Operation “Swarmer”

"Operation Swarmer began early today with more than 1,500 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, about 200 tactical vehicles and more than 50 helicopters, the U.S. military said in a statement e-mailed from Baghdad. Samarra is about 80 miles (125 kilometers) north of the Iraqi capital on the Tigris River.

The goal of the raid is to “clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra,” the military said. The assault may last for several days while a search of the area is conducted, it said. "  Bloomberg


Hey, folks, this is a small operation.  It sounds like a battalion of infantry (maybe two battalions) from the 101st Airborne Division and some Iraqi police troops.  In Vietnam this operation would have been too small to have been given a name.  It would have just been, "what you were doing tomorrow."

"Air Assault" means that the infantry is delivered by helicopter, that’s all.  The 101st is an airmobile division.  That means that they are very light, have a lot of helicopters, and do not have enough trucks to deliver the infantry to the objective in a reasonable time.  they also are looking to use helicopters for this kind of thing from the fear that they will go out of fashion.

I understand that there were NO air strikes in this, no bombs dropped, etc.

The only thing interesting about this operation is the fact that Casey is not going to let the insurgents build another redoubt in Samarra like the one they built in Fallujah.

Pat Lang


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24 Responses to Operation “Swarmer”

  1. Rider says:

    Why is this being touted as “the largest air assault in three years” and described as “a massive air assault”? Is the Pentagon hyping it in response to Bush’s new low poll numbers released this week?

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I think the media are hyping it becasue they are tired of being accused of undercutting.
    I just heard Mick Trainor say that it had to be the biggest air assault since ’03 because there wasn’t one in the invasion. pl

  3. Eric says:

    Yeah. CNN and the rest are describing this as the biggest thing since D Day.
    “they also are looking to use helicopters for this kind of thing from the fear that they will go out of fashion.”
    Just curious. Anyone ever have a close call in one of those thingys?
    Whatever happened to the agony of De Feet.

  4. Eric says:

    I wasn’t exactly sneering, 11b.
    Just making a statement that I would rather walk. I almost got killed in one. And I do understand the designation 11 b.
    Ridgeway in Korea critisized the Army for being “roadbound”.
    And I think there’s still a place in this world for “leg” infantry, instead of air bound or road bound.
    Old ways are sometimes not that bad.

  5. jonst says:

    If it were not for the tragic fact that brave men and women are certainly going to be wounded, and, perhaps, killed (I had a hard time but I’ve finally gotten use to these sometime “ferocious firefights” where no one dies…on our side anyway) the sneers would be on my face. And with good reason. I give Bush a 5 point rise for every week the TV screen can be blanketed, what……..80 times a day?… with shots of the Huey’s, or whatever they are flying these days. Words fail me when I try to express the depth of my cynicism. But my eyes….my eyes, tell me plenty. I sat in a sports bar yesterday watching the NCAA. I watch the patrons cheering the teams. I watched the bookies taking the bets. I watched the patrons cheering the shots of 101st Airborne. Ho-rah….Ho-rah……It all mixed together.
    And I keep thinking of Lyons VA hospital and time I spent there. And the longer years many people spent there. Some of them STILL there perhaps.

  6. RJJ says:

    “I give Bush a 5 point rise for every week the TV screen can be blanketed, what……..80 times a day?.”
    This is not cynicism.
    Why do people persist in feeding the media beast? They could unsubscribe and let the propagandists compete for a diminished audience of kool-aid addicts.
    But people will not forego the circus; it is too great a sacrifice. What would they do to kill their life’s time?

  7. Sally says:

    Thanks for the facts. Someone should tell the media who unfailingly broadcast verbatim the administration’s press releases.

  8. alvord says:

    From the Washington Monthly. It is a Potemkin Operation.
    “According to a colleague of mine from Time who traveled up there today on a U.S. embassy-sponsored trip, there are no insurgents, no fighting and 17 of the 41 prisoners taken have already been released after just one day. The “number of weapons caches” equals six, which isn’t unusual when you travel around Iraq. They’re literally everywhere.
    ….About 1,500 troops were involved, 700 American and 800 Iraqi. But get this: in the area they’re scouring there are only about 1,500 residents. According to my colleague and other reporters who were there, not a single shot has been fired.
    “Operation Swarmer” is really a media show. It was designed to show off the new Iraqi Army — although there was no enemy for them to fight.”

