The  Falcon  Flew Away

A Turning Point in the Iraq War?



It happened in the night between October 10 and 11 and I failed to take notice right away – another bomb, another calamity in Iraq, what is the difference to normality there? Only with 10 days delay, I was made aware that this might be the crucial American defeat, only to be covered up until the elections in the USA on November 7. But I am still not sure (Oct. 28, 2006), so I drained the Internet for information.

       The mainstream media [MM] reported of it right away, and retrospectively it is evident that something bigger than usual had occurred: “The night's earth-shaking explosions, which caused no casualties, sent shock waves across southern and central Baghdad shortly after 11 p.m. Fireballs and plumes of smoke could be seen rising hundreds of feet into the night sky from the area in south-western Baghdad where Camp Falcon is located,” LA Times informed [[1]] the day after. The attack started at 10:40 p.m. on the 10th and the MM told us it lasted two hours. Through a precise and or lucky hit in the middle of the ammunition deposit, however, you can assume that it lasted less than 5 minutes, then the Iraqi resistance fighters could pack up their equipment, the rest was a self-igniting process. The camp is situated 13 km South-West of Baghdad and its destruction caused memory of the bombardment of the city in March 2003. The flames were flaring up over the city and repetitively, new explosions occurred – which can be experienced by viewing the TV News recorded live. Even when you do not understand Arab, it is worth opening the link to Google Video (if still active) [[2]]. Having seen this, I wonder if the calamity did not really make a larger impression on the ground, as can be seen on the pictures below:

       The attack was claimed by both the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Conquering Army [[3]]. A mortar round fired from the Abu Dsheer area of southern Baghdad caused the fire. Three 82mm mortar rounds and two Katyusha rockets did the job. “WMD in Iraq! Looks like we finally found them – in our own ammunition dump at Camp Falcon,” Mark E. Smith commented [[4]]. The Americans accused Iraqi translators of having leaked information on the location of arms and ammunition depots to the resistance – after having given up to claim it was an accident. If you are brainwashed to believe the official report, I shall give you the occasion: “Despite triggering multiple explosions and causing fire crews to work overtime, there were no casualties, and little damage was sustained to the buildings and vehicles positioned throughout the large military base” [[5]]. The same report claims there were only 100 soldiers at the camp during the attack. There must have been some celebrating outside because 3 battalions, including tank and infantry units, are stationed at the base. The other side claims 3-5,000 plus some Iraqi forces. In June 2006, the camp was claimed to be the host of 6000 troops [[6]]. Some 50 tanks and Humvees were totally burned out, along with a number of helicopters. Damages of approx. 1 billion $ were reported.

The human toll

According to the official propaganda, nobody were killed by the attack. And according to the other side, equally to be regarded propaganda, more than 300 American and 125 Iraqi troops died [[7]]. Nine large American military transports with prominent Red Cross markings were observed by members of the foreign media taking off, laded with the dead and the wounded. The same source gives a long list of names for the American casualties received at the US military hospital at al-Habbaniyah located some 70km west of Baghdad [[8]]. A more specific number, 422 dead American soldiers, was published on Oct. 22, without revealing its source [[9]].

       Knowing the strategy for reporting casualties in Iraq, both extremes, nobody and several hundred killed, may have more than a grain of truth in themselves. The occupiers count only those as dead who are killed – directly and immediately – by the enemies weaponry. If somebody was standing where the morter grenade landed, he fulfills this criteria, but not if he was killed by the succeeding explosion of the American ammunition. Add to this that extensive burns rarely cause immediate death, which is following after hours or days of extensive suffering. Anyhow, this calamity comes in the month with most casualties after the American conquest of Iraq in March-April 2003, both for the American and British forces. If the truth will ever come out, the cover-up can be expected to last some weeks, after the Mid-Term Elections – if, after all, the hacked election machines do not suffice to give the Republicans the expected majority, it is better to keep it secret till then.

The Reaction

If you have some stocks in a firm and some insider-knowledge that something there is going wrong, you may abuse this knowledge and sell your shares (as the Israeli General Dan Halutz did just hours before the Israeli attack on Lebanon [[10]]). Similarly, politicians and military from both occupying nations indicated indirectly that something terrible had occurred. Without sharing this knowledge, I had saved the following statement fro immediately after the assault of Camp Falcon:

       “The head of Britain's army said the presence of British troops in Iraq was exacerbating the security situation on the ground and they should be withdrawn soon” [[11], 13/10]. The surprise was even greater as Blair claimed that he “agreed with every word of his devastating assessment of British policy in Iraq” [[12], 14/10].

       “After George Bush conceded .. that America may have reached the equivalent of a Tet offensive in Iraq, Pentagon admitted defeat in its strategy of securing Baghdad” [[13], 20/10]. Suddenly thereafter, a strange competition started: “Senior Republicans are moving into open revolt against what they see as a rapidly deteriorating situation and Bush's bullheadedness in still believing that Iraq will somehow become a model for democratic transformation in the Middle East” [[14], 21/10].

       The success of the Iraqi resistance may also be confirmed by the following quotations: “US and UK seek Iraq exit strategy - UK urges engagement with Syria and Iran as officials review options after this week's surge in violence in Iraq” [[15], 21/10]. And it was reported that the Americans had kept secret meetings with the Iraqi Resistance in Amman [[16], 22/10].

       After the Camp Falcon disaster surfaced, the following quotations were registered: James Baker is also leading a panel that is preparing recommendations for alternative strategies in Iraq though the panel’s recommendations will not be issued until after the Nov. 7 elections [[17], 23/10]; “Blair gives Iraq 12 months to be ready for handover” [[18], 23/10]; “America's most senior general has signalled a dramatic shift in strategy, saying Iraq will be responsible for it's own security in 12 to 18 months” [[19], 25/10]; and “For the first time since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, active-duty members of the military are publicly appealing members of Congress to end the U.S. occupation” [[20], 26/10].

       No hard feelings? Not quite. “US helicopter bombs Al-Sadr's office South of Baghdad” [[21], 23/10] and “Iraqi special forces went into Sadr City, a stronghold of the Mehdi army militia, overnight to try to capture "a top illegal armed group commander" who directed death squads in eastern Baghdad” [[22], 25/10]. There is, however, little indication that Al-Sadr was involved in either event. The death-squads have recently been linked to the former Premier Chalabi, a US marionette [[23]].

       In summary, there are multiple indications that the Americans have met their crucial defeat in Iraq but for interior political reasons are trying to keep it secret for almost a month. We should not help them with this secrecy!

October 28, 2006
John Schou