By Larry C. Johnson (bio below)
Horribly sad news out of Iraq overnight. Ten brave Marines died in a bomb blast while clearing a factory in Fallujah. At least another eleven of their brothers were wounded during the same operation. I guess the insurgents in Fallujah did not get the memo from Condi Rice and other Bush Administration hawks that things are fine and the insurgency is, as Dick Cheney said, in “its last throes”.
Just two months ago Condi Rice claimed:
Each day increased numbers of trained and equipped Iraqi security forces are being fielded against the insurgents, Rice said. And, “with more capable Iraqi forces, we can implement this element of the strategy,” she explained, which is to have Iraqi troops go “neighborhood by neighborhood” to flush out insurgents and secure territory. . . .Former Iraq hot spots are being pacified, Rice said, noting that security along the Baghdad airport road “has measurably improved.” In contrast to a year ago, life is also now calmer in places like Mosul, Najaf, Fallujah, and formerly frenetic parts of downtown Baghdad, Rice said.
All well and good until you consider the implications of this attack. The Marines were clearing a factory. The enormous blast that killed our Marines had been carefully placed inside over a period of time. This appears to have been an ambush. Clearly the Marines had poor intelligence about the factory and there was no control around its perimeter in the days preceding the patrol. No neighbors in the area chose to alert U.S. forces that they were walking into the jaws of death. And, more importantly, where were the damn Iraqi troops accompanying our Marines? Why didn’t they fan out in advance and gather intel that might have prevented the loss of these brave troops.
When you are fighting an insurgency and do not have the genuine support of the locals, it is relatively easy to kill alot of Americans. God bless the souls of these brave Marines who have died fulfilling their duty. Too bad their civilian leaders do not have the same code of honor and integrity.
Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps corporations and governments manage threats posed by terrorism and money laundering. Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism (as a Deputy Director), is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management. Mr. Johnson has analyzed terrorist incidents for a variety of media including the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Today Show, the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and the BBC. Mr. Johnson has authored several articles for publications, including Security Management Magazine, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. He has lectured on terrorism and aviation security around the world. Further bio details.