The airwaves have been filled with dire warnings of ISIL, ISIS or IS if you prefer, being a tangible threat to the security of these United States. And to be sure, they’re well organized and have made what appears to be astounding gains over the last few months. But are they really the cat’s meow?
The War Nerd, Gary Brecher, expalins some reality based facets of their so-called blitzkrieg through some parts of Iraq:
If you know the ethnic makeup of the turf they’ve taken, their “shocking gains” don’t seem so shocking, or impressive. After all, we’re talking about a mobile force–mounted on the beloved Toyota Hilux pickup truck, favorite vehicle of every male in the Middle East—advancing over totally flat, dry ground in pursuit of a totally demoralized opponent. In that situation, any force could take a lot of country very quickly. It’s just a matter of putting your foot on the accelerator, moving unopposed on the long stretches of flat desert, then dismounting at the next crossroads town for a small, quick firefight against a few defenders who didn’t get the memo to flee. Once they’re dead, you floor it again until the next little desert town.
So this isn’t the second coming of Erwin Rommel by any means. Everything has conspired to push the Sunni advance, from the lousy opponent they’re up against to the terrain, which is a light mechanized commander’s dream.
Flat and dry is how a mechanized force commander wants his ground—and believe me, you haven’t seen flat and dry until you get to Iraq. Once you’re south of the Kurdish mountains, you’re on a dried mudflat. Iraq is much flatter than the deserts of the US, most of which get much more rain than central Iraq. No rain means little erosion, with few wadis or ravines to slow those Toyotas down. This is, after all, Mesopotamia, a land literally built by the sediment of the Euphrates and Tigris. It’s river mud, but nice and dry because very little rain falls, especially in June (average rainfall in June is 5 mm, the size of the numbers printed on an ATM card).
On ground like that, any force with good morale and enough fuel could advance as quickly as the Sunni have. It’s the Bonneville Salt Flats of insurgency, the place you go to set new speed records.
Regardless, I do advocate raining steel from above, on every Hilux we can target…as well as assisting the Kurds in very concrete ways. I just wish our pathetic media would understand that sensationalism+ratings does not equal journalism.