May 19, 2015

How ISIS used a sandstorm.

"The sandstorm delayed American warplanes and kept them from launching airstrikes to help the Iraqi forces, as the Islamic State fighters evidently anticipated."
The fighters used the time to carry out a series of car bombings followed by a wave of ground attacks in and around the city that eventually overwhelmed the American-backed Iraqi forces.

Once the storm subsided, Islamic State and Iraqi forces were intermingled in heavy combat in many areas, making it difficult for allied pilots to distinguish friend or foe, the officials said. By that point, the militants had gained an operational momentum that could not be reversed....
IN THE COMMENTS: SJ said: "It's hard to fight a war without putting soldiers on the ground in the area. Airplanes are useful, but they can't win a war by themselves." Surfed said: "Right out of the 1965 operational playbook of North Vietnamese General Vo Giap. Get close and intermingle in combat - it negates America's strengths in airpower and artillery. One place - Ia Drang Valley."

63 comments:

SJ said...

It's hard to fight a war without putting soldiers on the ground in the area.

Airplanes are useful, but they can't win a war by themselves.

damikesc said...

I wonder if leaving Libya to turn into what it did was a good idea.

If only somebody who helped make that decision was running for President so the question could be asked of them...

surfed said...

Right out of the 1965 operational playbook of North Vietnamese General Vo Giap. Get close and intermingle in combat - it negates America's strengths in airpower and artillery. One place - la Drang Valley.

Tibore said...

Gaining is not keeping. And if there's any group that can wear out a welcome, it's the DAESH.

Amichel said...

Iraq is only a geographical expression. Any remnants of cultural, political, or economic unity are an illusion. The smart money would be on arming the Kurds and letting the Iranians have their Shiite rump state in the SE.

Paul said...

Germany used a persistent fog to launch the Battle of the Bulge campaign.

But still folks, did the sand storm last a week? Did our general know there was such a thing as a sand storm?

dbp said...

I would not worry, ISIS is a JV team.

damikesc said...

I would not worry, ISIS is a JV team.

Which should cause concern that nobody seems able to handle them long-term.

Imagine if they hit Varsity level.

Michael K said...

"Get close and intermingle in combat "

It was the "belt buckle" strategy. The other thing missing is forward air controllers because of Obama's "no combat forces" rule.

The narrative even if it loses the war. LBJ's strategy 50 years later,

PB said...

Barack Hussein Obama = Ngo Dinh Diem

MayBee said...

In the meantime, the press is fascinated by how Republican candidates *would have* voted regarding Iraq in 2003.

Nobody is asking Obama what we're doing right now.

Hagar said...

I don't think so.
I am beginning to think that Obama's Middle East policies are succeeding just fine. The problem is that where he is going is not where the rest of us wish him to go.

Tank said...

We armed the Iraqi army and trained them for ten years. When attacked by a smaller force, they ran away.

How many more years should we "train" them? How much money should we throw at them? Ground forces? Anyone think America wants to send 50,000 troops in? How about another 2,000 - 5,000 dead American boys and 50,000 American boys with their arms shot off?

Rusty said...

They might be Isalamic fundamentalists but they're not stupid.

Tank @ 7:46

Unfortunately, if they are ever going to be defeated, somebody is going to have to face them toe to toe.

Tank said...

@Rusty

They are 3,000 miles and an ocean away. Why should that somebody be us? Aren't there other countries closer to the Middle East with a greater interest? Let them send their boys in to fight.

MayBee said...

They are 3,000 miles and an ocean away. Why should that somebody be us? Aren't there other countries closer to the Middle East with a greater interest? Let them send their boys in to fight.

Yeah, I don't think it has to be our fight, but then I wish we didn't kind of say it was our fight.

Obama thought he had found a whole new way of doing things, by militarily taking out leaders and then letting the country take care of itself. It turns out not to have been a great plan. Either shut up and stop talking tough, or do keep talking and do something.

But he's leading foreign policy- and war- like a candle in the wind.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Hagar said...

The problem is that where he is going is not where the rest of us wish him to go.

To Hell?

Hagar said...

Perhaps better phrased:
Where he is taking us is not a place we wish to go to.

Bobby said...

