Thursday, April 08, 2004

department of be glad you're not there
From Flit, an apparent eyewitness account of the fighting in Kut, including some curious comments on the role of someone referred to as the "British governor."

We faced a force of four to five hundred rebels, with mortars, RPGs and various handheld weapons. There were four US soldiers---myself and the other people in my team----about twenty coalition soldiers, and thirty or so scared British and Aussie expats, including the British governor. The coalition soldiers had a couple tank/hybrid vehicles, but they didn’t have much ammo for them. By midnight, everyone was running out. We kept impressing this on Higher, and they just couldn’t get that through their heads. What the fuck good are they? We are running out of ammo. We will be over-run if light hits this place in the morning and finds us still here...

...

What makes it worse was that we kept trying to get reinforcements and air cover and evac, and eventually we had to do it ourselves. We called up around 1500 because it became apparent that we weren’t going to get out, requesting air cover. We thought it would be over by 1700. By then, though, we realized something else was going on---darkness falls at seven. We heard that the whole province was under control, and that Sadr’s representatives had offered a cease fire while they negotiated. No other government building in the province was not under his control. Our little force, outmanned and outgunned, held him off for better than twenty hours, and then slipped out under his nose. He wanted to keep us there, be his bargaining chips while he tightened his fist around the province. And that fucking governor went along with it. We eventually found out the governor was contacting the command and telling them, no, no Evac behind our backs. He wanted US Marines dropped off and the civilians put in the helicopters while they secured his villa and offices. His own people were running around trying to arrange Evac, and kept counter-manding him. Then he’d go on the air and countermand them. I kept overhearing conversations I wasn’t supposed to hear.