Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | March 24, 2003

Republican Guard; Nasiriyah; Civilian casualties

Medina Division
There is now talk that US forces will soon engage the Medina Division, guarding the route to Baghdad. I've been unable to find maps that indicate exactly where this RG division is deployed, but my assumption would be that those forces are deployed in urban areas.

The US, with superior air and artillery power, should be able to make quick work of the Medina Division. If I were to guess, I'd say this division will make an initial stand, cause as much damage to the invaders, and then abandon their equipment as newly minted "irregulars", melting away into the populace as "civilians", ready to carry the fight another day.

In the South
Interestingly enough, the battle for Nasiriyah continues, while the Brits still haven't been able to enter Basra.

"We were expecting a lot of hands up from Iraqi soldiers and for the humanitarian operation in Basra to begin fairly quickly behind us, with aid organizations providing food and water to the locals," Captain Patrick Trueman said. "But it hasn't quite worked out that way."
CNN reports that Umm Qasr is still not secure as guerilla forces continue to harrass US and UK forces there. All three of those cities are in southern Iraq -- the area that was supposed to shower "liberating" troops with rose petals. Gen. Franks has been reduced to rationalizing the reason the southern Shia didn't follow the script:
"It has to do with fear," [Franks] said.
Perhaps, or perhaps they hold grudges from the US's 1991 betrayal. Or they simply didn't hate Saddam as much as we were repeatedly told -- willing to side with him against the US.

Civilian casualties
The great news of this war has been the utter lack of significant civilian casualties -- a testament of US weapons technology. While Iraq claims 194 people have been injured in bombing raids in Baghdad, it claims none dead. That's unbelievable, especially considering the tonnage of explosive rained on that city.

Iraq does claim 30 dead in Babel and 14 in Basra, and we have five more dead in the accidental bombing of the bus near the Syrian border. But altogether these numbers are amazing.

Of course, it's hard to "shock and awe" an enemy when you're merely staging a fireworks show, blowing up empty buildings. I hate to say it, but the strategy would require at least some degree of civilian casualties to work, and that's something that the US and UK are desperately trying to avoid.

Posted March 24, 2003 05:57 PM | Comments (55)


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