News and opinions on situation in Iraq
19/11/04 FALLUJA THREW US ARMY 60 YEARS BACK: An After-Action Assessment
 
2004-11-19 16:44 MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) By military commentator Viktor Litovkin

  This prompted Russian military experts to make one more conclusion: The storming of Falluja will not stop terrorist attacks against US troops and their allies.  The attempts to restore order in Iraq by military measures have no future.  

  Officially, over 50 US servicemen were killed and 425 wounded during the storming of Falluja and subsequent street fighting.  This is a serious number of casualties per 10,000 of the Americans deployed in the city.

  A purely military conclusion: The absolute technological and operational-tactical superiority of the army that used the latest weapons and equipment of the 21st century against an army of the mid-20th century, which Shock and Awe demonstrated to the world, was reduced to naught by months of occupation.

  Despite their state-of-the-art weapons and tactics, the US troops stormed Falluja using WWII schemes and rules, said Colonel General Valery Mironov, a former deputy defense minister of Russia.  For example, the Americans employed greater military strength than seemed necessary, including aviation and artillery strikes, which frequently hit Americans.  And they used mixed groups of motorized and tank forces who combed the city street by street.

  In point of fact, they did almost the same the Russian troops did in winter 1995 and 1999, when they stormed Grozny, the capital of the Chechen republic, which is twice the size of Falluja.

  It is true that the Americans have better weapons and equipment, though.  The Russian mine-launch operators did not have laptops on which they would get target acquisition coordinates in real time and which they could use to correct artillery fire, as the Americans did in Falluja.  Neither did the Russian army have such a broad variety of infrared night-vision equipment.

  And yet, experts say that the absolute technical superiority over terrorists did not allow the Americans to use the new methods of warfare they had tested in Yugoslavia, meaning no-contact strikes at resistance centers and pockets, the fighters' headquarters and bases, and crucial life support facilities.

  Though they had reliable air support and uninterrupted radio communication with fire support helicopters, the Abrams heavy tanks and Striker armored personnel carriers had to enter the narrow streets where the terrorists fired grenades at their exposed flanks. There is no official information about the number of tanks and APCs destroyed in street fighting, but we can assume that the figure is a high one.

  Moreover, the lack of water, electricity and sewage facilities did not affect the fighting ability of the Sunni resistance forces.  The fighters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi did not even notice the loss of the benefits of civilization, which had effectively cut short the resistance in Belgrade.  It turned out that these men can sit for days amidst decomposing bodies and rubble in the city ruins, survive on one dry piece of bread a day, yet shoot at US vehicles and troops until they run out of bullets and grenades.

  This prompted Russian military experts to make one more conclusion: The storming of Falluja will not stop terrorist attacks against US troops and their allies.  The attempts to restore order in Iraq by military measures have no future. But then, the Russian military experts did not suggest any recommendations for the Pentagon, as they say there are enough experienced and responsible people on the Potomac.

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