September 14, 2007

Best book on the subject...

I finally got a perk for being a blogger. Free Press sent me a copy of a new book, House to House by Staff Sergeant David Bellavia.

It centers on the the bloody craziness of the second battle of Falluja, where Bellavia's army unit was one of the first to penetrate deep into the town... I'm a bookworm, and I've read lots of books on war. This is the best account of combat I've ever encountered.

I'm not going to even try to quote the wild stuff, you won't believe it unless you read the whole build-up. In fact you gotta just read the book. (All I'll say editorially is that anyone who thinks we should walk away and leave the jihadis to tyrannize over Iraq, or any other place, is insane. We have created monsters by decades of pacifism and appeasement and liberalism and nihilism, and now we must fight. There isn't a choice.)

....Inside the house, I start to move to the door. Before I can take a full step, I see a trip wire. It runs across the door and up along the doorjamb. Dangling from the wire is an orange-red pineapple grenade the size of a Nerf football. The pin is missing and the spoon is held on by the wire. If we open the door, the spoon will fly off and detonate the grenade in our faces.

"Knapp!" I shout.

He comes over and peers through the window.

"Check this shit out," I tell him.

He fingers the trip wire and sighs. "You know what? I've told my guys not to check for booby traps. This is high-intensity MOUT." Military Operations in Urban Terrain. "We're looking for bad guys. We don't have time for precision MOUT."

"No, you're right we don't. We could have dudes in the house ready to kill us. We've got to be ready for them, not heads-down searching for trip wires."

Knapp nods. We've got a serious tactical dilemma on our hands. If we're to treat each house as if it is booby trapped, we'll go in cautiously. In house-clearing, confidence and quickness are absolutely vital. If we hesitate, if we methodically search for booby traps, we hand the initiative to any insurgents who may be in the house. We'll get lit the fuck up. Moving swiftly and decisively from room to room is the only way to surprise the enemy and minimize our exposure to their fire.

So far, we haven't seen anyone inside these houses. Yet if we continue to move this quickly, we're likely to trip a booby trap. Right now, I can't see how we're going to get through this without anyone getting hurt. Either we move fast and hit a trip wire, or we move slowly and get shot at.

"Okay, Knapp, let's keep this to ourselves."

"Yeah, alright. We don't wanna fucking freak the guys out any more than they already are. I don't want them going into houses with this shit at the back of their heads."....

[There's a short video interview of Bellavia here.]

Posted by John Weidner at September 14, 2007 8:36 AM
Weblog by John Weidner