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

Monday | March 24, 2003

Damned if they do, damned if they don't

Perhaps the worst part about this entire war is the unenviable position in which our troops have been placed. The Battle for Nasiriya (as it will be soon be dubbed) is Exhibit A:

By deciding to pursue their enemy into the city center, the Americans appeared to have enraged many of the Iraqi civilians who live there, including those who said they were predisposed to support the American effort.

One of those, Mustafa Mohammed Ali, a medical assistant at the Saddam Hospital, said he had spent much of the day hauling dead and wounded civilians out of buildings that had been bombed by the Americans. Mr. Ali that said he had no love for the Iraqi president but that the American's failure to discriminate between enemy fighters and Iraqi civilians had turned him decisively against the American invasion.

"I saw how the Americans bombed our civilians with my own eyes," Mr. Mustafa said, and he held up a bloodied sleeve to show how he had dragged them into the ambulances.

"You want to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime?" Mr. Mustafa asked. "Go to Baghdad. What are you doing here? What are you doing in our cities?"

Problem is, the Marines had no choice but to enter Nasiriya -- the Iraqi forces within were harrassing US supply lines, killing 10 and taking the first five US POW's of the war. So it's unrealistic for civilians to demand the US stay out of the city.

But the sad fact is that urban combat is costly to all involved -- invaders, defenders, and civilians. And as US forces start taking heavier casualties, they will undoubtedly resort to heavier artillery and close air support barrages to try and supress the enemy (and I wouldn't blame them).

So it's a classing Catch-22. You can't bypass the cities, but taking and occupying them will take their toll on non-combatants and, by extension, civilian support for invading US troops.

Posted March 24, 2003 07:08 PM | Comments (25)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)