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"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."-Winston S. Churchill

"The wandering scholars were bound by no lasting loyalties, were attached by no sentiment of patriotism to the states they served and were not restricted by any feeling of ancient chivalry. They proposed and carried out schemes of the blackest treachery."-C.P. Fitzgerald.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The March Up Country...One Year on.... 

This week, the forces of Sunni and Shi'a extremism, abetted by foreign intelligence services and the local Al Qaeda, have staged attacks on U.S. forces throughout the Sunni Triangle and in some areas of southern Iraq. With that in mind, it is instructive to watch how the United States Army and Marine Corps handled the conquest of Baghdad a year ago...

"Fight's On!"



A Freeper with the call sign Rokke was stationed at Doha a year ago during the war. He was a liason between the Air Force and ground units. As the Third Infantry Division approached the Karbala Gap, he told me that he had been witness to a conference video call with Tommy Franks and his field commanders. The field officers were chafing at the leash, they were so confident and ready to go.

Franks let them go. Third Division advanced on the "Karbala Gap", the strip of land between the holy city of Karbala and the Euphrates River. As they moved to contact the Iraqi defense perimeter, Rokke sent me an email. It read, simply, "Fight's on!"

The 3/7th Cav and the Third Division fought the Republican Guard on the 25th of April, in a howling sandstorm. Having repulsed an Iraqi advance, Third Division moved to encircle enemy troops at Najaf the following day. The Iraqis attempted to reinforce the defensive line but both Guard columns were heavily damaged by air attacks from Naval Aviation and Tactical Air. In each case, superior training, equipment, and leadership turned the tide in favor of the Coalition.

Meantime, the Fedayeen Saddam and the Special Republican Guard continued to make suicide attacks against the Marines. Each time, noncommissioned officers and trained Marine infantry turned back the Ba'athist troops. As the Third Army approached Baghdad, the attacks became much more desperate.

By the first week in April, the Third Army was within thirty miles of Baghdad. The regime was on its last legs.

Within days, the world would witness a new technique in urban warfare. It would be called the "Thunder Run".

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