Saturday, March 25, 2006

What hath Swarmer wrought? 
Well, according to the excellent Bill Roggio - who's doing the job the press SHOULD be doing - Swarmer hath wrought quite a bit:

North of Baghdad, Operation Swarmer concludes after six days of sustained operations in the farmlands northeast of Samarra. CENTCOM reports Swarmer resulted in "104 suspected insurgents currently being detained and questioned, and 24 caches discovered," and breaks down the results of the weapons caches:

- Six shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles
- Over 350 mortar rounds and three mortar systems
- 26 artillery rounds
- A variety of IED-making materials and other military items
- Over 120 rockets
- Over 3200 rounds of small-arms ammunition
- 86 rocket-propelled grenades and 28 launchers
- Six landmines
- 12 hand grenades and 40 rifle grenades
- 34 rifles and machineguns of various types
- 1 partridge in a pear tree

It seems Swarmer wasn't the fizzled Potemkin operation some made it out to be. Coalition forces have also been conducting a sustained counterinsurgency sweep on the Jabouri Peninsula near Balad. This is a combined U.S. and Iraqi operation made up of the 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division. Bomb making material, weapons and ammunition have been discovered, along with four SA-14 surface-to-air missiles.

Also, South of Samarra, Coalition forces killed four al-Qaeda and detained one during a raid against a High Value Target described as a "a top al-Qaida in Iraq cell leader who controls a large number of al-Qaida in Iraq associates in the Samarra/Balad area."

Ok, I added the partridge in a pear tree. But that's the only thing I made up.

Look, Operation Swarmer was a significant success. The six hand-held anti-aircraft missiles - and the ADDITIONAL four SA-18 surface-to-air missiles - are a big deal all by themselves. Plus, we took a whole company of Ali Baba off of the battlefield.

Also, the experience and confidence gained by the Iraqi army, and the valuable experience they get planning and staffing an air assault operation, develops leaders, and will be a force multiplier for them down the road.

All this without loss to our side.

But for all that Swarmer wrought, all we see at Time Magazine is rot: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled: Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing

Sun Tzu wrote: "To win without fighting is the acme of skill."

Maybe it's time for Time to get some reporters who understand what the hell they're looking at, because these guys sure as hell don't. Or their editors don't know how to assess what they're seeing. Either way, Time Magazine serves its readers very poorly with tripe like this.

Splash, out


Complaining that there wasn't a shot fired is like calling a polie swat team ineffective because they don't always go into a drug raid with guns blazing...
Those weapons caches don't seem especially impressive. That's all that 1500 guys could find in 6 days?
What benchmark would you suggest, big guy? Based on what?
How many insurgent attacks do you think that amount of ordnance represents? Doesn't look like a lot to me. 34 rifles with less than 100 rounds each, wow, color me unimpressed.

If it took 1500 guys to deny weapons and ammo for, say, 30 bad guys for a week or two, how impressed should we be? How hard is it for them to replace that lost equipment? From what I hear, AKs are a dime a dozen over there, and mortars and explosives aren't a lot harder to come by.
Heck, I usually shoot 500 rounds at the range every weekend - losing 3200 rounds would shut me down for over a month. =D
The list published here does not include the intelligence collected - documents, computers, etc.

While Swarmer got some good stuff, it's likely the operation was not as successful at it could have been. It's highly likely the operation was tipped off, either by Iraqi soldiers involved, Iraqi politicians briefed on the operation, or by the previous raids that developed the intelligence tha led to Swarmer. The operation was still worth it due to the training and experience gained by the Iraqis who participated.

By the way, there were no US, coalition, Iraqi or civilian casualties reported while rounding up about a hundred bad guys.

Even then, the mortars, rockets, and artillery rounds captured represent several hundred IEDs - the deadliest tactic the bad guys have against us.

Another thing that's not reported here are the hidden benefits. If the bad guys were tipped off and ran, then they exposed themselves to other operations, such as the raids in/around Balad & Baquba the same week. It also meant they weren't planning and coordinating attacks while they were running.

Rakassans done good.
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