In the history of warfare, it has always been indirect fire that has wielded terror over the walls of fortified cities. Whether it was scores of arrows flying over the walls, catapults launching balls of fire, or those same catapults throwing large stones to degrade heavily fortified walls — the precursor to modern-day artillery – indirect fire has always been used against built-up areas to reduce and instill terror in the occupants behind the walls. And so it has been through the years — and as a professional artillery officer, I dutifully studied the effective use of artillery.
So what is happening now in our modern day? Some say ISIS doesn’t have the wherewithal to “sack” Baghdad — but the question is, do they have to?
Somehow, ISIS has been able to continue offensive operations even in the face of the Obama airstrikes – which have been clearly ineffective. As we’ve written here, ISIS has closed within miles of Baghdad – as close as 5km (3.1 miles). ISIS is already running suicide bombers into Baghdad, which similar to the German bombing of London, can have the same terrorizing effect.
But in a worse scenario, what if from fortified positions, ISIS just aligned its artillery to rain down shells upon Baghdad? Remember ISIS has captured artillery from the fleeing Iraqi Army with a capability of firing at max effective range around 18kms (11 miles). And if there are Sunni leaders who have defected to ISIS and have training, then they’re competent to fire those artillery pieces — or they could even use high elevation on tank main guns and use them to fire into the outskirts of Baghdad. I don’t believe we’ve deployed counter-artillery radar systems on the ground into Baghdad.
And we don’t have “boots on the ground” in a combat role that could target or even conduct direct action attacks against ISIS forces arrayed against Baghdad – it’s kinda hard to chase ISIS to the gates of hell when Obama says he ain’t having it!
And just in case you think I’m making this all up, well, check out this tidbit. As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, “The United States appears to be losing its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) in Iraq and Syria, experts say, as the jihadist group adapts to U.S. airstrikes and advances toward Baghdad and a strategic town on the Syrian-Turkish border. McClatchy reported on Friday that ISIL had established an operational presence in Abu Ghraib — you remember that place about which the New York Times ran countless front-page stories? — a town within miles of the capital Baghdad that could enable the militants to shell the Baghdad International Airport with artillery. The airport serves as a key transit point for Western embassies and houses a joint operations center with U.S. military advisers. A Defense Department spokeswoman said there were no indications yet that ISIL had taken over Abu Ghraib (yeah, like we’re going to believe anything emanating from the Obama administration).”
You see, when you telegraph your intentions to the enemy, they adapt — at least the smart ones do — unlike the intransigent president we have in America.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that ISIL fighters have adopted new tactics to evade airstrikes and retain control of territory, including avoiding the use of cell phones and radios, removing their leaders and weapons from bases in Syria, and blending in with the civilian population. Why? Because the enemy knows the U.S. has severely restrictive rules of engagement and without special operators on the ground providing accurate targeting data, Obama will just continue bombing empty buildings.
I don’t believe ISIS can completely take over Baghdad. I’ve been there and I’m quite sure they don’t want a Stalingrad-type failure. However, ISIS can have a degrading effect on Baghdad — a perspective shared by Wayne Hsieh, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and a former State Department official who served in Iraq.
According to the Washington Free Beacon he said “things are not going well.” Hsieh said he did not believe Baghdad was close to falling to ISIL, but added that sustained attacks on the airport there would pose a serious threat to supplies for Western embassies and the U.S. military personnel that are stationed there. He questioned why the United States had not provided arms to the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish forces battling ISIL in Kobani that previously helped save tens of thousands of Yazidis in Iraq” — questions I’d ask as well, and isn’t it “funny” how our media is not and fully accepts the trite responses of White House, State, or Defense Department spokespersons.
And in a move that demonstrates the level of incompetence, the Beacon reports “U.S. forces also used Apache AH-64 attack helicopters for the first time over the weekend to strike ISIS militants near Fallujah.”
Helicopters are more vulnerable to small arms fire and missiles than warplanes. You don’t use attack helicopters in solo strikes without ground combat forces engaging. In Desert Storm, we used deep attack Apache operations to take out Saddam’s aerial warning radars, paving the way for the fixed wing aircraft to attack deeper targets. But one of the missions assigned to our rocket artillery was to provide what is called SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) fires along the aircraft infiltration and exfiltration routes and as well to provide preparatory fires at their ABPs (Aerial Battle Positions). Only a dumbass would send in AH-64s without SEAD coverage — which we all know we don’t have on the ground.
The bottom line is, the quasi-military operation being conducted in Iraq and Syria that has no name is a farce. It is a complete violation of every single principle of war — but then again, Obama doesn’t want to call it that so I guess he and Valerie Jarrett are doing just fine.
Hate to burst the bubble of you progressive socialists, but Obama doesn’t have a freakin’ clue as to what he’s doing — and the results are proven, ISIS hasn’t been degraded, and there’s not a snowball’s change in hell ISIS will be defeated – let alone destroyed by this charlatan and rank amateur Obama.