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Iraq 04 like Vietrnam 66.

by Joe Thursday, Dec. 30, 2004 at 7:08 AM

Iraq 04 like Vietrnam 66. CIA working with “Moonies.” Ghost jets take insurgents away for “questioning.” Interesting reading. Please circulate widely.

Iraq 04 like Vietrnam 66. CIA working with “Moonies.” Ghost jets take insurgents away for “questioning.” Interesting reading. Please circulate widely. Joe

Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966

By: Phillip Carter and Owen West on: 28.12.2004 [05:54 ] (305 reads)


Adjusting body counts for medical and military changes.

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Soldiers have long been subjected to invidious generational comparison. It's a military rite of passage for new recruits to hear from old hands that everything from boot camp to combat was tougher before they arrived. The late '90s coronation of the "Greatest Generation"—which left many Korean War and Vietnam War veterans scratching their heads—is only the most visible cultural example.

Generational contrasts are implicit today when casualties in Iraq are referred to as light, either on their own or in comparison to Vietnam. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, for example, last July downplayed the intensity of the Iraq war on this basis, arguing that "it would take over 73 years for US forces to incur the level of combat deaths suffered in the Vietnam war."

But a comparative analysis of U.S. casualty statistics from Iraq tells a different story. After factoring in medical, doctrinal, and technological improvements, infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966, and in some cases more lethal. Even discrete engagements, such as the battle of Hue City in 1968 and the battles for Fallujah in 2004, tell a similar tale: Today's grunts are patrolling a battlefield every bit as deadly as the crucible their fathers faced in Southeast Asia.

Economists like to quote statistics in "constant dollars," where they factor in historical inflation rates to produce statistics that allow for side-by-side comparison. Warfare is more complex than macroeconomics, but it is possible to produce a similar "apples to apples" comparison for casualties across conflicts. In a recent article for the New England Journal of Medicine, Atul Gawande (a former Slate contributor) concluded that improvements to military medicine since Vietnam have dramatically reduced the rate at which U.S. troops die of wounds sustained in combat. The argument follows a 2002 study that tied improvements in U.S. civilian trauma medicine to the nation's declining murder rate. While firearm assaults in the United States were rising, the murder rate was falling, largely because penetration wounds that proved fatal 30 years ago were now survivable. Thus, today's murder rate was artificially depressed in comparison to the 1960s.

Gawande applied the same methodology to U.S. casualty statistics in previous wars, arriving at a "lethality of wounds" rate for each conflict. In World War II, 30 percent of wounds proved deadly. In Korea, Vietnam, and the first Gulf War, this rate hovered between 24 percent to 25 percent. But due to better medical technology, doctrinal changes that push surgical teams closer to the front lines, and individual armor protection for soldiers, this rate has dropped to 10 percent for Operation Iraqi Freedom for all wounds. For serious wounds that keep a soldier away from duty for more than 72 hours, the mortality rate is now 16 percent. Simply, a soldier was nearly 1.5 times more likely to die from his wounds in Vietnam than in Iraq today.

This disparity between the "lethal wound" rates has profound implications. Analogy is a powerful tool for perspective and Vietnam still reverberates, but the numbers must reflect the actual risks. In 1966, for example, 5,008 U.S. servicemen were killed in action in Vietnam. Another 1,045 died of "non-hostile" wounds (17 percent of the total fatalities). Since Jan. 1, 2004, 754 U.S. servicemen and -women have been killed in action in Iraq, and 142 more soldiers died in "non-hostile" mishaps (16 percent of the fatalities, similar to Vietnam). Applying Vietnam's lethality rate (25 percent) to the total number of soldiers killed in action in Iraq this year, however, brings the 2004 KIA total to 1,131.

The scale can be further balanced. In 1966, U.S. troops in Vietnam numbered 385,000. In 2004, the figure in Iraq has averaged roughly 142,000. Comparing the burden shouldered by individual soldiers in both conflicts raises the 2004 "constant casualty" figure in Iraq to 3,065 KIA. Further, casualties in Iraq fall more heavily on those performing infantry missions. Riflemen—as well as tankers and artillerymen who operate in provisional infantry units in Iraq—bear a much higher proportion of the risk than they did in Vietnam. In Vietnam, helicopter pilots and their crews accounted for nearly 5 percent of those killed in action. In Iraq in 2004, this figure was less than 3 percent. In Vietnam, jet pilots accounted for nearly 4 percent of U.S. KIAs. In 2004, the United States did not lose a single jet to enemy action in Iraq. When pilots and aircrews are removed from the equation, 4,602 ground-based soldiers died during 1966 in Vietnam compared to 2,975 in Iraq during 2004.

