March 17, 2006

Operation Swarmer: a "Pyrrhic Failure?"

Hatched by Sachi

The Antique Media's ability to spin a successful operation into a failure never ceases to amaze me.

In an article in today's Time Magazine, Brian Bennett and Al Jallam claim that Operation Swarmer -- the operation just undertaken by the Iraqi Army and the 101st Airborne -- "fizzled," simply because it did not live up to the exciting fantasy that Time mistakenly expected.

Evidently, Time anticipated a spectacular fireworks show that could make a four-color cover, with missiles and Willie Pete and maybe a couple of MOABs (or at least puny, little Daisy Cutters).

But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war.... In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.

Time complains that planes and helicopters didn't come screaming in like a World War II strafing run. But this operation was never supposed to be an airstrike; it was an air assault, a fact that even Time itself supposedly understood. The part I clipped out above with the elipses is this parenthetical explanation:

("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.)

In other words, Time already knew that we weren't planning a huge, Clintonian barrage of missiles all over the place, blowing up wedding parties and Boy Sprout jamborees with glorious abandon. Operation Swarmers was, according to Wretchard of the Belmont Club, a cordon and search operation... which is exactly what the Iraqi Army and the Americans did. And they found a bunch of weaponry and a lot of potential insurgents, making this a very, very successful "fizzle":

Iraqi and U.S. troops on the ground had netted 48 suspected insurgents, 17 of which had already been cleared and released.

This means 31 suspects are still in custody, formerly dangerous terrorists who now are nothing more than intelligence sources for us. Plus, they made it clear that no place in Iraq can be considered "safe" for terrorists... that we and the Iraqi Army can hit anybody anywhere.

The operation, which doubled the population of the flat farmland in one single airlift, was initiated by intelligence from Iraq security forces, says Lt Col Skip Johnson commander of the 187 Battallion, 3rd Combat Brigade of the 101st Airborne. "They have the lead," he said to reporters at the second stop of the tour....

With the Interior Ministry's Samarra commando battalion, the soldiers had found some 300 individual pieces of weaponry like mortars, rockets and plastic explosives in six different locations inside the sparsely populated farming community of over 50 square miles and about 1,500 residents. The raids also uncovered high-powered cordless telephones used as detonators in homemade bombs, medical supplies and insurgent training manuals.

Note that in this air assault, the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police (the "Interior Ministry's Samarra commando battalion") raided together, just as promised as part of the brokered deal to regain control of the police. As we reported Wednesday:

As for the Shiite militia attacking Sunni citizens, there has been an amazing new development: the Iraqi Defense and Interior ministries announced yesterday that from now on, anti-terrorist raids will be conducted with the Iraqi Army and the police operating together:

So what is this nonsense about "no shots fired at all?" Is Time saying that the mission "fizzled" because we didn't get shot at and didn't have to return fire? It's a failure when the enemy is overwhelmed by our presence and flees, abandoning its weaponry, equipment, and personnel?

Perhaps "some skeptical military analysts" see Operation Swarmer as a failure, nothing more than a "photo op." But in fact, it was a perfect demonstration of how capable the Iraqi Army has become. They've demonstrated that they are capable of collecting accurate intelligence, dropping into the target area, and efficiently nabbing suspects and weaponry without taking any casualties at all. They only need help with air transportation, not having much of an Air Force yet.

A few more "pyrrhic failures" like this, and Iraq may end up a stable democracy after all!

Hatched by Sachi on this day, March 17, 2006, at the time of 10:09 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Operation Swarmer: a "Pyrrhic Failure?":

» Operation Swarmer Not Intended As 'Torch II' from Captain's Quarters
Sometimes the press demonstrates such incompetence as to be actually dangerous. The coverage of the latest effort in Samarra in clearing out the terrorists is just the latest example. Operation Swarmer is a significant operation in its scope but mostly... [Read More]

Tracked on March 18, 2006 6:44 AM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Great post, Sachi. I linked from Indefinite sporadic blogging.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2006 6:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patrick Chester

The words "pyrrhic failure" don't appear in the article, though the doom and gloom is readily apparent in it. Capturing 30+ suspects without firing a shot sounds pretty good to me.

So was there another article that brought up "pyrrhic failure" or did Time edit it?

(Or did I completely miss it in this article and am about to be shown how blind I am? O_O;;)

The above hissed in response by: Patrick Chester [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2006 8:15 PM

The following hissed in response by: Sachi


The words "pyrrhic failure" do not appear in the article. I made them up. You know, opposit of pyrrhic victory?

Pyrrhic victory:A victory achieved at great or excessive cost; a ruinous victory.

The above hissed in response by: Sachi [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2006 8:49 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

The greatest example, of course, of the MSM ignoring victory in its pursuit of defeat will how they minimize and ignroe the information coming out of the Baathist party document dump.
Theya re already ahving to ignore clear and obvious connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Soon I suspect they will ahve to strenuously ignore the WMD evidence. They have already of course miimized the corruption of the axis ofweasels and the UN by Saddam.
As to the Swarmer operation, let the foolish media ignore it all they want. I only hope the terrorists ignore the implications of air assaults by coalition and Iraqi forces as well as the mind numbed anti-American bigots in the meida do as well.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 19, 2006 6:08 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved