See evil. This goes to May 14th when the U.S. military does surveillance and gets all the proper details: how many truck bombs, how many ISIS fighters came in, how many guns. How the attacks formed up.

Then they did nothing about it. Same on the 15th. On the 16th after a slaughter of civilians, F-18s dropped load. Too little, too late.

NY Times reported the obvious in the 26th:

(May 15th, after the main battle, saw) convoys of heavily armed Islamic State fighters paraded triumphantly through the streets of the provincial capital Ramadi in western Iraq after forcing Iraqi troops to flee. They rolled on unscathed by coalition fighter-bombers.

American and allied warplanes are equipped with the most precise aerial arsenal ever fielded. But American officials say they are not striking significant, and obvious, Islamic State targets….

Confirmation from Eli Lake at BloombergView:

The U.S. watched Islamic State fighters, vehicles and heavy equipment gather on the outskirts of Ramadi before the group retook the city in mid-May. But the U.S. did not order airstrikes against the convoys before the battle started. It left the fighting to Iraqi troops, who ultimately abandoned their positions.

U.S. intelligence and military officials told me recently, on the condition of anonymity, that the U.S. had significant intelligence about the pending Islamic State offensive in Ramadi. For the U.S. military, it was an open secret even at the time.

The Iraqi defenders died in place. Victims of large and utterly enormous truck bombs. Otherwise, that much is spot on.

Failing to interdict the May 14th attack counts are failure # 1. Same time, not one message was sent to the Ramadi police or the Baghdad government or their military as the ISIS attack groups headed down the road into Ramadi. The Baghdad government has responded with public denunciation of this failure.

Not one attack plane was flighted out of the U.S. run Al Asad air base to attack the ISIS truck bomb force.

Not one JDAM was dropped to stop them coming in or to cut off the attack.

Not a single U.S. bullet was fired.

Not one missile was fired off a drone. Despite that multiple U.S. drones fly over Al Anbar continuously, 24/7/365.

Nothing was done despite the duty assignment. Despite standing Orders of the Day postings.

Then a cover story was created blaming the Iraqi soldiers for losing Ramadi. American politicians and media people lined up to sell the story. Iraqis are cowards.

But today an analysis of the May 14th and May 15th actions showed that the ISF soldiers fought just like U.S. Marines in 2006 and 2008 up against similar forces. They held ground until truck bombs took them out. Iraqis and Marines equally.

The ISF units at Ramadi that were recalled to their bases went there as fast as they could. It takes a twisted belief in lying to turn that into cowardly retreats.

Losing Ramadi required a cover story. It worked. So far it has worked.

We learned at Abu Ghraib what American authoritarians think about Iraq and Iraqis.

“Fuck Iraq”

The city of Ramadi is inside the 120 mile surveillance perimeter that CENTCOM operates out of Al Asad. Between UAVs and manned aircraft, satellites and sensor coverage the hundred-plus vehicles in the ISIS convoys on the 14th had to stand out like a year of full moons at the blackness of astronomical sunset.

There was no shortage of military assets. CENTCOM had A/10/Warthog/Hogs and C-130s out on the line 50 miles from Ramadi. Fighters on call. Chops in various denominations. 10 minutes to target for the fixed wings.

Wasting Convoys

We know how to do this work. We can waste a convoy. We're Americans and if anything we know how to kill people.

Consider the ISIS truck and personnel carrier chains as they rolled down the road. They were out there on the road. Perfect targets for Close Air Support (CAS) attack. This is one model for what could have been thrown to them:
– –

– –
Highway of Death, 1991. Bust up the lead vehicles then waste 'em all.
– –

– –
C-130s and A-10s. Steve Curry shot rolls of this mess.
– –  

– –
How'd that get in there?

That's the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72.) Coincidentally, same hull as the “Mission Accomplished” photo op with George W. Bush in 2003. It's a fake.

But any question “FUCK IRAQ” represents the Perpetual War attitude?

Let It Happen

Nothing happened on the U.S. side two weeks ago. Nothing happened apart from an exercise in Let It Happen.

Based on interview content from Bloomberg and USA Today, CENTCOM and the Al Asad (Ain Assad) air base commands watched drone images as the Ramadi assault developed. They had to have the imagery to know what ISIS brought to the party. They had to have the imagery to kn ow the attack sequences.