Tank,

I'm not disputing that Daesh have the more committed warriors on their side and I don't have the answers on what to do going forward, but I think part of the problem is that we watched as Maliki's government refused to integrate the Sunni tribal forces into the Iraqi security structure and replaced competent Iraqi Army commanders with Maliki loyalists from particular branches of the Al-Dawa party (sometimes this is reported as Maliki alienating the Sunnis and Kurds, but that's incomplete- Maliki was perhaps even more aggressive about purging ISCI and Sadrist Shiite factions from the senior military leadership). So you wound up with some poor leadership in some less committed forces, and you're going to have a hard time mounting a defense.

But, like I said, not sure what the plan is going forward. There doesn't appear to be any American political will to re-commit largescale American troops. I suppose one of the Republican Presidential candidates could come out and endorse that, but I think they're more likely to just say things like "I would destroy ISIS wherever they are" and leave out the details... I think Perry is the notable exception, so far.

Hagar said...

Obama has destroyed the old world.
The next president, whoever it might be, will face a new set of problems to be managed. Restoring the previous order will not be an option.
And it is going to be a much more dangerous world - not just in the Middle East, but everywhere.

gerry said...

How ISIS used a sandstorm.

"Sandstorm" is the perfect metaphor for the disastrous Obama Middle east policies that have aided ISIS/ISIL in its takeover of Iraq and created a nuclear arms race between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hillary's Libya and Obama's "leading from behind" aided ISIS ascendancy as well. It's how they learned that Obama won't do anything, really, in reaction to anything ISIS does.

Oh, well, let's talk about what was done twelve years ago as if Obama and Hillary have had no responsibility for the disaster looming imminently. IT'S BUSH'S FAULT!!!!

Sebastian said...

ISIS is JV.

JV beats rec.

lgv said...

"It's hard to fight a war without putting soldiers on the ground in the area.

Airplanes are useful, but they can't win a war by themselves."

True that. But, that's all we can do. This administration long ago through out any ground troop option by the total withdrawal of infrastructure to support a ground attack. One simply can't send 5,000 troops to go fight by next week. A responsive plan with troops would be limited to a force so small as to be ineffective. The reason we just doing air support is because that's all we CAN do.

This is the result of a complete pullout. If we had left some level of troops there, bringing in a larger force would be feasible. Air is all we got. Obama is now forced to make a deal with Iran in order to protect Iraq. What a great strategy, assuming that ISIS is just a JV team.

The purpose of a JV team is to get better and reach varsity level. They are now on the varsity level.

tim in vermont said...

The Old World consisted of propping up brutal dictators who "knew how to deal" with threats like ISIS. We should admit to ourselves that it could never last. Bush destroyed that order when he took on Saddam Hussein in hopes of bringing forth a better world on the model we used to bring Eastern Europe out of communist slavery. We still have troops keeping that peace. Obama has walked away to enjoy the flames from a distance.

If only there was a God, he would have put in His plan a path to peace and justice.

EDH said...

"The sandstorm delayed American warplanes and kept them from launching airstrikes to help the Iraqi forces, as the Islamic State fighters evidently anticipated."

But why couldn't they "rain" on ISIS's victory parade?

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2015/05/18/huge-isis-convoy-parades-out-in-the-open-in-west-anbar-province-in-iraq-providing-target-rich-environment-for-coalition/

JSD said...

In the age of asymmetrical warfare, you can never defeat the enemy. Before the information age, the losing side was homeless, hungry and alone. For 1945 Germany or Japan, capitulation was the only option. Today, the losing side is rendered homeless and hungry but never alone. With cell phones and internet, the idea never dies. It is depressing that inventors of the information age cannot grasp this

exhelodrvr1 said...

There have been opportunities to use airpower effectively against ISIS. The problem is that we haven't taken advantage of them. A combination of unwillingness of the political leadership to make a decision, and the ridiculous ROE that we hamstring ourselves with. And now here we are.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It was in "Mudd's Women" that Eve showed her resourcefulness by using a sandstorm to clean the pots and pans.

Afterwards, she turned back into a hottie, even though the Venus drug she took was a placebo.

Symbolism.

machine said...

way to go "W"!

Coupe said...

The failure concerns a lack of intelligence on the enemy forces.

It takes logistics to prepare for a battle. You have to move ammunition, food, and water to sustain the battle.

If you can't find the Lines of Communication you are going to have a capable enemy, and you are likely to suffer a defeat.

It appears that ISIS is very good at what they do, and this can be attributed to leadership by professional soldiers. This is not a rag-tag Army, and those that think of them as Apache Savages with rifles, are going to have a bad day.

MayBee said...

