Friday, July 11, 2008

Retired Colonel Criticizes Iraq Strategies in Book

Disagreements are sure to exist in armed forces engaged in battle. This guy seems very much a loose cannon (pun very much intended).

The brigade commander told his forces to minimize the use of heavy artillery to avoid civilian casualties. Then-Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman felt the order endangered his own troops. Breaking military law, he decided to disregard it. "Screw brigade," Col. Sassaman yelled during a mortar attack in August 2003. "Return fire. Now!"

Screw brigade? His limited perspective might've endangered brigade; his job was to follow orders, not conjure up tactics. But more:

"The simple, somewhat barbaric truth is that we had to convince the Iraqi people that they should fear us more than they feared the insurgents," Col. Sassaman writes. He says the military should have responded to insurgent attacks with heavy artillery and should have destroyed any building, including private homes, used by insurgents.

Yeah, right. That sort of war-making, a la Sherman, is outdated, and, now, wrong. Viet Nam War tactics didn't work then, won't work now.

In his book, he also argues that the Golden Dome in Samarra, a revered Shiite shrine whose destruction by Sunni militants fueled the country's civil war, should have been demolished by U.S. forces when insurgents began using it as a base to fire rocket-propelled grenades and machines guns.

Loose cannon and stubborn fool.

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