January 7, 2016

Ramadi, retaken... in ruins.

"The retaking of Ramadi by Iraqi security forces last week has been hailed as a major blow to the Islamic State and as a vindication of the Obama administration’s strategy to fight the group by backing local ground forces with intensive airstrikes. But the widespread destruction of Ramadi bears testament to the tremendous costs of dislodging a group that stitches itself into the urban fabric of communities it seizes by occupying homes, digging tunnels and laying extensive explosives...."

42 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

ever see pictures of Stalingrad afterwards?

http://topwar.ru/uploads/posts/2012-09/1347962166_08.jpg

MOUT: Military operations in urban terrain are the most costly in terms of time, lives and treasure. The defender has huge advantages, the more so if there are civilians present.

Sebastian said...

"But the widespread destruction of Ramadi bears testament to the tremendous costs of dislodging a group." Thanks, O. Nobel Peace Prize winner showing the way: scorch the earth. Bonus: showing that the "anti-war" left doesn't care a bit about actual war, death, and destruction. No Western Prog has taken to the streets to protest what happened in and to Ramadi or Raqqa.

EDH said...

What strikes me about the commenters at the NYT is how ignorant and full of Democrat talking points they are that it's because of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, rather than Obama's withdrawal.

Had Saddam fallen to Bill Clinton's sanctions and bombing, or for that matter John Kerry's masterful diplomacy, how would that have prevented the rise of ISIS?

Big Mike said...

In the end it would have been cheaper -- in lives, in money spent, in money that will have to be spent to rebuild the city -- to stop ISIS before they took the city. But that would have required leading from in front.

Monkeyboy said...

I was in Ramadi after the surge in '08 as a reservist working with State doing reconstruction.

There was still danger of course but did send our interpreter out for street Schwarma a couple of times and I got to know a few of the important locals helping them build stuff, so it was heartbreaking to know our government abandoned them to the tender mercies of ISIL.
I wonder how many of them survived.

Hagar said...

The trouble is that Obama first turned Iraq over to Iran.
Ths Iraq is not the Iraq that was.

eric said...

You know, you never have to retake land if you don't abandon it in the first place.

Maybe there is a good reason why we left troops in Germany and south Korea for all those years.

YoungHegelian said...

Urban warfare is hard & brutal, and there's no way around it. It inflicts heavy casualties on both civilians & military, & destroys the city where the battle takes place.

100,000 Filipino civilians died in the Battle of Manila, one of the few urban battles of the Pacific Campaign. And, whatever was left of Ramadi probably looked like downtown Manhattan compared to what was left of Caen after the Germans, Canadians, British, & Americans were done with it.

Curious George said...

Heckuva job Barry.

rcpjr said...

This reminds me of the famous words uttered by an American soldier after the French residents of Saint-Lô returned to find their town completely destroyed: "We sure liberated the hell out of that place." It appears that when a murderous death cult is allowed to set up shop in your town, total destruction eventually ensues.

It's nice of the Times to note this, but funny how Obama and his disastrous strategy are not mentioned at all. They use euphemisms instead, such as "The United States-led coalition..." In success, it's "Obama got bin Laden!!!!"; in failure, it's "The Coalition's questionable strategy of relying on air power..." Funny that, no? Go and Google how the Times covered Iraq in '05 and '06 and you'll see their articles littered with "Bush's failed strategy...", "Bush's war...", "Bush's disastrous policy...", etc.

Ah, it's be good to be a Democrat...

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

But their culture is to trash other cultures. You must respect that, if you are a multiculturist.

David said...

"Col. Steven H. Warren, a Pentagon spokesman in Iraq, said, “One hundred percent of this is on ISIL because no one would be dropping any bombs if ISIL hadn’t gone in there.”

But the heavy dependence on air power also clearly played a role. The coalition has launched more than 630 airstrikes in the area since July, and General Asadi said his counterterrorism force advanced only once the coalition had cleared the way."

Duh. The alternative is sending in troops without air and heavy artillery support so they can be slaughtered during the attacks. Or long term starvation. (Read about the siege of Vicksburg during the American Civil War, where the attacking Union had the same problem and the city and its citizens suffered the same results.)

The longer you wait to confront a powerful threat, the more costly it is to defeat it (if you defeat it.) In our case the Commander in Chief did not even recognize the power of the threat. Obama's JV Team comment is one of the most revealing and pathetic things about his entire Presidency.

David Begley said...