Coupe:
It appears that ISIS is very good at what they do, and this can be attributed to leadership by professional soldiers. This is not a rag-tag Army, and those that think of them as Apache Savages with rifles, are going to have a bad day.

Yeah, I often think we aren't hearing the true story of ISIS. They have been incredibly strategically smart.
They broke into banks, broke into weapons depots, and took control of oil fields.
Someone who knows what they are doing is leading them. They aren't just a bunch of losers from the UK.

(I do chuckle at Fareed Zacharia running interference for the Whitehouse with his CNN special "Blindsided" about the unexpected rise of ISIS)

Ambrose said...

Has anyone blamed "climate change" for the ferocity of that particular sandstorm yet?

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PackerBronco said...

Maybe someone has been reading "Dune", especially the chapter where Muad'Dib attacks the imperial palace under the cover of a sandstorm.

mikee said...

Yeah, but Muad'Dib also had 300meter long giant sandworms and nukes to breach the shield wall of mountains. Plus the novel technology of weapons that fired upon a spoken word.

ISIS, now in control of the city, seem a ready target for air power. Will any American dare actually kill them?

J. Farmer said...

So what do people here think that the United States can do to defeat ISIS? What's the strategy for the US to involve itself in this pointless war? And why does nobody seem too exercised about the US' complete failure in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan?

tim in vermont said...

US' complete failure in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan?

First we counsel surrender and withdrawal, then we yammer about about failure of the previous administration.

How can you get your pants on in the morning with so little self-awareness?

Coupe said...

J. Farmer said...So what do people here think that the United States can do to defeat ISIS?

If you go back and read how Ibn Saud created Saudi Arabia, you will see that ISIS is following the same teachings, the same battle plan.

The solution is not to defeat ISIS, it is to align with them. The end-game is oil, and like the Saudi's we need the oil more than a democracy or a republic.

Aligning Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey is in the best interests of the west. This has to be the buffer between the Iran and Israel.

We should be arming ISIS, and we should remove Turkey from NATO.

Hagar said...

The first thing the new president will have to consider is who are our friends and who our enemies.
Obama has made a practice of treating our previous allies as enemies and our previous enemies as allies, and, of course, this has caused reactions on their sides.

I am not at all sure that we should be fighting ISIS as we now do, when Iraq has become a dependency of Iran.

I think we need to be fighting both of them, but in different ways.

It may be that we need to look at taking down the House of Saud, though Arabia is a vital link in "the Southern Alliance."

The new president and secretary of state are going to have a lot to think about the world over.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Though I do suspect that a - if not the - major reason we have not had a "9/11 style attack" in the homeland since 2001 is that the Saudi think it would be a poor idea while the U.S. is needed to fight Iran.

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@tim in vermont:

"First we counsel surrender and withdrawal, then we yammer about about failure of the previous administration.

How can you get your pants on in the morning with so little self-awareness?"

I am talking about the failures of this administration and the previous administration. I don't give a shit about party politics or democrats or republicans. Obama's surge strategy in Afghanistan was always an idiotic joke, and the entire endeavor in Afghanistan was always a pointless waste of time.

So, would you like to actually tell us how, with all of your self-awareness, we can defeat the Taliban and ISIS?

TCR James said...

"We knew the Americans were savages, and that they would rape women and boys, kill everything that moved, and destroy the forests..."

What North VietNamese general said that, Coupe? I'm curious.

surfed said...

Where's Rick Rescorla when you need him?

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rusty said...

Tank said...
@Rusty

They are 3,000 miles and an ocean away. Why should that somebody be us? Aren't there other countries closer to the Middle East with a greater interest? Let them send their boys in to fight.


No sir. Not with this administration.

Rusty said...

The solution is not to defeat ISIS, it is to align with them. The end-game is oil, and like the Saudi's we need the oil more than a democracy or a republic.


No it isn't. The motivation is the same at the gates of Ramadi as it was at the gate of Vienna.

Rusty said...

J. Farmer said...
So what do people here think that the United States can do to defeat ISIS? What's the strategy for the US to involve itself in this pointless war? And why does nobody seem too exercised about the US' complete failure in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan?


Get rid of the State Department.

Gahrie said...

So what do people here think that the United States can do to defeat ISIS?

Proclaim a crusade. Form volunteer units similar to the Rough Riders, or Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Arm them and send them to the Middle east so that they can kill enough Muslims, and destroy enough infrastructure to give us a generation or two of peace.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

"Form volunteer units similar to the Rough Riders, or Abraham Lincoln Brigade."

