December 16, 2003

On the Difference between "Soldier" and "Fighter" A**hat.

The Soldiers of the Stryker Brigade demonstrate the difference between Soldiers and 'Fighters' - and why discipline overcomes fervor all the time, in the long run. Isandlhwana and Little Big Horn were the exceptions, not the rule. With apologies to the warriors of Sitting Bull and Cetshwayo for the comparison to Iraqi "fighters" who are just a**hats who hide among children.

UPDATE: Isandlhwana isn't the best of examples, as the Zulu were actually very disciplined soldiers who were outfought by an enemy that wasn't tied to his ground by agricultural and other needs - and who had the economic surplus to fight in all seasons. This is a better choice: Abu Klea, and is in fact the one I was thinking of initially, though the outcome for the Zulu was the same in the end as it was for the Mahdists at Abu Klea and the Plains Tribes in the US. Abu Klea was the inspiration for Kipling's poem, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, which evokes a respect for the native fighter that I'm not sure is shared by our troops for the Saddamites they are fighting now.

Tacoma News Tribune
December 16, 2003
Fort Lewis Soldiers Kill 11 In Firefight
By Michael Gilbert, The News Tribune

NEAR DULUIYAH, Iraq - Stryker brigade soldiers killed 11 Iraqi fighters who ambushed them Monday with small-arms fire, an improvised bomb, mortars and a rocket-propelled grenade, brigade officials said.

No brigade soldiers were hurt in the 45-minute firefight, which started just as school was letting out in an urban area several miles from the Stryker base camp.

Not a bad loss exchange ratio. But lets look at some more snippets from the article (which you should go read in it's entirety).

They went to the site on a tip they'd find numerous shoulder-launched antiaircraft missiles. Instead, they discovered what experts think are Al Fatah missiles, capable of delivering a warhead more than 90 miles.

These aren't small missles, go see the photos with the article. We've been there since March and we hadn't found these yet. Why is that important? What else have we not yet found in Iraq? A WMD or two, perhaps?

Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment learned that the locals have mixed feelings. Soldiers from B Company, 2nd Platoon heard folks at a gas station tell them they were happy at the news of Saddam's arrest and that they blamed their lack of security on regime holdouts, according to a battalion report of the afternoon's operations.

But soon after the pleasantries, a man on a motorcycle fired an AK-47 at the rear of the platoon's convoy, which included at least four Stryker vehicles, according to the report.

That pretty well defines 'mixed feelings' for me!

"It was difficult to return fire because a school in the area had just been let out and the area was swarming with children," said the report.

Battalion officials think the shooting was meant to drive the convoy toward other shooters in a nearby field and then to an improvised bomb planted in a berm. It detonated without harming any U.S. forces or vehicles.

The soldiers got out of the vehicles and returned fire, brigade spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Piek said. Because of the crowds of schoolchildren, a platoon sniper did much of the shooting, apparently killing seven of the gunmen who fired on the convoy from the field, according to the report.

Okay - the 'fighters' rat b*st*rd gutless weasels open up using the presence of children as a screen. In their first combat as a unit, the troops deploy from their vehicles, and rather than just shoot everything up, let those people who can shoot well do the shooting. And taking no casualties themselves, pop eleven of the goblins, and kill none of the villagers. AND they don't let themselves be pushed in the direction that the 'fighters' a**hats wanted them to go. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between Soldiers, and 'fighters'. Between discipline, and being a war criminal. Young soldiers, under fire for the first time, COME OUT FROM UNDER ARMOR and take the fight to the enemy - all the while cognizant of the non-combatants caught in the middle. Stuff that down your throat, Ramsey Clark, you weasel. BTW - the Geneva Convention allows you to shoot back in the situation - even if non-combatants are present. But we accepted the risk. Choke on that, DemUnderground.

The insurgents also fired an RPG at the convoy, but it missed and struck a van instead, although it did not explode. They also fired mortars, which likewise missed, according to the report.

These guys a**hats are embarrassing, as well as violent, venal, and vile. And no, troll, I don't mean the Styker troops. As ever, our troops make me proud to carry an ID card marked "Armed Forces of the United States."

John | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (2) | Observations on things Military
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Tuesday Blogosphere Happenings
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs
Comments on On the Difference between "Soldier" and "Fighter" A**hat.
Teresa briefed on December 16, 2003 09:28 AM

Each of these stories makes me even more proud of our military. Too bad the mainstream press can't ever be bothered to put out good stories like this. If they even come close, they have to "balance" it with something bad.

Could you imagine CNN's take on this - they'd end up blaming our guys for putting the kids in danger. *sigh*

Russell briefed on December 16, 2003 11:22 AM

And we just keep rolling on!

Let's point this out again for those too stupid to get it.

The a**hats shoot at our soldiers from behind a screen of school *children*

Children, folks. You know, the little people that the LLL keep saying our soldiers kill for fun?

Well, our soldiers took the fight away from the kids as much as they could, and had the sniper take down the a**hats as fast as he could.

11-0, folks, and no children were hurt. Zero.

Remember this story and the fact that we do not kill babies, no matter how loudy the loons scream that we do. The enemy glady puts them in harms way and kills them, we don't.

roach briefed on December 16, 2003 01:16 PM

I've alwasy thought the law of war was kind of gay. We bombed civilians in Germany and Japan. The only terrorism I'm against is the kind against Americans. We should bring terror to our enemies.

Seriously, would you not blend in with the civilian population and conduct guerilla warfare if the US were invaded?

Would you not define acceptable and unacceptable tactics based solely on their ability to achieve our strategic objectives?

I think the goals of the Baathists are the problem; their tactics are immaterial and morality has little role in the discussion, other than as a PSYOPS tactic.

SayUncle briefed on December 16, 2003 01:51 PM

Just curious as to why the missile discovery isn't getting more press. Oh wait, i know why.

John of Argghhh! briefed on December 16, 2003 01:56 PM

No, I don't think the law of war is kind of gay.

It's a body of custom and law, accumulated over thousands of years, who purpose is mitigate the damage and carnage. Not eliminate it, just limit it. It also provides a basis to initiate the termination of a war at something less than total annihilation of the enemy, i.e., genocide ala "Carthago Delenda Est".

Would I use non-combatants as shields? Not intentionally. Would I move among them? Certainly. Do I find that using them as shields an acceptable tactic? Not especially. If you are fighting a war to the knife, as these people may feel they are, you can justify anything in order to survive, I suppose. It certainly was the justification used regarding partisan warfare on both sides of the lines during WWII. But what did fighting that kind of war gain the Germans and Japanese - the destruction of their cities and demolition of their governments?

There is also a difference in intent. Are you deliberately aiming for civilians just to kill civilians for terror's sake, or targeting legitimate targets with weapons that simply aren't that accurate?

There is a case to be made that we terror-bombed Japanese cities when we shifted to firebombing. There are arguments to be made about Dresden. I am not convinced - but I do know that the brutality of that war to that point made those decisions easier to make.

Simple reality of US bombing tactics in WWII was that the germans built their factories (pre-war, to be close to where the workers were) among their workers. Try as we might, we were going to hit houses when we bombed the M-A-N factory in Nueremburg, or the ball-bearing factory in Regensburg. But that's why we went in daylight and took the casualties we did doing it - to better destroy the target and minimize the damage. After all, we were going to occupy the territory and it's a hell of a lot easier to deal with all the problems without making everyone homeless, foodless, and waterless. Accordingly, it was more dangerous to be a bomber crewman in Europe in WWII than it was to be an infantryman.

The Brits by contrast, having suffered the german bombing campaign themselves, and not being able to absorb the casualties inherent in daylight bombing went for night area-bombing. They tried to hit their targets, but were perhaps a bit bloody-minded about it, given what happened to Coventry, etc. What was the German response? Vergeltungs Vengeance) Waffen 1 & 2, the Buzzbomb and the first 'Scud' - weapons which could only be aimed at targets the size of cities and whose sole purpose was to punish the civilians. Did this help the Germans when the denoument of the war arrived? Nope. The Germans were reaping the harvest of Guernica, Warsaw, and Rotterdam and the V-campaign. The japanese reaped the harvest of Singapore, Shanghai, Nanking, and Bataan.

We continue that war-making trend today, trying to develop ever more accurate weapons so that we don't have to flatten a block to get an office. And we continue to accept lethal risk to minimize the horror - not that many of the loony left seem to get that.

