10.03.2004

Iraq attack map

This map from the New York Times maps out all the attackes that took place over the last 30 days. I assume that means it is for the month of September instead of say, 9-03 to 10-03, though it's not really important.

There are some interesting things to note in this map. First it's interesting to compare which weapons are used where. I notice that between Basra and Baghdad the only weapons being used are small arms. Why? Can the insurgency not get supplies down that far or are we simply staying off of these roads?

Our supply lines from Kuwait to Karbala are virtually unmolested. Are they that well protected or is the insurgency simply interested in taking us on in the cities where there's better cover? The Jordan-Baghdad supply line is also nearly untouched. Back in April we had a bit of a flap as we lost control of major portions of this route. It passes through Fallujah, which is a no-go zone for Americans. Have we lost the entire line?

Also troubling is the large number of attacks inside the Green Zone.
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The GZ is in the backwards "L" of the Tigris:
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I assume these are mortar attacks but if we can't secure a buffer zone around the Green Zone it's hard to see how we'll pacify insurgent enclaves in the remote suburbs.

Aside from Sadr city, the next highest concentration of attacks in Baghdad are northwest of the Green Zone along the Tigris. This area is the center of Iraq's railroad system and it looks like it's being pretty well hit.

I notice a large number of attacks in the Kurdish controlled areas of northern Iraq. I am not an expert on Iraq but I do know that the Kurds are supposedly fully on our side. We've been using them to pull security in middle and southern Iraq because they're outsiders and not tangled up in the local politics and/or tribal vengance. The attacks up north are coming from Sunnis instead of Kurds, but this graphic exposes the lie to Bush's foreign policy. He says that if we train the locals that we will win. But Northern Iraq is controlled by armed and experienced Kurdish Iraqis and yet there is still no security there. What hope can 90,000 Iraqi policemen (40,000 of which were just fired by the US for either imcompetence or questionable loyalty) have if the Kurds can't even make any headway.

The problem with Iraq is that no one is making any headway except the insurgents. We never round up anyone responsible for anything, we just kill a dozen or so supporters of Sadr. We're not rolling up networks or zeroing in on any of the problems, we just get bombed and that's that.

You hear body counts from airstrikes but be skeptical when they start talking about body counts. They're historically innaccurate and as we've seen they're usually mostly civilian. Iraqis are the best people to deal with Iraqis, but we have 180,000(?) people with air support, armor, and communications augmenting their forces and things just keep getting worse. How are 90,000 Iraqis going to go straight out of boot camp, grab an AK and solve everything without a command structure, communications, technology, air support etc?

The answer is painfully obvious, they're not. I feel that the only solution is for us to leave. That may make things worse, but then again it may not. The only thing that has kept them from slipping into civil war is a common hatred for their occupiers and a hope for a better day with Saddam gone. But make no mistake about it, our presence is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If we did leave, they may well revert to civil war, on the other hand they may come together in national solidarity and carve out a stable form of government on their own. It may not be a perfect democracy and it wouldn't be the puppet regime the Bush administration is hoping for, but it would be better than what they've got now.. Hell, it would probably be better than what we've got now.



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