Friday, March 21, 2003

Battle Royale

So, battle is joined. Predictably, the first Allied Casualties of the war weren't due to Iraqi fire, but faulty equipment. Well, the first casualties we've been told about, anyway. I suspect we won't see any reports of Special Forces casualties until after the war is over, and they have been operating in Iraq for months. As I predicted, the Iraqis have started to torch their own oilfields, partly as a tactic to obscure satellite imagery, but mainly to piss off the Americans. Unsurprisingly, practically the very first objective secured in the war was an oil facility on the Al Faw peninsula. Donald Rumsfeld said that it was a crime for that regime to be destroying the riches of the Iraqi people, meaning of course 'don't torch the oil wells, they're the only reason we're here!'.

With media coverage being filtered both my the UK and US Defence Ministries, plus the Iraqi Information Ministry, it's hard to know whenever you're getting a representative picture of what's really happening, but it appears that the promised shock and awe tactics are on hold, whilst US Intelligence tries to assess what really happened in the aftermath of the command bunker bombing Wednesday night. There's also another good reason to hold back on the shock and awe - it would undoubtably lead to heavy civilian casualties, which is polictically unacceptable, for obvious reasons. With resistance so far being reported as being light I think that the use of cruise missiles and air support will likewise not scale up to shock and awe levels. Not unless Coalition troops start taking casualties when they engage the Republican Guard, who will no doubt seek to draw the fighting into the cities, that is.

I await developments over the next few days with a fair amount of concern and tredipation.

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