May 05, 2005

No More Sgrena 

This whole story has really fed me up. You know, we got Calipari, an Italian intelligence officer, dead on duty for a stupid incident; Giuliana Sgrena gained an inordinate but undeserved amount of popularity and relations between Americans and Italians are more strained. And possibly, the guerrillas/jihadis in Iraq received a sizable amount of money.

All this with no gains whatsoever.

Yes, the Italian agents in charge of the operation decided not to coordinate with the Coalition forces, and while there were good reasons for such a decision, it is also a dangerous and unwise one.

My beef now is with the closed-minded Americans (aka the America Fuck Yeah Brigade), who firmly believe that American soldiers are perfect and infallible, and thus started to bash Italy, sometimes with substantial arguments, but often armed with nothing more than prejudices, stereotypes and possibly outright bigotry.

Case in point, this piece (plus others I did not have neither the time nor the will to collect). Ok, Sir George blasts BBC mainly, but he fires upon Italy too.
I could respond point by point, but I really can't be bothered. I will let the American report speak by itself (Excerpts from the de-censored version downloaded from the MNF-I website):

I. (U) Recommendations

(S//NF) Recommend the Force Protection Working Group consider the use of additional non-lethal measures [Classified].

(U) Recommend that the Force Protection Working Group, in conjunction with MNC-I Information Operations, propagate a Public Awareness/Public Service Campaign to inform all drivers of their responsibilities for behavior when approaching and while at Coalition Checkpoints. This information could be posted on panels or boards at airports and other major transportation centers, as well as in pamphlets to be distributed from various locations, to include rental car agencies and border control points. This public awareness campaign should enhance safe operations by promoting mutual trust, cooperation, and confidence for Coalition Forces and Iraqi citizens as well as formally outlining expected driver behavior throughout the AOR.

(U) Recommend the Force Protection Working Group consider the following
points as they develop the MNC-I SOP for TCP operations:

• (S//NF) Different signs for ECPs, TCPs, and BPs. For example:
o (S//NF) Road Closed – Do Not Enter (for BPs).
o (S//NF) Coalition Checkpoint Ahead – Proceed Slowly and Follow Directions (for TCPs).

(U) Signs written
in Arabic and English should, where possible, also incorporate international
symbols to accommodate foreign nationals as they begin operating in Iraq.
• (S//NF) Highly visible and quickly deployable checkpoint and roadblock warning
signs for Soldiers on patrol.
• (S//NF) Standards for when and how to use spotlights and lasers.
• (S//NF) The use of hand-held signs as an alternative to hand-and-arm signals.

(U) Recommend a review of frequently established TCP locations to
consider the use of existing permanent highway overpass signs that warn drivers that checkpoints may be upcoming (e.g., "Possible Checkpoint Ahead – Next Exit").

(S//NF) [Classified: Gunner Duties]


(U) Further recommend a transition to a more driver friendly alert
signal by substituting devices such as rotating warning lights and sirens to
replace spotlights as early warning tools.

(U) Recommend periodic reviews of Right Seat/Left Seat Ride Relief in
Place procedures based on:

(S//NF) Recommend the MSC Commanders review MNF FRAGO 1269/5 2005
Dec 04 with subordinate commands to ensure thorough fratricide reporting and investigation of fratricide incidents. [Classified]

(U) Recommend development of a casualty post-incident procedure
reference guide to assist junior leaders in accurately preserving incident
scenes as much as time and the tactical situation allow.



(U) Recommend that no disciplinary action be taken against any Soldier
involved in the incident.

(U) Recommend that this report be circulated to all MNC-I Major Subordinate Commanders for use as an After Action Review tool.

These Recommendations demonstrate that there is room for improvement regarding the TCP and BP procedures, and also that a less than optimal setup of the BP that night was a contributory cause in the incident. Why some people find the idea that even the American military may commit mistakes so abhorrent is beyond me. And no, I'm not blaming America, ok?

But enough with all this disgraceful story now. I'm done with it unless there will be dramatic developments.

Update 12/05/05: Blogger Jeffrey at The Tone-Deaf Mushroom (now that's a weird name!) has an Open Letter To Silvio Berlusconi, and that's a piece I really appreciate for its pacate tone and level-headedness.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?