[Marxism] News from the glorious offensive in Western Iraq

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Thu May 12 04:33:49 MDT 2005

At least 100 insurgents killed, and just in the first few hours of the
offensive. That was the cynical lie Monday from the occupation headquarters
in Baghdad about a long-prepared Marine operation to clear an area of Iraq
where U.S. forces hadn't been seen for a year or more (which, in itself,
tells you something).

The truth, as it turns out, is rather different.

We're finding out about the demise of the "Lucky Lima" platoon and the
ambushes one of its squads stumbled into because they happen to have a
reporter embedded with them who is willing to tell at least some of the
story straight.

It also suggests a great deal about the morale and leadership of the "anti
Iraqi forces," as those fighting for their homeland are called by the
foreign invader. 

A small group --perhaps only a couple of guys-- tied up the gathering
foreign force in a town that was already supposedly secure before the start
of the offensive, giving the rest --local villagers-- time to take refuge
and prepare ambushes.

*  *  *

Demise of a Hard-Fighting Squad
Marines Who Survived Ambush Are Killed, Wounded in Blast

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, May 12, 2005; A01

HABAN, Iraq, May 11 -- The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in
flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the
Euphrates River near the Syrian border.

Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off
running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the
destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the
flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside,
rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.

Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley emerged from the smoke and turmoil around the
vehicle, circling toward the spot where helicopters would later land to pick
up casualties. As he passed one group of Marines, he uttered one sentence:
"That was the same squad."

Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device
erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members
of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a
house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed
and five were wounded.

In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had
ceased to be.

Every member of the squad -- one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of
Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment -- had been killed or wounded,
Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon -- which Hurley commands -- had
sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.

"They used to call it Lucky Lima," said Maj. Steve Lawson, commander of the


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