Morning Report: May 12, 2006

Zarqawi in Baghdad: Crisis management. Kat at The Middle Ground turns a manager's eye to recently captured enemy documents from Iraq. Here's her comment on a paragraph insisting on clear near-term planning: 'One, it says they are looking at long term battle even though they talk earlier about the "quick" victories. Two, if any of you have been through business planning or management strategy sessions or even "career planning", this comment comes right off the list of things you could be sure to hear. So, whoever wrote this little outline is not some schmuck mujihadeen from a sheep farm in western Iraq or a laborer from Saudi or Syria. As usual, the people running the mujihadeen are not "disaffected poor", but educated middle class or wealthy. This fellow has definitely been to management classes or worked in a business field as at least a low to mid-level executive. Three, the outline format with brief discussion points also shows someone that has been "in business" and knows that the only way to keep his leader's attention and the worker bees below him is to be brief (make your points in five bullet points or less).' Read Kat's full, highly detailed analysis at the link. Nutshell: 'Zarqawi is on the Offensive, but reducing it down to even smaller units, fewer targets and tactics designed to preserve his forces while trying to cut off the center and continue to press the civil war issue. His only problem now is, we've got his plan and probably a lot more where that came from. ...' (TMG)

ITM: Mutlaq, Fadheela parties walk out. Iraq the Model: 'A few issues are complicating the talks; Fadheela Party announced their boycott to the negotiations of allocating cabinet posts; meanwhile Salih al-Mutlaq's Dialogue Front is most likely to stay out of the formation as well. Of course this is in addition to the already existing points of difference regarding some major posts. These two blocs comprise 26 seats in the parliament, that's roughly 10% of the legislative body of Iraq, that's why such boycotting would undermine the image of the government that bigger blocs want to be viewed as a unity government. ...' Read the rest at the link. (ITM)

Debka: Somalis flee Mogadishu. Israeli-based Debka reports: 'Hundreds of Somalis flee embattled capital, Mogadishu. Six days of fierce fighting and indiscriminate shelling have left some 120 dead, most civilians, as an alliance of warlords battles Islamist militias for control of the city. UN observers report the Islamists are gaining ground. DEBKAfile adds: Wanted al Qaeda leaders are fighting with the “Islamic courts” militias, who accuse the United States of backing the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. The US has not confirmed or denied backing the alliance of warlords but said it would "work with responsible individuals... in fighting terror.”' (Debka)

Free Alaa! Blogs across the globe support the jailed Egyptian blogger Alaa and his comrades in the struggle for freedom. Round-ups at The Belmont Club, The Middle Ground, and of course Sandmonkey who's sick and tired of playing games with the fascists. (various)

American women remember casualties. On June 23, 2005, a convoy of US Marines came under attack near Fallujah. This month's issue of Glamour covers the firefight:
... The adrenaline pumping through her body obviously masked her pain. Padmore handed her his own M16 and headed off to find other wounded marines, with the sound of Saalman firing her gun toward the insurgents ringing in his ears.

Harding, meanwhile, had rolled off the truck with only minor burns to her hand but quickly realized she, too, didn't have her weapon. With machine-gun fire all around her, she ran behind the flaming seven-ton to take cover, and there she came upon Cardile and Bringas. Both had badly burned hands, and their faces were blackened from the fire. Dazed, their throats raw from inhalation burns, they followed Harding to the shelter of a junkyard wall where other female marines were gathering.

Libby, who'd been knocked unconscious in the blast, awoke about 10 feet from the truck with her face planted in the earth. She looked up to see, inches from her nose, the unconscious body of Clark. "Come on, girl, you've got to get up," she yelled to Clark, then again, louder, "Girl, we've got to get up now." Clark didn't respond. Finally, Libby, suffering from a broken collarbone and a dislocated neck, shoved her hands under Clark's shoulders and began dragging her toward shelter. She got about eight feet before a male marine ran up and pulled her away, screaming at her to join the other female marines for her own safety. Looking behind her, her heart pounding, Libby trotted toward the wall, a horrible thought haunting each step: Was she leaving behind a fellow marine to die?

About eight minutes after the attack, there were five or six female marines huddled behind the junkyard wall. Harding, after guiding Bringas and Cardile to shelter, now started to venture out again to retrieve a body lying a few feet from the truck—and hesitated as she heard the bullets flying all around her. Then her training kicked in: Leave no one behind. It's something a marine is taught until she knows it the way she knows her home address, her best friend's phone number or the Lord's Prayer. She ran toward the body. It was a woman, but the burns and impact wounds had marred her features beyond recognition. Harding looked at the name tag on the uniform pocket. Charette. The ex-cheerleader. ...

Six US Marines - three women and three men - died in the battle. Read the full story at the link. (Glamour)

Rules of war? The Belmont Club has an unsentimental (dare we say cynical?) look at warfare: 'It's doubtful whether either the warlords or the Islamists have much regard for the Laws of War and one wonders what exactly the "U.N.-backed transitional government" actually does. British Defense Secretary John Reid created a stir by suggesting that the Geneva Convention be updated to reflect the realities of terrorism. "The legal constraints upon us have to be set against an enemy that adheres to no constraints whatsoever." It is probably fortunate that a European has posed this question because this ball really belongs in the court of the transnationalists. Any attempts to obtain realistic rules of engagement against terrorists by a US administration will be branded as fascistic.' Wretchard's closing question generates some creative responses in the Comments. (Belmont Club)

E-mail of the day. From Jonah's Military Guys: "You guys don't get PTSD, you GIVE it.. You're carriers. Some jihadist is going to be waking up with a cold sweat 30 years from now having nightmares about YOU." (Argghhh!)

Photo of the week. Blackfive has a Marine patrol boat on the Euphrates. (Blackfive)