Thursday, August 25, 2005

News from the front line

I also recommend this gripping account from Michael Yon of a recent battle in Mosul. I actually enjoy all of Michael's dispatches and have subscribed to his mailing list. I recommend you do the same. It's hard to do justice to the post, so just read the whole thing.
The doctors rolled LTC Kurilla and the terrorist into OR and our surgeons operated on both at the same time. The terrorist turned out to be one Khalid Jasim Nohe, who had first been captured by US forces (2-8 FA) on 21 December, the same day a large bomb exploded in the dining facility on this base and killed 22 people.

That December day, Khalid Jasim Nohe and two compatriots tried to evade US soldiers from 2-8 FA, but the soldiers managed to stop the fleeing car. Then one of the suspects tried to wrestle a weapon from a soldier before all three were detained. They were armed with a sniper rifle, an AK, pistols, a silencer, explosives and other weapons, and had in their possession photographs of US bases, including a map of this base.

That was in December.

About two weeks ago, word came that Nohe's case had been dismissed by a judge on 7 August. The Coalition was livid. According to American officers, solid cases are continually dismissed without apparent cause. Whatever the reason, the result was that less than two weeks after his release from Abu Ghraib, Nohe was back in Mosul shooting at American soldiers.
Wretchard has additional comments here.
merican troops seem to be OK, so what part of it did Osama get wrong [when he gloated about American cowardice in Somalia]? Maybe he kept reading the papers, because without people like Michael Yon it would all have gone down the Memory Hole.
And from the comments section:
The problem with releasing terrorists who have been caught in the act because they cannot be convicted under civilian due process exacerbates the problem of the "Ace Factor". I can't find the online reference to it, but air combat statistics show that the vast majority of aerial kills are accounted for by a small number of people, the so-called "aces".

If you read Yon's account, you will see how the "aces" stand out. Khalid Jasim Nohe is clearly an ace. So is Yon. Look at his pics. No shake. Personally I probably couldn't even find the shutter at a moment like that. Look at Kurilla and that Sergeant Major. Aces and the rest were simply not there. But it is also statistically true that new arrivals to the battlefield tend to rise to another plane after their first combat. Chances are that the rookies will be alright. Hence, a lot of effort is spent getting them over the hump after which their prospects of survival improve dramatically. But I digress.

The point is that releasing an experienced enemy combatant is to release an enemy ace, almost by definition. From an operations research point of view this is the most destructive thing you can do to your own side. The solution is to create some kind of long-term detention system. But that's what Guantanamo Bay was supposed to be and the Left is slowly but surely dismantling it. The consequences were predictable, but it took an embedded blogger to highlight it. The Memory Hole would have swallowed the data.


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