One that I have enjoyed following in the past few weeks is this one - from Doug Harper aka The Sciolist
In a recent post he draws attention to the following post...
in a "military" post board
I've been mulling this over for the last few hours.I am both personally and professionally dissapointed in some of my peers (not many on SOCNET, though), who have turned into Monday morning Generals, with regard to the Russians.
The outcome would have been the same if it took place in Texas.If that had been CAG and the Rangers surrounding the school, the friendly bodycount might have been lower. I doubt it. Fucked-in-the-head fanatics, armed to the teeth and wired to blow, are unlikely to allow the situation to come to an acceptable finish.Facts, as I understand them:
Enemy had prepostioned weapons, ordance, ammo and equipment. 1200+ civilians as hostages. Poorest part of Russia (i.e. little in the way of a sophisticated Security infrastructure).
Enemy has history of suicide troops and little in the way of regard for Russian civs. Security cordon compromised by agitated, HEAVILY ARMED, civilians (relatives/friends of hostages).
Fucked up Chain of Command, with several Security Force organizations present, from local Militia/Police to the Army. Leadership who sought to distance themselves from what was rightly regarded as the inevitable catastrophe.The only Leader to step up was the CG of the 58th Tank Division. Anyone know -any- Armor General who is an expert in Hostage Negotiation/Rescue?
Three possible outcomes:
1)All hostages die, when the enemy blows up and/or AK's them.
2)Appease the Enemy and hope to get hostages released.
3)MANY, but not all, hostages die, when the OMON troops storm the building.
From all reports, the Russian Government chose Option 02. Too risky to storm, and public opinion was against it, after the Moscow Theater fiasco.Someone -inside- the school, meaning Enemy personnel, fucked up. A detonation, reason unkown, collapsed part of the gym on top of many of the hostages. A bunch of kids made a break. Civilians broke the cordon from outside, to aid the kids.Enemy personnel engaged both fleeing children and civilian rescuers, some of whom were armed. Russian Security Forces (MVD/OMON types) were forced to storm the school, in order to prevent a -complete- massacre.Enemy personnel used confusion, caused by outgoing kids and incoming civilians, to attempt to break contact. Regular Army and MVD troops, using Armor and Gunship support, run them down.
It's easy to say "Ivan the duck, you're all fucked up". But the only thing you can really lay on the Russians is that they didnt control their perimeter. I understand that there were reasons for that, due to agitated locals not wishing to be moved away from their kids. Armed agitated locals.The Russian troops arent trained for this sort of thing. Their SF-equivalent, Spetsnaz, is more along the lines of 1970's era Ranger teams, than SEALs or Special Forces. Mostly conscripts. No real NCO corps. The ALFA unit, the KGB/FSB version of CAG, which -is- trained for this, arrived 15 minutes into the battle.MVD (Interior Army) has OMON-units. These are essentially SWAT/riot forces. Nowhere near the breadth of skill to handle something like this.
My opinion, as a combat veteran and Paratrooper NCO, is that the situation, once that bomb went off, could not have turned out any other way. Storming the building was not an option, until it became the only option. Saying that it happened because Russians are incompetent is bullshit. We probably couldnt have done any better. The scale of the situation would have rendered our technical/tactical superiority moot.Just something I had to get off my chest.
Now I know absolutely zero of this poster and his qualifications to comment in the way that he does. I believe that there is, irrespective of that defect, a very great truth in what he says.
Which is why I left the following comment with
I know which of the posts in that thread I am closest to, and it is not one of those posting "how well it might have otherwise been handled". Just recall the Branch Davidian sect if you want a direct parallel of US "forces" in a similar situation.
I agree with the general tenor - those on the ground did their best given the circumstances.
It leads, at that point to the post of yours DH that follows this. The media presentation of events such as these, and more importantly our ability as "consumers" of that news to fully comprehend the magnitude of events; 9/11 brought that home to me, as did the loss of the space shuttle, and in our own small corner the sinking of Rainbow Warrior all those years back.
I have no truck with terrorists and war criminals of any shape or form. They are (or should be) outside of all religion, all politics, all nations, all cultures; outlaws in every and all senses of the word.
We, all of us, have the responsibility to ensure that OUR leaders do not join the ranks of "de facto" terrorists and war criminals.