Watch. Don't interfere.

“Show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe” seems to apply. What else? Murdering dumbass towel-heads is a sport. Letting them murder each other? Big whoop.

Establishment mavens starting with SecDef Ashton Carter push a party line blaming the Iraqis. He's the Very Serious Person who said of Ramadi's defenders that:

“I hope they develop the will to fight.”

The party line goes on to pump up ISIS:

“They achieved success because they overmatched tactically and operationally with mass, surprise and maneuver — and it caught everyone off-guard.”

That's from Army Col.-Ret. Derek Harvey, formerly a staffer for David Petraeus.

The both of them are willful liars. ISIS won at Ramadi because they were allowed to transport bulldozers and 15-ton trucks for very large scale suicide bomb attacks.

“The Iraqis turned and ran.”

Echoed by Bob Shieffer just now on Meet the Press. Bullshit.

The Battle

No surprise, the battle did not look like that. In fact it looked like actions that our own Marines faced in 2006 and 2008 at Ramadi. Iraqi defenders died exactly as U.S. Marines died.

ISIS attack groups formed up in chains. 30 truck bombs, total. 80 tons of  high explosives. Delivery accomplished for the anti-aircraft guns and 200 fresh fighters.  

During the initial attack on May 14th ISIS/Daesh used most of 20 of the ordinary bulldozer and armored-truck bombs to wipe out defensive positions. The targets were Iraqi Security Force check points, machine gun and small cannon bunkers. Each of these suicide bombs delivered an estimated ton of high explosive. Kill radius for exposed human beings: approximately 200 meters.

There's nothing inconspicuous about heavy trucks hauling bulldozers on flatbed trailers. Same for the signature Toyota Task Force attack group layout, featuring the ISIS pickups sporting black flags. Same for the huge 15-ton capacity delivery trucks with armored cabs.

[“Not inconspicuous.” Similar to taking a walk in a public park with a 2-pound goshawk on your glove. See to Helen Macdonald for more about that. A falconer, she presents a unique understanding of death and natural murder.]

Then consider the 10 super-size bombs.

“Block busters” estimated at 15,000 pounds of high explosive per 15-ton capacity vehicle. These weapons destroyed whole city blocks at the Government Center complex. Same for other key locations such as the central police station. ISIS/DAESH armored these heavy trucks to assure they could get through small arms fire. Figure half armor, half explosive for the load weights.

The background is meter-thick reinforced concrete hebco thrown like dominoes.

At the Government Center the first phase killed 15 defenders. They died like Yale and Haerter, considered below.

The big blasts that followed killed another 45 and only that because the perimeter defenders had sold their lives dear enough to facilitate an orderly retreat. Reportedly, a few of the 45 continued to return fire after getting hit with the big shock waves.

I do not have an estimate for the kill radius from these 15,000 pound bombs. What was the explosive? How was it packed? We do know they didn't have thermobarics. There's that. That is twice the mass of the DIY bomb that took out the Murrah office building at Oklahoma City in 1995.

Stand Your Ground and You Die

The American experience takes us to April 22, 2008 when 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines Cpl. Jonathan Yale and 1st Battalion, 9th Marines Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter gave it up to stop an “AQI”/al Qaeda 1-ton suicide truck. “AQI” is now ISIS. They saved approximately 250 Americans and Iraqis sleeping in a barracks. The two Marines received posthumous Navy Crosses. Families got the blood money. Yale and Haerter:

April 22, 2008.

If there's any such thing as a hero, they are heroes. A 2013 petition at the White House web site got 4,503 signatures requesting the Medal of Honor for them. I wish I had known about that petition to sign it.

Defaming the dead is quite the fad in Washington. John McCain said… fuck it, he doesn't deserve our attention.

Same difference. Americans and Iraqis.

Charles Krauthammer: “The Iraqi army flees.” That's notable, even interesting because it maintains his perfect record for getting every single statement about the Middle East wrong. He's more reliable than sunrise. Time comes he says that Mecca is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I'm off to check the map.

It's what you have to expect. The chickenshits, the bribe-takers bad mouth the brave.