Any interest in signing up?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Tank said...
@Rusty

They are 3,000 miles and an ocean away. Why should that somebody be us? Aren't there other countries closer to the Middle East with a greater interest? Let them send their boys in to fight.


9/10 thinking after 9/11.

It's not like they could find a way to kill 3000 of our citizens all because their ideology says we are the great Satan and deserving of death. Surely they'll attack the closer targets first, and we'll have 100's of years to prepare for them.

In 2008, W's last year in office, there were 314 US Military deaths in Iraq. In 2009, Obama's first year in office, there were 149 US Military deaths in Iraq.

In 2010, that was cut down to 60 and in 2011, that was 54.

The way you avoid this is through a Korea or Germany type of action. I don't care for John McCain, but he was right during the campaign. You stay for 100 years if that's what it takes.

But we left. And because we left, we lost the peace. And now people are being slaughtered in the 100's and in the 1000's.

But hey, Tank, you can take comfort that it's not American people who are being slaughtered, yet. It's those other, less valuable people, in the world.

Anonymous said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Gahrie:

"Form volunteer units similar to the Rough Riders, or Abraham Lincoln Brigade."

Any interest in signing up?


I know some guys who'd sign up.

Start the GoFundMe, I'll donate.

Rich Rostrom said...

"The sandstorm delayed American warplanes and kept them from launching airstrikes to help the Iraqi forces, as the Islamic State fighters evidently anticipated."

In 1944 the Germans launched the Battle of the Bulge during an overcast period.

The clouds lasted 10 days... after which they died.

ISIS may have gained a momentary advantage, but this stratagem will not be effective in the long term.

J. Farmer said...

@eric:

"But hey, Tank, you can take comfort that it's not American people who are being slaughtered, yet. It's those other, less valuable people, in the world."

Oh, give me a fucking break. Your phony humanitarianism makes me want to puke. More than a million people have died in internceicine warfare in central Africa during your lifetime. Do you want US military policing that civil war and trying to nation-build in that part of the world? If you say no does that reveal your inhumanity to "less valuable" people in the world. Of course chickenshit keyboard warriors like you think more bombs and M-16s can solve geopolitical problems that you have a simple-minded, cartoonish understanding of.

Skyler said...

This is why I really don't like the movie, "The Green Berets." Not only was John Wayne just too old for the role, but the message was a loser.

"Oh, we can't fight like men, but we can sit back and bomb our martial superiors." Pathetic.

You cannot control a population without walking among them.

surfed said...

The world as wood chipper.

Anonymous said...

J. Farmer,

I absolutely do. However, I also understand that we could easily get stretched too thin.

So let's start in the areas that want to see us dead and as we create more Germany's and South Koreas, it'll get easier and easier.

Retreat,however, doesn't work.

Michael K said...

"Anyone think America wants to send 50,000 troops in? How about another 2,000 - 5,000 dead American boys and 50,000 American boys with their arms shot off? "

Well, we now have the option of thousands dead right here in the good old USA, thanks to Obama.

Rusty said...

J. Farmer said...
@Gahrie:

"Form volunteer units similar to the Rough Riders, or Abraham Lincoln Brigade."

Any interest in signing up



Sure.
You?

J. Farmer said...

@eric:

"So let's start in the areas that want to see us dead and as we create more Germany's and South Koreas, it'll get easier and easier."

With all due respect, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. If you think a marginal amount of US military personnel will turn Iraq into South Korea or Germany, then you're a delusional fool as ignorant of history as you are of basic human sociology.

@Michael K:

"Well, we now have the option of thousands dead right here in the good old USA, thanks to Obama."

Right. Because there's no way that a dozen Arabs could arrive in this country legally on international flights and begin hatching a terrorist plot against us if we're not fighting pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

@Rusty:

"Sure.
You?"

Nope. And I am not advocating military action. I don't give two shits about ISIS and am fine with letting the people who actually live there deal with that problem. They apparently have tough guys like you quaking in your underoos. But of course your "sure" is just a rhetorical flourish. You're sitting at home safe, not packing your bags for the war zone.



p.s. You people are complete fucking morons.


Rusty said...

p.s. You people are complete fucking morons.



Perhaps not.

Unknown said...

Skyler,
WTF, over? I think we watched the same movie.

Farmer,
Please remind me, did I already tell you it was pointless explaining things to you or was that someone else?

It's pretty clear that you have decided to believe what you believe and not to be confused by any facts. Or are your beliefs falsifiable?