They key piece is we're not after the civilians, we're after the military target that has been placed among civilians - and we accept lethal risk to ourselves to do so in order to not just kill everything that moves.

Consider this: If the Germans and Japanese had been less than the utterly despicable wagers of war that they were - the war would have ended earlier, probably with a negotiated settlement, and far fewer dead, fewer cities destroyed and cultural treasures lost. As it was, the Allies were so hardened by their experience in fighting the Germans and Japanese that it actually became harder for the Germans and Japanese to surrender - we didn't trust them to do so. And when some overtures were made, we were skeptical. And when, after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, we saw the opportunity to not have to physically invade Japan, we took it. Had the Japanese pursued their war aims with less bloody methods, we probably would have been more in a mood to listen.

It wasn't that hard for the Italians, was it?

So, if I feel like I'm in a war that is genocidal in nature, and the very survival of my people is at stake - I'm still going to do what I can to minimize the damage to the non-combatants, while doing my utmost to completely eradicate the opponent.

So, are the laws of war, 'gay'? Only to people who don't understand their history and their purpose, and who want to condemn themselves to ensuring that the maximum amount of misery, on both sides, is inflicted.

I'm proud to be a member of a military (and a society) that understands that, however imperfectly, and strives to keep some sanity in what is otherwise chaos.

Beth M briefed on December 16, 2003 05:14 PM

So far I've been pretty impressed with this embeded reporter. I know the Stryker Brigade is huge and I have a feeling they're going to be very busy over the next few months! Nerdstar had mentioned they were going to be the ones looking for Saddam - thankfully that's been taken care of! I'm pretty sure this is an offensive unit. I'm also under the impression they'll be relieving the 101st to whatever degree.

I tend to the being well informed side. The more I know about what she's going thru, the easier I feel, and the closer to her I feel.

Keep an eye on this reporter, he's doing a mighty good job! I find there are usually new updates every morning on that Tacoma newspaper site. You can also subscribe to get his updates.

gunner briefed on December 16, 2003 07:13 PM

I saw one version of this story online title "Army kills 11 after ambush" AP. AFTER!! Sounds like we murdered them in cold blood after the fight. I read the article and got mad because of the "slant" the news organization put on it. Sounds like our guys did ok and worked to keep anyone but the bad guys from dying.
Job done well. Miller time!

John of Argghhh! briefed on December 16, 2003 08:27 PM

Dang - I was hoping this post would attract a troll. I'm feelin' feisty!

John of Argghhh! briefed on December 16, 2003 08:27 PM

A REAL troll - none of you poseurs!

Russell briefed on December 16, 2003 08:30 PM

Have you seen your basement, John?

I think that alone scares away a number of trolls.

Jon, Imperial Hunter briefed on December 16, 2003 10:17 PM


Another great post AND comment. I'll be a regular around here from now on. Impressive site and content.

BTW, need a gunsmith around here?

TrooperJohnSmith briefed on December 17, 2003 12:38 AM

I think something that most of the moonbats miss is the fact that the cowards shoot up a column and then hide amongst school kids. Two things emerge: The character and discipline of our troops is such that they will not fire into this crowd, and the terrorists know it. The second is that the leftist idiots can't understand what the terrorists know. Instead, they find fault with the actions of the soldiers on every occasion.

I'd like to snatch some of these people out of their comfortable lives and drop them into Iraq and see who they would run screaming to? Heck, you could probably get some Olympic qualifying times out of that!

Nick briefed on December 21, 2003 04:55 AM

'Isandlhwana isn't the best of examples, as the Zulu were actually very disciplined soldiers who were outfought by an enemy'

If you mean Isandhlwana The Brits lost there Were you thinking of Rorke's Drift? The Zulus let us off the hook there...



John of Argghhh! briefed on December 21, 2003 08:42 AM

I was looking for the isolated examples where the 'warrrior' style of fighter beat the 'soldier' style - which certainly happened at Isandlwhana and Little Big Horn. The reason I backed off from Isandlwhana was a recognition that the Zulus were actually pretty disciplined warriors, both indiviudally and as units - being organized into formal units (vice bands, etc)being rare as well. So I went with Abu Klea, which also wasn't the best example, as the Brits did win that fight - but the Dervishes did manage to break a square.

Okay, so it wasn't the best example of John the History Instructor... 8^)