  9. BillD says:

    I do not recall any operation in RVN of less than division strength given a name. I’m sure that there were such operations, I simply don’t remember one.

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    On reflection this seems to be an “Information Operation.”
    Sadly, the idea has taken root in the military since VN that it is a legitimate activity for the US Government to seek to manipulate the views of the American people in support of an ongoing campaign. pl

  11. Serving Patriot says:

    Re: propgandizing the American people directly.
    Yes, it is sad. And if not illegal, it should be.

  12. Rider says:

    Operation Shawarma:
    “Before loading up into the helicopters for a return trip to Baghdad, Iraqi and American soldiers and some reporters helped themselves to the woman’s freshly baked bread, tearing bits off and chewing it as they wandered among the cows.” (Time)

  13. taters says:

    Pat – Thanks again, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for all the pearls you share. You’ve got the best posters around, hands down.
    Rider re Op/Shawarma – What’s next –
    Operation Babaganoush?

  14. RJJ says:

    When I read about helping themselves to bread I wondered if they paid the woman. Did she invite them to share?
    Do they grind their own flour?
    What is the protocol for consuming the limited resources of people on whom you’ve dropped in uninvited.

  15. RJJ says:

    Swarm as in locusts?
    [/peeve (for real, this time]

  16. Rider says:

    I’m just glad nobody got hurt this time.

  17. taters says:

    Rider – Me too, regarding “nobody got hurt” I was simply resonding to “shawarma” – I’m certainly not making light of the deadly seriousness of any of this, I just love middle eastern food and shawarma is the occasional staple. To many of us in the Detroit area, mideastern food is pretty much mainstream and I can seldom pass on opportunity to say babaganoush. We have a substantial Arab American population here in Detroit. Its not uncommon to see someone Jewish in an Arabic restaurant nor uncommon to see someone of Arabic descent in a Jewish deli. This may sound incredibly naive – but when I see that here, it gives me hope. I still believe the path to peace in the Middle East is through Jerusalem, not Baghdad.

  18. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Ah, shawarma! Some of the best I have had was in Jerusalem at a place called “Mata’am al-Ai’laat” (Families Restaurant) on the Via Dolorosa. That was in the days when you could wander around the Old City in a more or less carefree way.
    Another great place is a tiny hole-in-the wall, in Amman. Literally built into the wall of the Lebanese embassy, the “Cafeteria Riim” has some of the best. I remember sitting on the curb at the traffic circle there with Frank Anderson munching away happily on a Summer night.
    Anyone like Turkish Doner Kebab? pl

  19. Rider says:

    I got ya, taters. Understood. Good point, too. Let’s get everyone to sit down under one roof and eat ME food together first and then maybe start talking later over the coffee.
    Col., which came first, shawarma or gyros? I believe they mean the same thing in Arabic and Greek (“spit-turned”?), but which came first may be beyond knowing.

  20. RJJ says:

    “This may sound incredibly naive – but when I see that here, it gives me hope.”
    What do you call 200 zealots (or politicians) at the bottom of the sea?

  21. W. Patrick Lang says:

    This is probably a really ancient Levantine specialty that pre-dates all the present cultures, a sort of culinary version of the “Hand of Fatima” which the Muslims say is a representation of the Prophet’s daughter’s hand but is really a much older fertility symbol.
    I think the Turkish version is the best. pl

  22. W. Patrick Lang says:

    If they are serious about “counterinsurgency ops,” they paid. pl

  23. Rider says:

    pl that makes a lot of sense. Yes, and I think the food in Turkey is the best in the ME, esp. the fresh fish.

  24. john says:

    Shawrma, doner kebob, gyros, it’s all good. But for sheer enjoyment I recommend Yemeni salsa with bisbas. It will clear your sinuses and leave you warm all over.

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