previous post next post  

The official story on the attack at Karbala last week.

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2007 - Insurgents who attacked the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, Iraq, were dressed in U.S. Army-styled combat uniforms and carried U.S.-type weapons, convincing Iraqi checkpoints to allow them passage, military officials released today.

During the Jan. 20 attack, the enemy fighters captured and killed four U.S. soldiers. Another soldier was also killed and three others wounded in the attack on the center, located about 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Local officials and Iraqi and coalition security forces meet at the center to address security needs.

"The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution," said Army Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl, spokesman for Multinational Division Baghdad. "The attackers went straight to where Americans were located in the provincial government facility, bypassing the Iraqi police in the compound."

At about 5 p.m. that day, a convoy consisting of at least five sport utility vehicles entered the Karbala compound and about 12 armed militants attacked the American troops with rifle fire and hand grenades, officials said.

One soldier was killed and three others wounded by a hand grenade thrown into the center's main office. Other explosions within the compound destroyed three Humvees.

The attackers withdrew with four captured U.S. soldiers and drove out of the Karbala province into the neighboring Babil province. Iraqi police began trailing the assailants after they drew suspicion at a checkpoint.

Three soldiers were found dead and one fatally wounded, along with five abandoned vehicles, near the town of Mahawil. Two were found handcuffed together in the back of one of the vehicles. The other two were found nearby on the ground. One soldier was found alive but died en route to a nearby hospital. All suffered from gunshot wounds.

Also recovered at the site were U.S. Army-type combat uniforms, boots, radios and a non-U.S. made rifle, officials said.

Officials are investigating the breach in security at the center. "We are looking at all the evidence to determine who or what was responsible for the breakdown in security at the compound and the perpetration of the assault," Bleichwehl said. "Our hearts go out to the families of the fallen warriors from Karbala. They were true heroes who fought to the last."

The names of four of the soldiers have been released. The fifth name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Killed were:

-- Army 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb.;

-- Army Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La.;

-- Army Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y.; and

-- Army Pvt. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Ala.

The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

(From Multinational Corps Iraq and DoD news releases.)

BTW. It's a war crime. A capital offense. If we catch these guys we can, under international law (the great shibboleth of the MSM) stand 'em in front of a wall and shoot 'em.

Anybody heard the MSM griping about *this* war crime? C'mon, they're fair and balanced and they know the law inside and out, where's the analysis?

[crickets chirp]


I'm missing something here and if it's been covered in a previous post, I apologize. Why take them just to kill them down the road? An operation like this took some doing, what was the goal? Just to show us they could do it? No ransom. No forcing them to make political statements on video.
Thanks, John. You know how closely I've been following this story, but being a nobody makes it hard to get national attention drawn to the story. Maggie, To me, there are many messages here. 1. Our enemy knows way too much about us if they were able to impersonate our vehicles and soldiers that closely. The wanted us to know that, which is why they rubbed it in our faces by abandoning the vehicles and some of the gear with the dead soldiers. 2. The insurgents took our guys just to prove it could be done, and to make fools out of the Iraqi forces guarding the checkpoints. 3. By using vehicles that look like ours, impersonating our soldiers, and using weapons that mimic ours, they've opened up a whole new chapter in "asshat, chicken$hit ways to defeat your enemy". I'm impressed by their ability to infiltrate so successfully... UNFORTUNATELY. 4. We came, we saw, we kicked your American hiney's. The point was that security is lax enough, and the insurgents know us well enough, that they were able to carry out such an attack right under our noses. Scares the crud outta me.
If you read the report, the bad guys were being chased by the Iraq police/security forces. They killed these guys, not just because they could, but because they needed to get rid of them and make an escape. While I'm sure they would have enjoyed the huge propaganda value of having US soldiers on camera, pleading for their lives or doing the Iraqi version of the Vietnam War Criminal Confessions right before they cut off their heads or shot them like Matt Maupin, at that point, it was more important to get away and they still had a huge propaganda uptick in just having infiltrated that far and taken them in the first place. I thought about what AFSIS said, regarding leaving the clothes as a "sign", but, in light of the info that the Iraq security forces were trailing these guys, I doubt it was that well thought out. They abandoned everything, including the uniforms because they were too high profile.
I agree with Kat's here. But I'll add one more thing: I don't know Iraqi geography very well, but as I understand it they were on a straight trajectory for the border with Iran. I also don't think that abandoning everything shows it wasn't well thought-out. Rather, it could mean that something went wrong before they could get to their "safe house" and dispose of things properly and then continue on their journey.
The conversation at Blackfive regarding this attack is very interesting. FbL linked it in H&I Fires. Bottom line is... Uncle Jimbo has pegged this attack on Iranians. Very interesting revelation.
When I said "not that well thought out", I was talking about abandoning the guys and the uniforms as some sort of "plan". I don't think that was part of the "plan". It's obvious that the rest of it was well planned and rehearsed. took some big cajones and a lot of luck to pull it off.