October 31, 2004
Today's Thoughts on Fallujah
Thanks to the Belmont Club for referencing my page. I appreciate the patronage of my new readers! I'll be continuing to offer one to two Fallujah updates a day for as long as the battle lasts. Beyond that, I will begin a series of posts on the possible shape of US military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, so please continue tuning in.
Planning for the battle
First off, after doing some thinking on the nature of the upcoming battle, I've decided to reduce my estimate of its length from up to two weeks to around one week. I think there are several factors to believe this to be the case.
The US military excels at detailed operational planning. The planning for the invasion of Iraq and the movement up to Baghdad was extremely detailed, used conservative estimates, examined worst-case, and most-likely case enemy scenarios, and practiced for all of these relentlessly. Before we invaded, I could personally have told you the planned actions of all three infantry regiments out to the D+7 mark, and I was a mere lieutenant in a supporting unit. The dead horse had been beaten from every different direction. Moreover, the senior commanders on the ground were extremely motivated to best the estimates of planners in how long it would take to get to Baghdad and finish the removal of the regime. The combination of very detailed planning and aggressive commanders creates a dynamic wherein the commanders want to best the planner's estimates. The planners also get very aggressive in attempting to foresee possible follow-on scenarios and have contingency plans for them. Here's a perfect example of this dynamic: When MajGen Mattis, then the Commanding General of the First Marine Division, addressed my unit in May of 2003 in central Iraq, he told us that while in Baghdad, he and his principal logistics advisor did a back-of-the-envelope calculation that they could get the Division to Damascus in 9 days with two aircraft refueling points (FARPs) along the way. Great example of both an aggressive commander and a well-trained aggressive planning staff (I guess the powers-that-be told him to hold off on Damascus. Oh well.).
In April, when two Marine battalions began an assault into Fallujah, they did so on a very short time-frame, with little time for extended and detailed planning. Now don't get me wrong; we were still winning that fight before it was called off, and would have rolled up the bad guys if given the time. But that battle was undertaken on short notice.
It has now been 7 months since that assault. Our planners have had 7 months to focus all of their energies on how best to crack the Sunni triangle nut. This means both the Division planners and the higher headquarters MEF planners. Somewhere between 500-1000 field grade officers doing nothing but thinkng about this. Most of the rest of the operations have probably been on relative auto-pilot, as it is really a logistics function to track and plan for reconstruction and the sustenance of the units involved in it.
When you couple this fact of detailed operational planning with what we can certainly estimate is far better intelligence, and a larger number of both US and Iraqi troops, I think it makes a compelling case for a shorter battle. So I change my estimate to one week, with two being a maximum.
Here are some other reasons to think this may be the case.
First, the troops in the Black Watch have been told that their deployment to the Sunni Triangle will be for a maximum of 30 days. This says a great deal about both when the battle will happen, and expectations for its length.
Second, Lieutenant General Conway, who was until recently the Commanding General of I MEF, has told reporters that the Bush administration ordered the April attack, then ordered its cancellation three days in. What to make of this? The politicians have probably learned the lesson not to vacillate, when ordering such things, no matter how bloody they get. There must be some agreement with General Conway in the administration, because rather than being rebuked for making such critical public statements, he has gone on to a very good job: he is now the J3 for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in charge of operational planning for the entire US military. This is not a demotion, but a very good place to be.
Third, the 7 months of detailed planning allows special measures to be taken to mitigate against specific enemy strong suits. If there are, say, certain goals that the Marine forces must reach, and certain enemy actions or strengths that prevent this, 7 months of planning allows all kinds of "special teams" (a football analogy), precise actions, or new technology to be put together to respond.
"Up to 80% of Fallouja's population of more than 250,000 has fled the city, said Maj. James West, an intelligence officer with the Marines outside the city. Recent visitors have described Fallouja as a ghost town, with little traffic and few shops open, and masked insurgents, who call themselves mujahedin, guarding principal entrances and exits.
"According to U.S. estimates, 3,000 to 4,000 armed insurgents are present in and around Fallouja. Despite the U.S. focus on foreign militants loyal to Zarqawi, officials say it is likely that most fighters in Fallouja are Iraqis. Militants have been digging in for months in anticipation of a U.S. strike, commanders say."