Perhaps a more significant change is the marriage of technology with doctrinal changes. In World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, attrition warfare dominated infantry operations. Today's commanders fight differently, first shaping the battlefield with airpower and artillery, then committing ground troops to attack enemies weakened by these barrages or bypassing them altogether.

But some situations defy the effects of technology and force infantrymen to fight much the way they did 30 years ago. In urban areas, most significantly, buildings hide Iraqi insurgents from aerial observation and protect them from incoming ordnance. Cities also make it easy for small bands of insurgents to hide among the civilians. In Fallujah, the Iraqi insurgents who burrowed into the city had to be pried out by American infantry—just as the Marines did when they fought to retake Hue City in 1968.

The Hue comparison is illuminating. In Hue, three Marine battalions (roughly 3,000 men) plunged into a vicious house-to-house fight with 12,000 North Vietnamese, ultimately routing them after suffering harsh losses. In April 2004, three Marine battalions attacked several thousand terrorists in Fallujah and were days away from taking the city when the White House called off the attack. In November, three new Marine battalions joined two Army mechanized infantry battalions in a sweeping attack to retake the city. They succeeded, although outbreaks of fighting continue. While the North Vietnamese fought a coordinated defensive battle for Hue City until they were annihilated, the terrorists in Fallujah fought in small packs, hiding among the tens of thousands of structures in the "city of mosques." In the three-week battle for Hue, 147 Marines were killed and 857 wounded. In the twin battles for Fallujah, more than 104 soldiers and Marines have been killed and more than 1,100 wounded in a battle that will continue to take lives, like the three Marines who encountered yet another pocket of fighters last week.

Hue and Fallujah provide one of the best generational comparisons of combat because both battles unfolded similarly. Without controlling for any of the advances in medical technology, medical evacuation, body armor, or military technology, U.S. losses in Fallujah almost equal those of Hue. If you factor in the improvements in medical technology alone, then the fight for Fallujah was just as costly (or maybe more so) as that for Hue, as measured by the number of mortal wounds sustained by U.S. troops.

That today's fighting in Iraq, by these calculations, may actually be more lethal than the street fighting in Vietnam should not be taken lightly. Vietnam was marked by long periods of well-fought, sustained combat but little perceptible gain. Volunteers outnumbered conscripts by nine to one in the units that saw combat during the war's early days in 1966, and at first they enjoyed the support of a country that believed in their cause. But as the burden widened and deepened, and conscripts did more of the fighting and dying, the country's faith evaporated. Today's burden is not wide, but it is deep. Communities such as Oceanside, Calif., home to Camp Pendleton and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, have suffered tremendous loss during this war—nearly one-quarter of U.S. combat dead in 2004 were stationed at Camp Pendleton. Military leaders should be mindful of this fact: To send infantrymen on their third rotations to Iraq this spring is akin to assigning a trooper three tours in Vietnam: harsh in 1966 and a total absurdity by 1968.

Critics of the war may use this analysis as one more piece of ammunition to attack the effort; some supporters may continue to refer to casualties as "light," noting that typically tens of thousands of Americans must die in war before domestic support crumbles. Both miss the point. The casualty statistics make clear that our nation is involved in a war whose intensity on the ground matches that of previous American wars. Indeed, the proportional burden on the infantryman is at its highest level since World War I. With next year's budget soon to be drafted, it is time for Washington to finally address their needs accordingly.

