March 27, 2003
* 'Huge' Chemical Weapons Factory Found
* Alleged U.S. Prisoners Shown on TV including one woman
* Muslim solider Grenade Suspect Resentful
* 10 Marines Killed in Faked Surrender
* Russian Dealers Supplying Iraq
* Troops Make Progress in N. Iraq
* Air strikes pounding positions of militant Islamic group
Notwithstanding the protestations of the French, Democrats and other naysayers, coalition forces discovered a humongous chemical weapons factory near the city of An Jajaf about 90 miles south of Baghdad.
THIS is one of the key reasons that the administration has imbedded journalists with troops on the ground, like the journalists assigned the 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. This operation is as much strategic and geopolitical as it is tactical. Journalists are enjoying unprecedented access not out of kindness but as a matter of political expedience.
The chemical plant is being described as a "100-acre complex," surrounded by an electrical fence. Additionally the plant was also camouflaged to avoid aerial photos being taken. It is not known what chemicals were being produced at the plant.
U.S. special operations troops have been snooping Iraq for Scud missiles and chemical or biological weapons and none had found until Sunday's discovery.
Iraq denies having any Scuds, which have sufficient range to reach Israel, but Scuds have been used. Unaccounted for remain some dozen Scuds United Nations inspectors have said were left over from the 1991 Gulf War.
Iraq also denies it holds any chemical or biological weapons.
Despite reports that all 8,000 soldiers in Iraq's 51st Mechanized Division in southern Iraq has surrendered, now the word is that only the unit's commanders gave themselves up. The rest simply left the battlefield or were "melting away," into the countryside. According to U.S. officials the actual number of Iraqi prisoners of war was between 1,000 and 2,000.
My friend Chris Ruddy (NewsMax grand poobah) calls the campaign "Shock and Yawn" http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/3/23/134629.shtm and he is half right AND half wrong.
I disagree with Ruddy on the effectiveness of munitions dropped. However, I agree with him that we are making a tactical mistake by trying to execute a political correct martial engagement.
I initially defended the effort to maintain infrastructure and minimize collateral damage in the beginning. HOWEVER, that all changed when Iraqi tactics changed.
Iraqi's are faking surrender to lure coalition troops into ambush. Iraqi's are discarding uniforms and operating as guerrillas.
Ruddy is right when suggests we have been operating way too politically correct. My refrain has always been 'there are consequences to what we do and don't do.' Chris writes, "The media say that the reason for this new warfare is that we don't world opinion against us if civilians are harmed or suffer - and we don't want to have to rebuild large parts of the city as soon as we take over. Therefore, the Iraqi 'civilian infrastructure' must be kept intact."
Okay, that was then….this is now. The bad guys are faking surrenders, torturing and executing POWs, and chosen to operate without rules. Cool! We can, and should take the gloves off too.
As Charlie Daniels wrote in his 'This Ain't No Rag It's a Flag',
"We're gonna hunt you down like a mad dog hound
Make you pay for the live you stole
We're all through talking and a messing around
And now it's time to rock and roll…" Works for me!
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers said, "Clearly they are not a beaten force. This is going to get a lot harder." Okay, so let's make it harder on Iraq.
We gave them every opportunity to avoid devastation. They chose to reject those opportunities. Too bad! NOW it is time to kick ass and take names.
Ruddy noted, "we saw on 'Meet the Press,' the Defense Ministry in Baghdad has yet to be hit. In fact, the Iraqi military still gives briefings there. The presumed reason, Andrea Mitchell says, is that we are secretly talking to high-ranking military personnel there. We wouldn't want to disturb their routine." Okay, that was then…this is now. Reduce the Defense Ministry into a smoking hole and any and all other identified significant targets.
Repeatedly, we have heard harsh rhetoric from President Bush that has been overwhelmingly accepted. However, chronically his actions have been less harsh. NOW is the time for the military action to match the sound bites.
Again, same song, same guy, Charlie Daniels says,
"But now you're gonna pay the price
You might of shot us in the back
Now you have to face the fact
That the big boys' in the game
And the lightning's been flashing
And the thunder's been crashing
And now it's getting ready to rain."
© 2003 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication. www.geoffmetcalf.com