This is very good news. As I've said before, a battlefield empty of civilians is better for us, and better for us means faster. If there aren't as many civilians around, you can be much more violent. During the invation last year, an Iraqi artillery battery fired some pot shots at the 5th Marine Regiment as it was assaulting into the oil fields. We responded with a "regimental 2." This means every tube in the entire 11th Marine Regiment, an artillery regiment, each fired two rounds at the offenders. My quick math tells me this is, about, 192 rounds of 155mm high explosive landing on the enemy battery. Yikes. We could do this because we were in relatively open desert.
The fewer civilians are present, the faster it will go. Even if the insurgents have been digging in, our 7 months has given us the time to watch them do so. If they have weaknesses, we know what they are, and we can hit them there. I have some ideas on what these might be, but I'll keep them to myself in this forum for now.
The fifth and final reason why I am expecting a quick fight: it will add to the psychological toll of cleaning the place out. If Fallujah goes down in lightning speed, it only serves to more greatly demoralize those who would continue to oppose the interim government elsewhere in the country. Defeat IS psychological. It works like this: when you start fighting someone, he probably wants to fight back, and thinks he can win, but as he sees himself starting to lose, he thinks it might be a good idea to just throw in the towel. This can also happen if he sees his compatriots dying off in droves. He may never agree with your side of the argument, but he knows it's better to just get over it. Defeat says, oh well, the time for fighting is past. We gave it a good shot, but it's over now. This can be achieved psychologically. Speed will be a goal of this battle.
And a final rumination: Could be that some decisions for beginning the fight have been released to commanders on the ground. Rather than the beginning of the battle being time-driven (like after polls close in the US), it could be event-driven, like when certain units are in certain places. And there has been mention in the press that the overall order will be given by Allawi. Of course, if the US is asking him, he will wait until after our election. But his ultimate goal will be to put as Iraqi a face as possible on the battle. Events related to committing Iraqi troops could be those that drive his execute order.
October 30, 2004
More Airstrikes . . .
"We're gearing up to do an operation and when were told to go we'll go," Brig. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said at a camp near Fallujah. "When we do go, we'll whack them."
The upcoming offensive is getting more and more press, more and more frequently. My initial focus was on Fallujah, but now on second thought I think it a certainty that Ramadi is going to be hit too. Look for 5th Marines to hit Ramadi, 1st Marines to assault Fallujah, and 7th Marines to continue guarding the Syrian border in the West, and possibly act as an operational reserve. They've probably shifted a good bit of the armor that is normally a part of 7th Marines (like 1st Tank Battalion) over to either 1st or 5th. Bet on it.
UPDATE: More analysis from Globalsecurity.org. They also feel that the battle will kick off when US polls close. 6pm Hawaii time = 8pm California time = 7am, November 3rd, Iraq time. I think they'll pull the trigger the night before, say between 4am and 5am. This is always better than dawn.
October 27, 2004
Zarqawi: Be very afraid . . .
US ORDER OF BATTLE
The Black Watch and 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards are moving from their relatively quiet neighborhood in southern Iraq to the outskirts of western Baghdad. This will allow the I Marine Expeditionary Force's 1st Marine Division, which is based in Al-Anbar province to shift an extra battalion to the Fallujah/Ramadi area, probably to use as a tactical reserve. My guess is that the attack will be prosecuted by the 1st Marine Regiment, with appropriate attachments, supported by CSSB-1 and given air support by at least a full Marine Air Group.
I think it is safe to guess that it will take the British forces about a week to get settled into their new area of operations. They should take at least a week to get to know the area with the Marines they are relieving. For a permanent relief, two-four weeks would be more accurate, but I think the shift of British troops is a temporary move -- maybe for six weeks tops for the course of the battle and the cleanup.
In addition to 1st Marines, the order of battle will include at least a 3:2 ratio of US to Iraqi forces (same as Samarra): I estimate this at around 2000 to 3000 Marines on the ground, with 1300-2000 Iraqi forces attached to the regiment.
Globalstrategy.org is also reporting that around 1000 members of the Army's 10th Special Forces Group have recently been deployed from Colorado, with no mention of where they are going.
The article states that the only two possible destinations for these Green Berets are: to find Osama bin Laden, or to reinforce Marine units preparing to assault Fallujah. I don't think they are going to the Paki-Afghani border. Not only do I think that Osama is most likely dead (why haven't we heard from him in 2 and 1/2 years?), but I also think that in the estimation of the Pentagon and the Bush administration, events on the ground in Iraq, especially those involving Zarqwai, are a greater threat to US stratgey than is the finding of Osama at this particular moment.
