Sunday, September 18, 2005

Billmon: the new fragging

Billmon surveys the latest on that other disaster:
You may recall that in early August six Marine snipers were ambushed and wiped out in Anbar province, near the insurgent-infested city of Haditha. It was a humiliating blow -- Marine snipers are supposed to hunt, not be hunted -- although it was quickly overshadowed by an even bigger humiliation when 14 Marines riding in an antiquated amphibious vehicle (in the middle of the desert!) were blown up in the same neighborhood.

But the destruction of those Marine sniper teams may have been even more ominous than it appeared at the time. Military analyst William Lind, who has excellent sources inside the Corps, says he's been told that the snipers were attacked and killed by the Iraqi unit they were attached to.

Lind also says he's not been able to confirm that report. But if it's true -- or if other Marines even think its true -- the implications for Iraqification are stark. How do you "stand up" an Army when you can't risk turning your back on the troops once they stand up?

One of the many signs the Vietnam mission was doomed was the practice of fragging. This 21st century version is even scarier, because it is impersonal, and will go a long way all by itself toward dooming the Iraqization effort.


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