22 June, 2021


Rumsfeld's reliance on a high-tech war gets early jolts from Saddam's bush tactics

In the race to Baghdad, the world's most high-tech military is facing old-style, low-tech resistance. Guerrilla tactics, rearguard action and ambushes by Iraqi militias have thrown nasty surprises, harassed supply lines and slowed the advance of US and British troops in this war of "liberation". Lightly armed irregular units spread among civilians—"fidayeen Saddam"—have already brought back nightmare visions from Northern Ireland for the British. The cities of Basra and Umm Qasr, declared "secure" by the Pentagon on the third day of attacks, were bubbling with Iraqi forces launching attacks even after eight days. Pictures of frightened American pows on television didn't help nor did the Iraqi campaign to highlight civilian casualties. Ten days into the war, optimistic scenarios about widespread desertions, inspired coups, timely rebellions in a restive population and a swift resolution seem misplaced—the aura of invincibility tarnished somewhat.

It was as if the war suddenly became real. Iraqi resistance was "fierce" and unconventional—false surrender flags, shootouts...

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