Would Green Berets be helpful with Marines? Not so sure about this one. Usually you would want to train for a good bit together before adding them to the mix, so you could be sure that your techniques and theirs are mutually understandable. This would not be the case though, if the ODA teams are going to be given a very specific mission, like manhunts, or lasing targets, or using the their language skills in a civil-affairs role after the fight. Or you could give them a particular part of the battlespace, like a certain neighborhood or area where their skills might work best. Another idea: let's assume that the US has VERY GOOD ground intelligence on the locations and activities of the insurgent forces. This is a safe assumption given the time put in to developing and working with Iraqi National Forces, and because of the number of successful precision airstrikes that we've pulled off lately. The thing that could make those intelligence sources really sing in a productive manner, and decrease our decision cycle greatly, would be to link them up with US forces that speak Arabic and have expertise in targeting and urban pursuit. My overall opinion: if you see 1000 Green Berets show up in Fallujah, the reason they will be there is their Arabic skills, only a few dozen will participate in the fight, and the rest will roll in during the aftermath for intelligence exploitation. One thousand is a TON of Green Berets though. A thousand would normally be employed over a very large area. You just don't mass those troops on the battlefield. But this campaign has seen stranger things . . . another way to employ a large number would be if they were going to integrate with Iraqi National Forces for the battle. But again, you don't do this without some extensive training together. At this point in the game, whoever has been training the Iraqis and working with them is going to continue to do so. They're not going to bring in any pinch-hitters here in the ninth inning.
THE BARBARIAN ORDER OF BATTLE
What is the troop strength of the insurgents in Fallujah? Estimates range from 1000-8000. Does Zarqawi remain in Fallujah? I bet that he is there. After spending months -- actually a year or more -- building a base of support there, it is unlikely that he could replicate anywhere else the command and control that he has built for himself in Fallujah. Plus, his departure would be very demoralizing to those who remain there (though of course, they may not know his whereabouts themselves). Overall, hard to tell how many bad guys are in Fallujah, but the good news is that the place has been surrounded and cordoned off for a couple of weeks now, and it's a good guess that anyone left inside is only there to fight. A cleaner, less confusing battlefield is good for us and bad for them. Also, if Zarqawi hasn't left yet, he ain't getting out now.
THE LENGTH OF THE BATTLE AND CASUALTIES
The downside to having cordoned off the city and given the Iraqis an ultimatum is that it gives them plenty of time to prepare for our assault. If they are truly skilled, they can plan an intricate defense-in-depth, fighting to the very last man, booby-trapping the city, clearing fields of fire, setting up minefields etc. This will make things a little more difficult for us, but not much. We know how to deal with such defenses -- just will make things drag a little more. And the aerial intelligence on a detailed level that the US can gather from assets like the Predator UAVs cannot be discounted. More than likely we've also got a team or two of reconnaissance Marines sitting quietly on a rooftop during the day and watching everything like crazy at night.
The longer we wait to attack, the better the insurgent defenses get. The flip side is that the better our intelligence gets as well.
How long will the battle last? Robert D. Kaplan, the Atlantic Monthly columnist, was embedded with Marines in Fallujah during the April uprising. Only two battalions participated in that assault, and Kaplan estimates that they had taken 20% of the city in five days. How to guess here? Figure larger American force, plus a new Iraqi National Force, larger enemy force, much better intelligence for us. I think we can take the entire city in two weeks, three tops. For more of Kaplan's description of that battle, see the Atlantic's June/July issue (note; I think this is subscriber-only content).
NEGOTIATIONS WON'T WORK
Don't expect there to be a political settlement if you assume:
1. There are foreign fighters in some number in the city.
2. We cannot tolerate foreign fighters.
3. The Interim gov't must flex its muscles over the entire country, not just the majority of it.
4. The sheiks are not going to turn in the foreign fighters.
5. The foreign fighters aren't just going to pick up and go home.
Face it. The bad guys have coalesced in Fallujah and other similar places. Now we have to kick over the ant bed and kill whatever crawls out.
THE DECISIVE BATTLE OF THE IRAQ CAMPAIGN
Destroying the insurgency in Fallujah will be the second decisive battle of the entire Iraqi campaign. The first was in Baghdad in April of 2003. That signalled the end of Saddam's regime and the beginning of something completely new and different. Fallujah is not only the center of gravity of the entire insurgency, offering a source of refuge, capital, psychological motivation, munitions, and command and control to the anti-Iraqi insurgents, but it is also a psychological strong point in the Arab mind throughout the region. Check out the references to Fallujah in popular music, as mentioned in this Marine Corps Times article. Cleaning the place out will strike a very powerful blow that will reverberate throughout the region.