Phillip Carter is an attorney and former Army officer who writes on military and legal affairs from Los Angeles. Owen West, a trader for Goldman Sachs, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Marines.

link

sent by AL-FIRDAUS, eurohippie

-----

CIA mouthpiece Moonie Times slams US civil war strategy in Iraq

By: Washington Times - agitpapa on: 29.12.2004 [04:10 ] (177 reads)


The Washington Times and UPI are both owned by Reverend Moon who is famously connected to the CIA and its Korean branch office the KCIA. The Moonie Times and UPI have been actively taking sides in the battle between the CIA and the Zionists for the soul of the Bush junta and the future of the US empire. A month ago, Zionist hawk Charles Krauthammer publicly announced the new civil war strategy of the Nazi/Zionist occupation in Iraq. The CIA - even after the recent purges - thinks this is a big mistake and is using the Moonie channel to counter the Zionist media's civil war propaganda.

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The provocations against Sunnis by the Iranian-controlled Badr Brigades in puppet Iraqi National Guard uniform have been ongoing for months now, as have similar provocations by Kurdish Peshmerga in their US-supplied desert camo fatigues. False flag bombings of Shiite and Sunni mosques have also become routine. At the end of last month, Zionist hawk Charles Krauthammer finally let the cat out of the bag, telling the Iraqi Shia to stop twirling their thumbs and get on with the civil war:



Charles Krauthammer / Syndicated columnist

It's time for full participation by Shiites, Kurds in civil war

(. . .)

People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side is fighting it. The other side, the Shiites and the Kurds, are largely watching as their part of the fight is borne primarily by the United States.

Both have an interest in the outcome. The Shiites constitute a majority of Iraqis and will inevitably inherit power in any democratic arrangement. The Kurds want to retain their successful autonomous zone without worrying about new depredations at the hands of the Sunni Arabs.

This is the Shiites' and Kurds' fight. Yet when police stations are ravaged by Sunni Arab insurgents in Mosul, U.S. soldiers are rushed in to fight them. The obvious question is: Why don't we unleash the fierce and well-trained Kurdish peshmerga militias on them? (Mosul is heavily Kurdish and suffered a terrible Kurdish expulsion under Saddam.)

Yes, some of the Iraqi police/National Guard units fighting with our troops are largely Kurdish. But they, like the Shiites, fight in an avowedly nonsectarian Iraqi force. Why? Because we want to maintain this idea of a unified, nonethnic Iraq. At some point, however, we must decide whether that is possible or not, and how many American lives should be sacrificed in its name.

Six months ago I wrote in this space that while "our goal has been to build a united, pluralistic, democratic Iraq in which the factions negotiate their differences the way we do in the West" that "may be, in the short run, a bridge too far. ... We should lower our ambitions and see Iraqi factionalization as a useful tool."



So here is the CIA/Moonie response:



Analysis: Iraq edges towards civil war

By Richard Sale

UPI Terrorism Correspondent

New York, NY, Dec. 25 (UPI) — Iraq faces the prospect of civil war as Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government loses credibility and violence against U.S. forces increases, according to almost a half dozen former and serving administration officials.

In last Tuesday's suicide bombing attack at a mess tent at Mosul, 22 were killed — 18 of them Americans — and 50 wounded.

"We can't afford to keep taking that kind of hit," a Pentagon official said. "We can't afford it in terms of American public opinion, and it causes us to loose credibility with the Iraqi public."

Upcoming January elections will not improve the deteriorating security situation, these sources said, all speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitiveness of the topic.

Plus a new threat has arisen.

"We are starting to play the ethnic card in Iraq, just as the Soviets played it in Afghanistan," said former CIA chief of Afghanistan operation Milt Bearden.

"You only play it when you're losing and by playing it, you simply speed up the process of losing," he said.

Phoebe Marr, an analyst who closely follows events in Iraq, told United Press International that "having the U.S. military unleash different historical enemies on each other has become an unspoken U.S. policy."

Bearden, Marr and others also referred to the Pentagon's tactic of pitting one group of enemies against another in Iraq as being fraught with danger.

For example, during the assault on Fallujah, wary of the reliability of Iraqi forces, the Marines used 2,000 Kurdish Peshmerga militia troops against the Arab Sunnis. The two groups share a long history of mistrust and animosity, according to Marr.

Both ethnic groups are Sunni, but Kurds speak a different language, have distinct customs, and are not Arabs.

"I think the U.S. military is trying to get ethnic groups to take on the insurgents, and I don't think it will work," Marr said.

According to a former senior CIA official, the agency is dealing with reports of ethnic cleansing being undertaken by the Kurds in areas near Kirkuk.