Drone Wars

Intel from U.S. aerial surveillance is big bidniss. Predator and now Reaper cost $60,000,000 apiece.

They carry two Hellfire missiles each and we have data from 2007/2008 showing 244 firings in Afghanistan and Iraq. USAF drones are nothing if not lethal.

The big advantage to these weapons over manned planes is they stay on duty (“loiter”) up to 14 hours at a watch cycle. In depth defense for the Al Asad air base is deployed 24/7/365 with drone redundancy in concentric areas out to 120 miles distance. We know that from drone hits out to the west. That defensive deployment covers all of Ramadi as well as the roadways coming in and out.

No question, tossing Hellfires at these ISIS truck bomb chains would have slowed things down.

Add intel sharing to the mix and Iraq Security Force would have had time in hand to roll out their tanks. The plan in place was to take on an approaching ISIS/DAESH attack group outside the city.

Tanks are better than trucks. For brewing each other up, anyway. Tanks have to survive RPGs but otherwise a group of three tanks are a lock to hold road against what ISIS brought to Ramadi.


The United States still has primary responsibility for aerial warfare in Al Anbar province. That's everything from CAS to drones to satellite surveillance. Iran shares the surveillance tasks with the U.S. in northern Iraq and the Kurdish areas there and in Syria.

Ramadi has been the top priority fighting ISIS in Anbar. Major parts of the city have changed hands at least four times in the last year. That's since spring of 2014 when the first units of ISIS/Daesh rolled in from Syria.

Local males in their teens and twenties show up by the hundreds for pro-ISIS rallies. There is no stopping that. The Black Flag symbol sprouts repeatedly. ISIS has been winning.

Everybody loves a winner.

How Goes the War ?

We are a democracy, So everything is “we.” “We” let this happen. Same as Abu Ghraib,  “we” let it happen.

And yeah, what happened leaked out. Consolidate content from Bloomberg and USA Today interviews and the Pentagon briefers: it is crystal clear that the U.S. had those chains of trucks tagged driving toward Ramadi .

Same time, Mosul is surrounded with 4,000 ISIS in the bag. That and there are another 1,500 of their troops are bottled up at the Little Zeb River basin. That's from the 7,000-man invasion force that came down from Syria last June, plus maybe 4,000 reinforcements that came down or were recruited locally over the year.

Things are going badly for ISIS/DAESH in the north. 5,500 down, 5,500 to go.

Suffering a major defeat at Ramadi, the capital city of Al Anbar could have been the start of a series of collapses for ISISD/DAESH in Iraq.

Didn't happen.


What else?

When push came to shove and ISIS/DAESH needed a surprise attack, they got it. Folks owning shares in the Perpetual War Industry went to their dinner reservations with smiles on their faces.

That is not going to hold up. The two pockets at Mosul and at the Little Zeb River basin are under siege. After the training exercise at Tikrit, the coalition has all they need for CCCI to complete surround-and-annihilate:

That's 4,000 fighters and 1,500 fighters, overwhelmingly foreigners from North Africa, the Stans, and Arabia. If the coalition take them prisoner and fail to execute them, that will be an unexpected change.

For now our corporate media have ISIS rampant.

Read the news and the 200 fighters from the May 14-17 battle are a threat to advance on Baghdad and threaten the south of the country. They're 10-feet tall. They're blue steel.

Perpetual War never loses. Not in America's press.

Assuming the war fighting operation up north influences/designs the response at Ramadi that leads to a surround phase. The 40-some militias in the coalition have access to professional staff work. As they move to Ramadi we should expect them to copy what worked at al-Qusayr, Amerli, Jurf al-Sakhar and Tikrit.

Kill 'em all and this little war is over.

America's Perpetual War lobbyists talk up a “push ISIS out of Iraq” formula. Thankfully there's nobody in Iraq dumb enough to go along with it.

Lessons Learned

Abu Ghraib. Ramadi.

What more you need to know?

Long term the big point out of Abu Ghraib was that the military commanders and the CIA torture crews got off clear. Fucking up Iraqis is AOK.


Re-read this article slowly if you didn't quite get it.

Same difference. And what matters most is recorded on video, suitable for Arabic subtitles.

  • June 1, 2015