The attack will begin on or about November 3rd. Bush cannot afford a casualty spike before the election. But he also cannot wait any longer, whether he wins or not. There must be enough time before January for the battle to be completed, a new government installed in Fallujah, the psychological victory to be pursued in other cities, and intelligence found there to be acted upon. This battle will have an incredible impact on the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, the participation in elections, and the overall course of the entire Iraqi theater. As soon as the US election is over, look for the battle to begin.
UPDATE: Another successful strike.
UPDATE 2: WaPois reporting that both sides are digging in and expect to fight. (Side note: the photo in this story shows US trucks carrying supposedly British armor -- interesting -- Brits usually move themselves).
October 26, 2004
Quick thoughts . . .
Nine guys in hoods have said that if the US doesn't back down in Fallujah, they're going to attack all relevant targets. I'm 10,000 miles away and I am still shaking.
Yet another fruitful airstrike
Another Zarqawi aide off to Paradise.
October 25, 2004
What's wrong with this picture?
I'm signed up for updates from the Kerry campaign and I just got an email from Joe Lockhart. This is one quote:
"The polls are tight, but George Bush is on the ropes. He can't break 50% in any poll and this is very bad news for his campaign. That is a critical threshold for an incumbent president, because undecided voters tend to break for the challenger in the final days. His campaign is becoming increasing desperate, while we remain optimistic."
Well what do you know!
Hmm how about that, NBC News actually had a camera crew embedded with the US forces that arrived at Al Qaqaa on 10 April, 2003. The explosives in question were already gone, making the Al Qaqaa story into al-caca. See my thoughts below on this story . . .
More thoughts on the explosives story . . .
A few readers criticized my comment that I can't fault the Bush administration for not securing the explosives that were mentioned in the NYTimes story yesterday.
I'd like to give a little more detail about this. Let me start by saying that I am in absolute agreement with those who think the Bush Administration did a poor job of planning for the occupation of Iraq and the postwar phase. The CPA and Jay Garner got off to a very slow start -- they didn't have enough communication assets, vehicles, translators, or people. Garner eventually quit or was fired, and was replaced by Bremer, who still managed to drift for awhile. This was bad because politics abhors a vacuum. The lack of a plan for getting from A (invasion) to B (a new Iraqi government, preferably elected) created a sense that as far as the political sphere went, Iraq was ripe for the plucking, and therefore many of the insurgent groups coalesced. Sadr's militia for example probably wouldn't have gotten so powerful had there been a clear idea from the start of how the occupation was going to go and what the plan was for getting Iraqis to elections. You can blame this on whatever you want:
-arrogance or optimism on the part of the Administration
-the fact that we just don't occupy other countries very often (not on this scale and with this intent) and weren't very good at planning for it.
-disputes between Defense and State
-Halliburton (note: This is only a reason for readers of the Daily Kos)
Bottom line: big error and it has cost us. But wars are filled with errors. Many much larger than this one. Kerry can criticize all he wants, but he has no strategic vision.
Back to the issue at hand. I still stand by what I said about not blaming the Bush Administration that 400 tons of explosives may have disappeared in Iraq after the invasion (the Times article makes it clear they could have been moved before). Here's why I'm sticking to my story:
In the Marine Corps, I was a Combat Engineer officer. I've had what you could call basic to intermediate training in explosives, as have all Marine engineers. As I mentioned in my previous post, my unit was once involved with trying to safeguard a large weapons cache by building fortifications around it so that explosives could not be looted. We got about halfway done before an Army MP attached to an assisting unit tragically blew himself up in one of the bunkers, and the entire cache sympathetically detonated. The site was huge: off the top of my head, I'd say between 5-10 square kilometers. And the explosives were not stored in a safe way that the EPA would be happy with. These sites were EVERYWHERE in Iraq, and filled with all kinds of stuff. Just to seal off this one was taking us about 2 weeks if memory serves. There are really three ways to deal with sites like this:
1. You can guard them. This is extremely manpower-intensive, so much so that it is impractical.
2. You can somehow construct obstacles to keep looters or ne'er-do-wells out. This is very time-intensive.
3. You can destroy the sites. This is the most time-intensive due to your main constraint: there are not very many military personnel or units with the proper training to do this.
