that soldier art (such as condemned by Matt Armstrong) on the National Training Center.

Similarly, a closing scene of the film shows the actors watching a laptop film of a (fake) beheading in Medina Wasl, immediately after viewing photos of (real) visits by the President to the town.

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Full Battle Rattle is the best film produced so far of the War in Iraq, and it’s set in the American West.

Strongly recommended.

Props to Obama on Iraq and Mortgages

Obama’s “residual force” is of course a way to keep us in Iraq for years (like McCain wanted)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., suggested a smaller contingent of 15,000 to 20,000 troops, and said she wanted to study Obama’s proposal. “I don’t know what the justification is for the presence of 50,000 troops in Iraq,” Pelosi told MSNBC on Wednesday.

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John P. Murtha , D-Pa., said only a complete withdrawal would suffice. “I don’t think we need to leave anybody there,” he said. “They have got to be on their own. Their presence alone makes them vulnerable.”

Likewise, Obama’s “upper income” limit on mortgage deducations should slow the reemergence of the high end of the home price bubble

The tax increases would … [reduce] the value of such longstanding deductions as mortgage interest … for people in the highest tax brackets. Households paying income taxes at the 33% and 35% rates can currently claim deductions at those rates. Under the Obama proposal, they could deduct only 28% of the value of those payments.

Now for Obama to let GM go bankrupt and stop throwing away money on F-22s

Iraq’s 2009 Provincial Elections: Consequences

Catholicgauze has his latest report from Iraq.

In the Sunni provinces, the Iraqi Islamic Party has gained ground at the expense of the Kurdish parties (the small Kurdish minority outvoted the Arab Sunnis in 2005). The only exception was in Anbar were the ruling IIP lost to an urban/tribal coalition.

The election results in Anbar have many wondering “what next?” Those in power with the IIP may have to face corruption charges for the graft that made them infamous. Hamas-al-Iraq and 1920s Revolutionary Brigades, two insurgent groups who hate al Qaeda more than the Coalition Forces but not by much, have long been allied with IIP to give them cover. The new ruling coalition is much more American-friendly. These nationalist insurgents must weigh their loyalty to the IIP against their loyalty to Anbar and its government which wants a peaceful withdrawal of American forces.

Read the whole thing.

Obama stiffs Zinni?

Weird:

Washington Times – EXCLUSIVE: Obama backs out on Iraq appointment
The Obama administration asked retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq but abruptly withdrew the appointment without explanation, Gen. Zinni said Tuesday.

Gen. Zinni, a former commander of Central Command, told The Washington Times that he had been offered the job by the White House national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, two weeks ago and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed the offer on Jan. 26.

“I started making arrangements,” Gen. Zinni said, but became concerned because he heard nothing further from the State Department or White House. He called Gen. Jones Monday night and was told that Christopher Hill, the outgoing assistant secretary of State for East Asia, was getting the job.

Chris Hill is an interesting choice (in the context of North Korea, at least), but I can’t think of a reason why Obama would offer, and then withdraw, the Iraqi Ambassadorship to Tony Zinni.

“… the people choose freedom.”

Catholicgauze, who has been working 16-18 hour days keeping serving our country in Iraq, blogging, and completing a thesis, has an impressive primer on the January 2009 Iraq elections.

Flag of Iraq 2008

From the piece:

The Sunni Arabs are divided between the urban, party-in-power Iraqi Islamic Party, the rural tribal-based MSI, and a whole lot of little parties that revolve around small but powerful cliques. There are rumors and allegations going back and forth of corruption, lies, and ties to the old regime. Rightly or wrongly everyone is accused of being too friendly too the Coalition, too friendly government in Baghdad, a former member of Al Qaeda or another insurgency group, or having the backing of Baath Party members in exile in Syria. Some probably are.

Read the whole thing.

Sunni Desert Oasis (and sidewalk storefront) Salesmen

Catholicgauze has an excellent and informative post on the merchants of Iraq. From comment greetings like “Hello my friend!” “Yes, yes, yes,” and, “Please come in,” Catholicgauze continues to describe merchants from the common Iraqi, traveling merchants, high-tech DVD hackers of the computer era, and high-margin Turks.

Read the whole thing, and also check out a related photo series from Getty Images.

IRAQ-SOCIETY

Obama as an inexperienced Commander

Nice put-down of Barack Obama from General Petreaus. I’m not really a fan of the military speaking out on political decisions (I bit my lip during the Fox Fallon affair, for instance), but if CENTCOM CinCs are going to talk to the media about it, there’s no reason that only Obama voters should have the right.

The Weekly Standard
Gen. Petraeus doesn’t think it’s time to declare victory…

I remember some hopeful Obama supporters back in the day, excited because Obama secretly really like Petraeus, respected the man, and would support what it takes to win.

That was a foolish belief. Obama would rather lose a war than lose an election. He has already declared Mission Accomplished. He’s proud of his “animated” meeting with Petraeus, and wasn’t ashamed of his disgraceful and lazy treatment of the General on 9/11/07.

I am happy that the General is now fighting back, though if Obama wins, this may cost him his job.