"It's all taking place off everyone's radar, and it's very quiet, but it's happening," this source said.

Original reports disclosing that up to 150,000 Arab Sunnis had been uprooted and placed in camps have proved to be unreliable, several U.S. officials said.

"There's so much white noise, so much unreliable rumor in the air," said Middle East expert Tony Cordesman. "You are going to have to get data from people on site, not from those in the rear areas."

According to Marr, Iraq has always been a complicated mosaic of religious and ethnic groups and tribes. The tilt of the Bush administration towards Iraq's Shiites, who compromise 60 percent of the population, upset the balance of power, she said.

Former Defense Intelligence Agency chief of Middle East operations, Pat Lang, said the key blunder was the disbanding of Iraq's 400,000-man army. "At a stroke, we went from a liberator to an occupier."

A Pentagon official said that the Iraqi army had been "a respected institution," in Marr's words, "a focal point of national identity," utterly abolished.

From the beginning, sectarian and ethnic groups have been quietly at war. A U.S. intelligence official told United Press International that soon after the U.S. victory, there were Shiite assassination squads "that were going around settling scores that dated back from the time (Iraqi leader) Saddam Hussein was in power."

There were also suicide bombings of Shiites by Islamist jihadis allegedly led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, an Islamist militant now associated with al-Qaida. According to the intelligence official, Zarqawi in the late 1990s was responsible for bombing Shiites in Iran from his base in Pakistan where he was associated with the militant SSP party.

The Sunni Arabs, once the leading political group under Saddam Hussein, feel threatened and made politically impotent by the Shiite majority, according to U.S. officials.

This partly explains their leadership of a broad, deeply entrenched insurgency designed to humiliate American military power, keep the bulk of the Sunni population on the fence, and rally anti-U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials said.

While the Shiites and Kurds are eager to participate in the upcoming elections, the Sunnis are indifferent, U.S. officials said. "They feel they don't have a dog in this fight," a former senior CIA official said.

Another problem is the Iraqi middleclass, many of them Sunni, and almost all of them anti-American, according to Marr. "They disliked us in the past because the U.N. sanctions made them suffer. When the war came, they had expectations that were much too high. Then they became passive and they won't work with us, and yet this is the only chance they're going to get."

"The Sunnis and Shiites don't like the occupation and want us out as soon as possible," she added. "Their idea is that if a security force is needed, they want to do it themselves."

The Sunnis are also divided. "Iraq is such a complex mosaic that breaks down into terribly diffuse groups," Marr said. "In places like Mosul, Basra and Baghdad, the Sunnis are secular professionals who look down their noses at the tribes and Shia."

Outside of Baghdad and the cities, the Sunnis are "isolated, and, by history, clannish and tribe-oriented," she said.

"But even with the Shiites, there is no real unity there either. Some are Iran-oriented, others are more secular," Marr said.

The war has made all three groups, Kurds, Shiites and Sunni, "crawl into themselves," she said.

And the future? "All sorts of ugly things could happen — the Kurds could declare independence or the split between the Shiite and Sunni could deepen. The new Iraqi state could fail," an administration official said.

For Marr the outlook was also grim: "The whole Bush administration policy has been outrageously careless" and because of this, she said, the tenuous unity of Iraq "could break down."





'Ghost' jet used for terror suspects

From correspondents in Washington

December 29, 2004

A US jet registered to a ghost company whisks terror suspects to countries that use torture, according to the Washington Post.

The Gulfstream V turbojet had been seen at US military bases around the world, often loading hooded and shackled suspects and delivering them to countries known to use torture, a process the CIA calls "rendition", the newspaper said.

The jet, with the tail number N379P, had been seen in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

The executives of the plane's corporate owner, Premier Executive Transport Services, were all listed with dates of birth in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, but with social security numbers issued since 1998, the Post said. It was unable to locate any further business or credit information on them or the company.

The CIA refused to comment, but such "proprietary" or front corporations were standard procedure for the agency, former operatives told the newspaper.

-----

It is unlikely that any crime will be too horrendous for those wishing “success” for the U.S. invasion in Iraq. But all the people of the world have an interest in stopping this crime. It may be the key to saving this earth from those that would have it forever become the “playground” of the few as most of humanity live in misery while waiting to die. (editors note)

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