A note on #3: Sounds easy to say, "We could just bomb it," but this is not a solution. Bombing a site like this has the potential to leave shrapnel and duds scattered over an even larger area than when you started. Bombing might be a solution if you are just flying over, maybe doing a punitive strike, but it won't work if your people are there and are attempting to reconstruct the place.
A word on Explosives Ordnance Disposal Technicians: These are the guys who do this stuff. In the Marine Corps, first you take a junior NCO, usually a Corporal who has kept his nose clean, is in excellent physical shape, and is smarter than the average bear, then you send him to explosives related schools for about a year or so. Then he spends a year in the fleet working with more senior techs before you can really say that he has cut his teeth enough to give you good advice on what to do with a certain piece of ordnance. EOD techs are very well trained and very good at what they do. There are also very few of them. I'd guess under a thousand in the whole Marine Corps. They are among the most often deployed Marines. It is not uncommon for an EOD tech to deploy 300 days out of the year. And in OIF, we had, say, 60% or so of those attached to the First Marine Expeditionary Force (about 60,000-70,000 Marines). They were exceptionally busy.
Now, let me give you an idea of how much explosives there are in Iraq. Let's say you took the ENTIRE Marine Corps, 177,000 strong, and made them all EOD techs and sent them all to Iraq. My guess is you might be done with cleaning the place out in about a year or so, if you did it safely.
The Army has had at least a BATTALION (600-800) of EOD techs in Iraq since earlier in the year, and they have been assisted by, I think, two battalions (2000 or so) of engineers, and have been working non-stop cleaning up munitions and securing them. Since the war started, the total amount of explosives or weapons destroyed is 240,000 TONS, and I'd be willing to bet that's a drop in the bucket.
To get one's panties in a wad about 400 tons of explosives is very poor form.
The NYTimes has also made a big deal of the fact that the demo in question is HMX or RDX, saying that this can be used to drop buildings, or put in missiles. I'm here to tell you that while this is true, the insurgents in Iraq have been quite effective in creating Improvised Explosive Devices from all manner of things. That's why they are called "improvised." Mortar rounds, artillery rounds, mines, these things are to be found in great abundance in Iraq -- just like ridiculous reality TV is so easily found in the US. I stand by my initial assertion that these explosives are no more of a threat to us than any others that can be easily gotten from anywhere else, and I stand by my statement that if these explosives found their way into the hands of the likes of Zarqawi, we have watched them go off in car bombs for months now.
To say that more troops could have safeguarded this explosives cache is a silly argument. The incredible number of such sties in Iraq makes this similar to saying that the best way to guard the US would be to post a company of troops at every 7-11. One of the first rules of defense is: You can't be strong everywhere. You have to choose.
Here are some pictures of some EOD techs in Iraq doing what they do best. (Those missiles look like Al-Samouds! We helped some EOD guys blow one of those and it took the best ones, one of whom had a Masters in Chemistry, the better part of 2 days to figure out how to do it right).
On to other things . . .
October 24, 2004
The story is out . . .
The much anticipated October Surprise-to-be is out. It's a front page story in The Washington Times detailing Kerry lying about meeting with all of the members of the Security Council before casting his vote to allow the Pres to invade Iraq in 2002.
I don't think there is very much to this story. I mean, he lied of course, but this is not the bombshell it was hyped to be.
Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
This is not good, but I can't fault the US for not better protecting weapons caches in Iraq. My unit was involved in destroying two giant caches, each covering several acres, and we estimated several months to do it right. Unfortunately, an Army MP was inside a earthen-bermed mortar-round depot and somehow set it off. The sympathetic detonations made the entire site go sky high. I have pictures from the rooftop of the building I was living in at the time (in Diwaniyah), and it is absolutely nuts. The amount of explosives, munitions, and ordnance floating around Iraq, and most of it stored in a very unstable way, is mind-boggling.
Interesting that this story comes out today. Why today? The story obviously is not press-release-driven news, but is instead the result of an NYTimes investigation. Maybe they were sitting on it until it looked as though a GOP-driven Surprise was about to be released, as we've heard earlier today. Perhaps the Dems are attempting a pre-emptive strike with an October Surprise of their own. I doubt this will make much difference in the polls, though I suspect it will be given much coverage by the MSM.
