War Reporting

Battlefield Journalism:

Another Russian piece, from the Sage of Knoxville. Why can't we get war reporting like this? From The Moscow Times:

The Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah outnumbered the Marines and were armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles, RPG-7 antitank grenade launchers and mortars. Chechen fighters used the same weapons in Grozny in 1995, 1996 and 2000, killing thousands of Russian soldiers and destroying hundreds of armored vehicles.

Just like the Russians in Grozny, the Marines last week were supported by tanks and attack helicopters, but the end result was entirely different. U.S. forces did not bomb the city indiscriminately. The Iraqis fought well but were massacred. According to the latest body count, some 600 Iraqis died and another 1,000 were wounded. The Marines lost some 20 men.

The Marines are far better trained, of course, but the Iraqis were fighting in their hometown. The decisive difference between the two sides was the extensive use of a computerized command, control and targeting system by the U.S. military. Satellites, manned and unmanned aircraft collected precise information on enemy and friendly movements on the battlefield night and day.

Modern U.S. field commanders have real-time access to this system, allowing them to monitor the changing situation on the battlefield as no commander in the history of war has been able to do. This technology has greatly enhanced the effectiveness of aerial bombardments in the last decade. And now the nature of house-to-house combat has changed as well.

The more accurate historical analogy to the current war in Iraq is not Vietnam but, say, the battle at Omdurman, Sudan, in 1898, when Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a British field marshal, crushed the Sudanese forces of al-Mahdi by bringing machine guns to bear against the enemy's muskets and spears.

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