Friday, January 22, 2016

Doing Jobs Americans Won't Do

The Iraqi offensive to retake Ramadi relied on American firepower to a greater extent than past operations. And it worked. The big part of what made the firepower work was the presence of Australian special forces who called in the firepower on ISIL forces.

While we are edging away from the initial administration position that there will be no "boots on the ground" in Iraq to fight ISIL, we still try to maintain the fiction that boots aren't needed. Australia is one reason we can live in this fantasy world:

At the end of 2015 Australia revealed that 80 of its SAS commandos played a crucial role in helping Iraqi forces retake Ramadi (the capital of Anbar province) in a battle that began on December 8th and was largely complete by the end of December. The Australian SAS were advising one of the two Iraqi brigades that led the assault of the city. What made the SAS men key was that they could call in air strikes and they did so, at the rate over fifty a day when the fighting was most intense.

The Australians had trained that brigade, too.

Remember, I've long called for core trained army units capable of mobile warfare and backed by our air power to lead offensives against ISIL. Even foot infantry can conduct mobile warfare, as pre-industrial military history shows.

But I still feel frustrated that it is taking so long to defeat ISIL.