Thursday, July 24, 2003

Direct from Baghdad

Salam Pax, the Iraqi blogger from Baghdad, on Saddam's sons here, after Sanchez's press conference. Photos might convince Salam:

It is so easy, all it takes is to show us the friggin’ corpses. They do have them. Someone did see them and when asked why it wasn’t sown to the public they came up with the moral issues stuff. Habibi it didn’t bother you that all those Iraqis, Americans and British are being killed for dubious reasons, so why suddenly become so squeamish? Give the Images to Jazeera, moral issues have never stopped them from showing gruesome images, let them do your dirty work. All I care about is knowing, seeing, being 100% doubt free and that press conference proved nothing.

Then again, maybe we waited too long.

And people do need proof. The Americans just fucked up. Just like they waited too long after the fall of Baghdad to show the Iraqis they have things under control they have fucked up again by first making the decision to kill the idiots and then not give us clear proof of their death.

Salam on Fisk, the winger bete noir who seems to be doing his job:

At that press conference there was a gentleman who asked an extremely important question which was answered by Sanchez with “that is speculation. Next question.” I later found out that the man in front of me was Fisk and the question he asked which we all want to be answered was: why was the decision made to attack with a force that would have been capable of annihilating a city block? Why did they opt for killing them when they knew their importance as sources of information on all sorts of things and the wish all Iraqis have that they be put thru trial?

Fisk started the ball rolling, sanchez was asked the same question at least 5 times in different ways and with it the question of how to prove this to the Iraqi people. And what do we get? Meaningless militareses. Beyond disappointing.

What sort of wake up call do they need? You get people saying the Americans are slow, the Americans are not fulfilling their promises. Don’t fucking lose it, you are really stretching your luck, act act act. You came and gave people big hopes and you let them fall flat on their faces. I can’t believe that there has not been a single big celebration, I went to the office this morning and one of the photographers was asking “so where do you think they will be dancing in the streets?”. It doesn’t feel like there is a reason to celebrate.

NOTE: Can anyone really believe that the commander on the ground made the decision to kill Saddam's sons instead of capture them? (Instead of, say, letting the White House decide?) And if he did make the decision, why on earth did the rules of engagement allow him to do so?

UPDATE: Warporn, anyone?

UPDATE: The "commanders on the ground" meme
Regarding alert reader Skygod makes the following point:

To those ... folk who think "troops on the ground made the call".

In this day of SatNav and SatCom, decisions like that are cleared at the highest level, unless Senior Codpiece needs his beauty sleep, then, it is the next highest.

While the ground-pounder might have actually "made the call", it was not done without consulting the White House first.

Micro-management pervades the military, command and control at its finest >:-7

Been there, done that ...

Comments from other military readers?

Alert reader yankee doodle amplifies:
Lambert asked, "Can anyone really believe that the commander on the ground made the decision to kill Saddam's sons instead of capture them?"

I don't. I don't believe the local commander (and by "local commander" I mean the Commanding General, 101st Airborne) had the authority to make such a decision.

I have no doubt that locating Saddam Hussein and his sons is a national-level Priority Intelligence Requirement. Information that answers an national PIR has a very short reporting requirement, say, an hour. While analysts at 101 ABN and CENTCOM G2 might have passed comments on the acuracy of that tip reporting Uday and Qusay, the information went straight to the top. Fast. Very fast.

So killing them rather than capturing seems to have been a matter of policy at the White House. Interesting.