There is no reason to think that the explosives mentioned in the article are a greater threat to the US than any other explosives that have been floating around Iraq. My guess: the missing demo has been going off in car bombs for months now. There are far easier ways of getting or making explosives in the US than somehow shipping them here from the Middle East.
I watched my TiVo'd version of Scarborough Country with the comlete on-air breakdown of Lawrence O'Donnell, a Kerry Adviser. The man has gone off the deep end. This is yet another sign of the death-spiral of the Democratic party. Unless it changes its tune, it is going to continue thrashing about in a very unpleasant way as it swirls down the toilet.
The best contender . . .
I've been checking through internet rumors. The Kerry story breaking tomorrow is supposedly:
1. about foreign policy
2. refuting a Kerry lie
3. has to do with something recent.
Thus far, this is the best candidate I've seen, though I'm not going to completely write off the death of Osama.
The October Surprise Cometh!
The blogosphere is on fire with rumors of the October Surprise tomorrow. See this page for links to the rumors. Redstate and Power Line have both gotten tips!
More Fallujah Analysis
The Christian Science Monitor is offering analysis of Fallujah, stating that while US forces can bring military success there, political success depends on the participation of Iraqi forces. It then goes on to say that these Iraqi forces may not be up to snuff in cracking Fallujah, despite their recent success in Samarra. Fallujah, so it goes, is a tougher nut to crack.
W. Thomas Smith, Jr. has been following these forces over at National Review Online. He believes that they performed admirably in Samarra, and also has anecdotal evidence of their proficiency and esprit de corps in other missions.
I think it is very reasonable to expect that when the battle for Fallujah kicks off, a more or less proportional mix of Iraqi to US forces as was used in Samarra will be in place. I don't think that the Iraqi forces will be made up solely of Fallujah natives, as the Fallujah sheiks want. This is a bad idea in general and especially so given the failure of the Fallujah Brigade earlier in the year.
Another Good Airstrike
The leaders of Fallujah are making three demands of their Iraqi national negotiator:
1. compensation for damaged property
2. withdrawal of US troops to outskirts
3. any Iraqi military units deployed inside Fallujah to consist solely of Fallujah natives.
These are all ridiculous demands and the sheiks are in no place to continue asking them. Their only card in this game of poker is intelligence about Zarqawi and the rest of his crew. If this is the position of the sheiks and they don't change it, look for the negotiations to fail.
No time for Kerry's Europhile delusions
Another barn-burner by Mark Steyn!
October 23, 2004
A New Curse?
As James Taranto reports in the Wall Street Journal, since the 2000 season, the Yankees have:
2001: Lost World Series to Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games.
2002: Lost Division Series to Anaheim Angels in four.
2003: Lost World Series to Florida Marlins in six.
2004: Lost Championship Series to Red Sox in seven.
Perhaps there is a new curse afflicting the Yankees. 2000 is the year that the Clintons moved to New York. It is also the year that Hillary Clinton, an Illinois native, said she was a lifelong Yankees fan (while wearing a Cubs ballcap) and was elected to the US Senate from New York. The baseball gods are not happy.
On the other hand, Power Line has a few choice words for Sox fans who claim accursedness.
Fallujah Update -- Aide Captured
The Washington Times is reporting that the US captured a key Zarqawi subordinate in an overnight raid in Fallujah. The noose is tightening!
Volunteer for the 72 Hour Program
If you have yet to signup for the final election push, don't hesitate any longer. Go immediately to Volunteer for the 72 Hour Program.
Quick Roundup for Friday, Oct 22nd
Here are some interesting items from news today:
1. The Cincinnati Bush Headquarters has been robbed. I wonder if there might have been some internal campaign polling data that the thieves might be so kind as to post.
2. 5'7". 150 lb Bush supporter harassed by 6'2, 300 lb Kerry supporter. The Bush guy wins.
3. Supposedly, Lawrence O'Donnell, a Kerry insider, went completely bonkers on MSNBC's Scarborough Country tonight. I've never watched this show, but after reading the descriptions of the incident I set TiVo to record a rerun late tonight. Will update tomorrow.
4. See The Horserace Blog for excellent insight into the polls.
5. John Lehman, former Navy Secretary of 9/11 Commission fame, has stated that the US
has found bin Laden but can't get to him. This is interesting. This requires a little thinking to decipher and I'll post more later.
6. The head of the UN election team in Iraq says
everything is right on track there for elections in January.
Starting tomorrow, I'll be offering a blow-by-blow news update of the impending battle of Fallujah, with analysis and commentary.