ISIS wants to take us back to the 700's and doing a good job of it. But did Mohammed know how to use Twitter?

Mohammed: Social Media Hipster.

mccullough said...

Ramadi is 90% Sunni in a country that is 65% Shia whose military and government ware run by Shia. Without US or UN forces to protect these Sunni from the Shia, ISIS looks like a good option.

Bobby said...

And it looks like the Administration is nominating SOCOM Commander Gen. Joe Votel, former commander of JSOC and (before that) the 75th Ranger Regiment, to take over at CENTCOM.

Meeeea said...

Ugh, had to look at the NYT comments. Peppered with it's "Booooshes" fault. Then there's this fool afraid of something 2500mi away from him:
"ProgressiveMinded FL 11 minutes ago
Ramadi is the apocalyptic extreme of chaotic, violent anarchy.

The early-stage extreme is happening in Oregon, led by the Bundy clan and their supporting forces of gun-wielding, anarchistic criminals."

tim maguire said...

The Obama strategy isn't wrong because it's unlikely to succeed, it's wrong because it's unlikely to succeed quickly enough to save the minorities being ethnically cleansed or the world treasures being dynamited. Every day that ISIS continues to exist, there's just a little less point in defeating them at all.

traditionalguy said...

The Religion of Peace strikes again.

traditionalguy said...

In the final days of Dugout Doug's retaking of Manila from Japs he forbid air strikes and artillery because it would destroy the Coty and civilians. After weeks of USArmy casualties the local commanders rebelled and used artillery. MacArthur did not say anything, so Manila was leveled by artillery... But no airstrikes were ever permitted. Three million civilians were slaughtered. Japs were as bad as it ever got.

n.n said...

Obama's premature evacuation and abandonment of Iraqis was a calculated, political strategy with predictable consequences for human lives and environmental stability.

buwaya said...

"100,000 Filipino civilians died in the Battle of Manila"

Every single member of my family was a survivor of that, and we kids grew up on the ruins, literally the houses rebuilt on the foundations of the old burned homes. When I was a kid, decades later, we still had fields of ruins to play in. Our schools had the stigmata that we could feel, the bulletholes, the convent wall where you could tell the spot where the US tank broke through, the playground where the sisters had dug bomb shelters, the plaque by our neighbors gate commemorating the massacre of the old mans wife and kids. Our other neighbors house was where the Japs murdered a Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, his family and tenants, German-Jewish refugees. Manila is full of ghosts.

buwaya said...

" Three million civilians were slaughtered. "

Not in Manila. There were at most 1 million people in the city at the time. Most escaped, or survived, in spite of the Japs. Else I wouldn't be writing here.

traditionalguy said...

Three million Philippine civilians was the number estimated killed in the entire campaign to retake the Philippines. Why MacArthur let Emperor Hirohito stay alive is the big mystery. American pilot prisoners were still being hacked to death by swords of his honorable Army two weeks after the war lord and Sun god said he surrendered to escape A-bombs coming his way.

Bobby said...

traditionalguy,

"Why MacArthur let Emperor Hirohito stay alive is the big mystery."

It's no mystery at all. MacArthur stated numerous times that he believed (correctly or incorrectly) that the Emperor's presence and participation in the post-conflict political process as a symbolic figure would do a great deal to alleviate any potential opposition from the former regime elements specifically and the traditionalist society generally. MacArthur believed that to depose (much less execute) the Emperor or to put the royal family wholly on trial would only invite attacks against the legitimacy of the new order that he believed would be required to ensure enduring security in Japan. Simply put, MacArthur didn't want to have a bunch of disgruntled Japanese fanatics without any skin in the game and no incentive to do anything other than mess up progress.

Bremer shared your view with the old Baathist Army in Iraq, and took the opposite approach.

Gahrie said...

Why MacArthur let Emperor Hirohito stay alive is the big mystery

Hirohito had nothing to do with Japanese war crimes, or Japan's conduct during the war. He was a ceremonial figure head.

If you are looking for a villain, it was an ideology, not a person. According to Bushido, those pilots deserved to die.

buwaya said...

Three million is about the highest end of the entire Philippine Islands death rate of the Japanese invasion, occupation, and liberation. Most estimates are lower, in the range of 1 million.

Most are based on census figures. The entire Philippine population was only about 17 million in 1941.

james conrad said...

It's a good day that Ramadi was taken from ISIS, no matter the cost. The real test will come in how the Iraq govt administers now, if they persecute the sunni arabs which was a contributing factor in ISIS invasion in the first place, this will all be for nothing. If the Iraqi govt oppresses the population as before, there will be another invasion, perhaps by a different group but the game will remain the same.

mccullough said...

Gahrie,

Hirihito was more than a figurehead and hanging him would have been more than just. But he was spared for the reasons given above because our leaders back then were practical men and not arrogant, incompetent fools. We put Tojo down, who was also responsible and deserved to hang as well.

Jeff Teal said...

War is hell.It is the last thing that a sane man wants.Except that what goes on without war can be worse.The American people expect our leaders to treat these things with seriousness.Onama and HRC did not.Sow the wind Reap the whirlwind.

LarsPorsena said...

Can't wait for the Battle of Mosul. Three times the size; three times the fun.

traditionalguy said...

Hirohito was scum trash. He wanted the war of conquest by the Master race he called Nippon. He urged it, started it and rewarded his Military for really bad atrocities showing their superiority over other races not descended from Nippon. The Japs had never lost a war before before, and after modernizing they destroyed the Russian Navy in an easy conquest. He became TR's favorite warrior racist aside from the Teutonics.

Hirohito then decided he would capture the Asian world over to Egypt in one direction and over to California in the other direction and live off his personal slaves forever. He did not count on fighting a Navy run by Earnest King.

mccullough said...

Iraq doesn't have what can be called a government. If it did, they wouldn't have this level of sectarian violence. The Sunni in this city who informed ISIS as to which of their neighbors were Shia, Yazidi, and Christian so that they could be killed or raped and enslaved will not fare well with the Shia government.

ISIS is Iran's problem, and to an extent Saudi Arabia's problem since ISIS doesn't care for the royal family and figures they can team up with the Wahhabists in the Kingdom after they behead all the royals.

I'd rather live with Aztecs and Nazis than these people. They are beyond fucking crazy with their ideology.

Jason said...

I spent most of a year running around Ar Ramadi. A lot of good friends shed their blood in that city. And a lot of good Iraqis, as well, alongside us.

Obama pissed it away.

I'll never get over that.

n.n said...

In the absence of a dictator, the Iraqis needed a neutral actor to establish stability and mediate between the diverse factions. And, apparently, to prevent the resurgence of a regional terrorist state. Instead, their presumed friends and allies abandoned them after a decade of positive progress.

Paul said...

In ruins? Well they had to destroy it in order to save it.

Pity.. if we had not cut and ran, as out 'dear leader' decided to do, none of this would have happened.

Hope for change in 2016.

Birkel said...

Jason,
Thank you for your service to this country. I appreciate that you will never get over Obama's failures. I fear the country may never recover from the folly of electing Obama.

But I am always heartened by the decency of Americans. And though much, much more blood will be shed to repel the forces arrayed against modernity, it is the other side that will suffer the greatest casualties. I pray that the reckoning comes soon.

Drago said...

Bobby: "It's no mystery at all. MacArthur stated numerous times that he believed (correctly or incorrectly) that the Emperor's presence and participation in the post-conflict political process as a symbolic figure would do a great deal to alleviate any potential opposition from the former regime elements specifically and the traditionalist society generally"

Quite true.

Not only did MacArthur not kill, imprison or prosecute the Emperor, he co-opted him.

Brilliantly I might add.

Jay Vogt said...

Ahh, the old "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" meme. I remember it well.

Funny, when Peter Arnett used it all those years ago, it had a certain. . . oh, I don't know. . . . smug, knowing, ironic condescension quality to it.

Good times. . . .

Rusty said...

Jason said...
I spent most of a year running around Ar Ramadi. A lot of good friends shed their blood in that city. And a lot of good Iraqis, as well, alongside us.

Obama pissed it away.

I'll never get over that.

It's just Iraq. We had no business being over there and the Iraqis had no business expecting a democracy. They don't deserve one. Or so I'm told.


BTW. Thank you.

Alex said...

How many cities were in ruins at the end of WW2? Too many to count. That's the cost of brutal war that was brought about by appeasement.

Alex said...

Jeff Teal said...
War is hell.It is the last thing that a sane man wants.Except that what goes on without war can be worse.The American people expect our leaders to treat these things with seriousness.Onama and HRC did not.Sow the wind Reap the whirlwind.

1/7/16, 3:38 PM


Look it's the 101st Keyboard Warriors at it again! Sending other peoples' young men to their deaths in the Middle East ma!

Jason said...

Actually, Alex, I went myself, you little bitch.