[Marxism] Re: Elusive sniper saps U.S. morale in Baghdad

Nick Halliday halliday.nick at gmail.com
Sun Aug 7 23:04:01 MDT 2005

RE: Message 14 of  Digest Volume 22 Issue 18

B. Shannon:

>>Today�s NPR weekend edition has an interview with Mike
Heidingsfield, of the State Department�s civilian police advisory
mission. I only caught part of it, but the issue of U.S. snipers being
killed came up here, too. The interviewer, Scott ??? indicated that he
was surprised that U.S. snipers had been picked off by Iraqi snipers.
Heideingsfield replied that this was a common feature of the war,
particularly in large cities such as Baghdad, which had a lot of
abandoned buildings.>>

No doubt the snipers/counter-snipers think they have a secure
perimeter but they don't, so they get picked off. The goal is to use a
closer range to ambush people, including snipers, and that might be a
suicide mission, but the point is to take out as many of the other
side before they get you. I doubt if the Resistance has many sniper
rifles that can out-range what the US troops have. But if they got
them, it wouldn't take that much training. Remember, the Resistance
has got nimbly fingered boys shooting down helicopters with the more
advanced type RPGs.

However, this mystique of invincibility (and even nostalgia for the
'good war') on the US side is the same Reagan-era bullshit that
brought back battleships so the USN could shell Lebanon. Perhaps the
newly revived art of sniper-countersniper warfare has been revived as
part of the US's mostly half-assed attempts to get their troops up to
snuff to do 'urban warfare'--which so far, predictably enough, has
meant hiding behind mini-bases and trying to look mean while on
patrol--and calling in airstrikes when that fails to impress.
Sniping-countersniping was never much a part of my training in
infantry for combat with 'threat' forces in the 80s, but perhaps its
supposed to be part of 'low level' conflict and a conflict which has
no 'front line' but is not an all-out battle either (like the British
troops occupying the northern part of Ireland).

>>Our level of knowledge about small-arms combat is due to the
results, which are probably relatively high in casualties other than
death. In other words, in Iraq it is part of the war consciousness of
soldier, but it is not part of our awareness as civilians.>>

Since the second world war, US military doctrine has been to put
everything on vehicles and add a lot of firepower. Which inherently
creates a need for a huge quartermaster to keep everyting rolling. So
it should be no surprise that the Resistance has chosen to attack
military convoys (many of them not in 'frontline' combat operations)
--nor is it surprising that a lot of US casualties are friendly fire
or troops getting airstrikes called in on themselves (not really an
accident on the part of the guys dropping the bombs, but the guys
calling it in). Lethality belongs to the US side, and they use it
quite indiscriminately in the 'fog of war'. So even when they don't
really mean to take reprisals, when under stress and fire they quite
typically kill a lot of civilians / non-combatants.

>>The original sniper article is from The Guardian, which should be
checked out from time to time. It is not exactly mainstream, although
it is certainly an important capitalist paper. I don�t think the
purpose behind the article was to put up a single sniper as a strawman
who, once defeated �the war is won.� (Nick). >>

Well the Guardian is a mix of a bit old left with a lot of liberal and
establishment hogwash, just like any big new organisation that is
still in business after Thatcher-Major-Blair. It's mainstream. It's
sister publication, the Observer, was officially pro-war, how nice and
balanced!I wouldn't use the term 'strawman', but the title of the
article speaks for itself (perhaps suggested by information from a
handler from CentCom about a lone sniper named Juju or whatever, what
silliness, why not 'Ali don't surf for his hamburger mama!'). And when
articles like that or like the one about Rumsfeld or someone talking
about shaped charges (classic anti-armour warfare from way back)
coming from Hizbollah, of course the propaganda effort here is to talk
reassuringly about known unknowns and evil outside influences, with
Hizbollah linked strongly to both Syria and Iran in Rumsfeldspeak
(hence the new concept: THE FIGHT FOR IRAQ!).


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