A paradigm shift in building Bush's New World Order: damn Saddam, we are better than that
bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Tue Nov 4 23:32:48 MST 2003
When the 4-27 Field Artillery started patrolling parts of north Baghdad in
late May and June -- McKiernan did not take command until July -- its 535
soldiers found themselves under almost constant attack. The violence reached
a zenith on July 3, when a patrol was ambushed on Haifa Street, the main
thoroughfare in Karkh, by Iraqis who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a
Humvee and then opened fire with automatic weapons. Three U.S. troops were
wounded, two Iraqi bystanders were killed in the crossfire, and 14 were
Maj. Michael S. Patton, the unit's operations officer, was trying to secure
the area immediately after the shooting when his interpreter told him a man
in the crowd had some information for him. Patton sent his interpreter back
to tell the man he was going to pretend to arrest him, so that no one would
suspect he was passing information. Back at the base camp, the informant, a
cigarette vendor in his mid-forties who has lived in the neighborhood all
his life, told Patton who carried out the attack -- and Patton's troops
quickly nabbed him.
The episode made Patton understand who held the key to the battle: Iraqis in
the neighborhood. It also was the start of a beautiful relationship. To
date, the cigarette vendor has delivered 35 Iraqi resistance fighters to the
Americans. "The guy," said Patton, 37, a cigar-smoking Oklahoman, "has been
a gold mine."
A week later, Col. Ralph O. Baker took command of the 2nd Brigade, which
includes Patton's 4-27 regiment. Baker spent time as an instructor of
doctrine at the British Military Academy at Sandhurst, an assignment that
enabled him to observe British operations in Northern Ireland. It was in
Northern Ireland that he came to fully appreciate the value of
reconnaissance patrols. British troops were taught to look for something as
small as a few extra milk bottles on a porch step as a sign that Irish
Republican Army operatives might have been meeting inside. In Baghdad, he
quickly emphasized a similar approach.
Baker also brought in Maj. Lawrence D. Wilson, who had spent eight months
managing human intelligence sources in Bosnia, as the brigade's intelligence
chief. Soon, Wilson focused the brigade's three two-man tactical human
intelligence exploitation teams on managing sources, not shuffling papers.
And every Tuesday, Baker sends out an operational order to all his
battalions laying out targets of opportunity for the next seven days.
So it was that Staff Sgt. Julio Fortis, 31, from New York, led his squad on
patrol along the west bank of the Tigris River one day last week, looking
for signs that weapons were being sold in a fish market. And Sgt. 1st Class
Darryl D. Hayes Sr., 38, a tank commander from Washington, went door to door
in a high-rise apartment building in the Tashree neighborhood inhabited by
former Baath Party officials, filling out a roster of who lived in the
"Everyone is an intelligence officer -- that's sort of our theme," Patton
said. "If you're talking about a paradigm shift, this is it: You have to see
everyone you come in contact with as having intelligence value. There's
still a lot of work to be done. We learned our lessons the hard way."
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