Monday, March 07, 2005

Firing at Cars

The nonsense about Italian communist journalist Giuliana Sgrena summed up very thoroughly by Joe Gandleman of The Moderate Voice needs a few words about firing on speeding cars. In his book Thunder Run, the Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad, by David Zucchino writes about the armored column which penetrated and held Saddam's Baghdad palace, and the horribly fierce fighting at the intersections known as Objectives Curly, Larry and Moe. They are funny now, and the namer of those intersections had a sense of humor. But they will be remembered in as somber and respectful tones as TheHill Fights or any other fierce combat. (My apologies to any veterans reading, no slurs by omission intended. I've read The Hill Fights, it came to mind. I could have said Little Round Top, Bloody Nose Ridge or...). But read these few paragraphs:

"Cyclone Company had been at the circle for just five minutes when a white car streaked across the bridge, bearing down on the traffic circle. Barry could see three men inside. One of them was pointing a machine gun out a window. Barry gave the order to fire. Three tanks opened up, including Barry's own Abrams. The sedan caught fire and crashed. Two men climbed out and both went down, killed instantly by coax. Thirty seconds later, a white Jeep Cherokee sped down the bridge span. Coax and .50-caliber rounds shattered the windshield. The Cherokee exploded. The Fireball was huge-so big that Barry was certain the vehicle had been loaded with explosives. He knew the difference between a burning car and the detonating of explosives. This was a suicide car.

And they kept coming-sedans, pickups, a Chevy Caprice, three cars in the first ten minutes, six more right after that. The tanks destroyed them all. It was incomprehensible. Barry kept thinking: "What the hell is wrong with these people?" They were trying to ram cars into tanks. It was futile-absolutely senseless. It was like they wanted to die, and as spectacularly as possible. Barry hated slaughtering them, and that's what it was-slaughter. They were the enemy-at least the ones he could see-but it gave Barry no pleasure to kill them. It got worse when smoke from burning vehicles made it difficult to see through the thermals and determine whether the people in the vehicles were armed.

Some of the gunners were distressed by the carnage. They tried to follow the rules of engagement for dealing with oncoming vehicles: first fire into the roadway, then into the engine block, and then, if the car kept coming, into the windshield to kill the driver. The gunners hoped the cars would stop and turn around after the first shots into the roadway,but they kept coming, and the gunners kept killing them."

Look at that fire control discipline!! Who will now tell us that car was fired on with no warning! That irrelevant Italian, a shame to all who carry that heritage.

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