The 2nd Iraq War: p. 126 of FIASCO

Self began reading Fiasco:  The American Military Adventure in Iraq, by Thomas E. Ricks, two days ago.

In sharp contrast to the glacial pace with which she read A Passage to India and almost every other book she’s read this year, she’s been moving very fast through Fiasco:  she’s now on p. 126.

For the first 120 or so pages, Ricks has relentlessly pounded at the theme “failure to plan.” (Interestingly, Ricks rarely mentions 9/11, though no doubt Congress, like the rest of the country, was suffering from guilt and anger on a very intense level —  not the best frame of mind for formulating rational policy)

Finally, the scene switches from DC and policy wonks to boots on the ground in Iraq.  Like everything self has read so far, the description, the nuanced shifts in point of view, are riveting.  The following is told from the point of view of Colonel David Perkins, who commanded the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade:

The first attack consisted of an armored column built around twenty-nine tanks that swung up a major highway, Route 8, that cut into the southwestern part of Baghdad, a mix of industrial areas and square, two-story, adobe-style houses and then veered out to catch the arrow-straight, four-lane expressway to the sprawling international airport west of the city . . .  the Iraqi defenders were only prepared to fight in one direction, so a fast move through their lines tended to disorient their response.  “If I could push through, and get in behind them, and then reattack out from the center, what I was doing was reattacking from a direction that they weren’t used to defending from, and it was very hard to turn around and redefend . . . “

*     *     *     *

The 3rd Infantry Division estimated that it killed two thousand enemy fighters during the mission.  Its official history offers no figure for the number of civilians killed, but Iraqis said there were many.  “I was emotionally spent,” said Lt. Colonel Eric Schwartz, who commanded an armored battalion in the first attack.  “One of my tank commanders had been killed, I had a soldier shot in the eye, shot in the forehead, shot in the shoulder, shot in the back, shot in the face . . . “

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

From Lines to Patterns 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

It’s raining, it’s pouring.

All-day HBO marathon binge.

Can’t believe the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is closed for reconstruction — for the next three years.

Stairwell, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Stairwell, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Garden Today (Bella aka The Ancient One is in lower left-hand corner)

The Garden Today (Bella aka The Ancient One is in lower left-hand corner)

The 5th & Mission Street Garage (Our Go-To Place for Parking When We're Watching an Exhibit at SFMOMA)

The 5th & Mission Street Garage (Our Go-To Place for Parking When Attending an Event at Yerba Buena or Bayanihan Community Center)

The Old Ways

Part of the reason self loves Bacolod so much is . . .  the past is very much alive here.  And the women are such “femmes”:

Anita Arregui

Anita Arregui (Are those Ray-Bans?  Whatever —  self thinks they look hot!)

Daniela Jalandoni

Daniela Jalandoni (Why is she hanging on to a farm tractor?)

Nice Stilettos! The feet belong to Daniela Jalandoni.

Nice Stilettos! The feet belong to Daniela Jalandoni.

Marlboro Woman? (Don't know who this is)

Marlboro Woman? (Don’t know who this lady is, but self loves her direct gaze, her confidence, her beehive “do”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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