-Nexus 6 Roy Batty, Blade Runner
This goes in a daylog because I recognize that much of it is a personal opinion that I'm just steamed about; it's not in response to anything, and I suspect I'm only going to get more ticked off as time goes on.
I'm really disheartened, although not surprised, at the terrible coverage of the war in Iraq that I, as an American, am receiving. I'm also becoming more and more coldly furious with what is becoming apparent (to me) is the completely self-absorbed and manipulative sabotage of the conduct of this campaign by the Administration - the same people who were so all-fired bent to have it in the first place. I'm not going to debate the rights or wrong of the war here; even if that is left aside, the damage which apparently has been done to the U.S. military's efforts in Iraq by Rumsfeld, and President Bush, is inexcusable.
Here's a quick rant I posted to the comments section of a really good war blog - The Agonist, at http://www.agonist.org. The gent writing it is making a herculean effort to simply provide timely and accurate information centralization. Sure, he slips occasionally, but always admits it when it happens.
The U.S. media is doing a terrible job of providing oversight for the American citizenry. There are a couple of reasons for this, IMHO. One, they have no clue how to cover a military conflict; they are obsessed with the technology and drunk on the dataflow, but have no plan or structure with which to prioritize, organize and flesh out the information they're receiving. There are some fairly telling bits coming through from their own embedded reporters - this should mean that if they're making it through the embed screen, they're fair game to ask the folks at the top of the pyramid back home. However, they're going almost completely unnoticed by the U.S. media. You wonder what the heck their news producers have been doing in the months leading up to this conflict other than spending money on badly-streaming videophones and rendering even-more-flashy templates for their coverage banners and technowarporn 'informational' weapons guides.
Some of the nastier ones I'd love to ask Rumsfeld and Abizaid (don't get me wrong, I like Abizaid, and I personally think he and his crew have been shafted by the administration):
1) What the heck were a unit of Marine LAVs doing bumbling around in the desert with so little screening or escort that they could be surprised and engaged by a 'brigade-sized' Iraqi unit? The LAV (the amphibious armored personnel carrier shown burnt out on CNN and others) is a pathetically thin-skinned vehicle. The only thing it's really of use for is crossing light water and having medium weapons (.50, 40mm) in a gunner's cupola. Medium to heavy MG goes through that thing the long way, and RPGs are (as we've seen) lethal. So how were they out there alone?
2) The reporter talking about the Apache strike on the Republican Guard seemed 'downbeat' and talked about the vicious AAA. My question: What are direct-fire slow-mover helos like Apaches doing engaging a dug-in armored enemy? The purpose of an attack helicopter is mobility, and it should be used to locate, pursue, herd, flank, and kill in the open. These things are horribly vulnerable to even smallarms in the right conditions (see Afghanistan!). Why wasn't this target prepared with airstrikes using JDAM, or even carpet bombs? Where were the Arty folks? We hear there was 'some ATACMS' and that there were airstrikes...but the Apaches got there first. Why?
3) Marines seem to be genuinely surprised that the Iraqis aren't surrendering. This bespeaks of a horrible misleading load of bull coming from their intel people at the near end, and the administration/CIA at the other. There was a point, early on, where Rumsfeld and cronies were telling General Tommy R. Franks (several months ago) that his request for a TOTAL force size of 250K was 'way out of line.' Ari Fleischer actually said that Franks wasn't invited to the next strategy meeting because "the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear." We hear Rumsfeld and crew have been turning down requests for additional combat power in theater, and perhaps even advancing schedules with the 'decapitation strike' to the point that the 4ID couldn't even make it onto dirt. Given the trouble we seem to be having with even the forces we have now, how can Mr. Rumsfeld and company explain their earlier intransigence, and more importantly, the apparent massive lag in introducing what appear to be needed reinforcements?
Thank you. My apologies. We now return you to your regularly scheduled daylog.