Tuesday, November 09, 2004

# Posted 4:01 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

AN UGLY MESS IN FALLUJA? Matt Yglesias points to this NYT article by Dexter Filkins as evidence of how tough and dangerous urban combat is.

Filkins article recaps the most important reasons that urban warfare is so tough: the uselessness of high-tech weapons in confusing terrain, the ability of a small local force to hold off a much larger number of outsiders, unexpected obstacles to movement, etc.

As a result, the offensive Filkins describes became "bogged down" (hint, hint)and
For a time, this frightening urban battlefield became a pulsing cacophony of strange and deadly sounds.
But notice the one really important thing that is missing from Filkins story: American casualties. Or for that matter, Iraqi government casualties. There will undoubtedly be some. It's just hard to make the case that urban warfare is hell on earth if its no more dangerous than your average daylight patrol in Baghdad.

UPDATE: The WaPo reports that 10 American and 2 Iraqi government soldiers have been killed so far in the battle for Fallujah. The general tone of the article is extremely upbeat, but relies almost entirely on quotations from Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, commander of US ground forces in Iraq.

UPDATE: Matt now says we all should've known that the battle would've been this easy, because guerrillas always avoid direct confrontations with better-armed foes. Come on, Matt, even John Kerry didn't flip-flop that fast.
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