Reuters News Article

Street fight in Baghdad going to be bloody

Saddam’s waiting for the US troops in Baghdad. This is going to be a very bloody slaughtering; never forget Stalingrad, 60 years ago.

from this BBC history feature on Stalingrad:

The Germans moved swiftly forward, reaching the banks of the River Volga. The German soldiers of Army Group B had one last major task – to take the city of Stalingrad on the west bank of the Volga.

And so began one of the bloodiest and bitterest battles of World War Two. More than 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the city but Stalin initially forbade any evacuation from the city, even of children. Soviet reinforcements had to cross the Volga from the east and many of them drowned under the weight of their clothing and weapons. The infamous Penal Units – some of them political prisoners – took part in suicidal missions as a way of atoning for their ‘sins’ and the average life-expectancy of a Soviet private soldier during the battle of Stalingrad was just 24 hours. By the end of the siege, 1 million Soviet soldiers had died on the Stalingrad front.

Now, Saddam admires Hitler and Stalin and I don’t even want to think about exchanging Stalingrad with Baghdad and the river Volga with Tigris. No wonder Germans and Russians are opposed to such a war. Around 250.000 Germans and a million Russian soldiers died there. My grandfather also died in Russia. He wasn’t a Nazi but he didn’t have any choice at this time: Either fight or you get shot. That’s the brutal reality in wars — no more time for timid intellectualizing at this point. We shouldn’t forget that we’re talking about humans dying; increasingly it gets abstract. We talk about dead soldiers like slam dunks at sports events; we keep scores, we keep the distance. Just have a look at al-alzeera to see the ugly face of war and then surf back to your good news channels.

Reuters News Article Retired U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division 12 years ago, said the U.S.-led force faced “a very dicey two to three day battle” as it pushes north toward the Iraqi capital.

..

“In the process if they (the Iraqis) actually fight, and that’s one of the assumptions, clearly it’s going to be brutal, dangerous work and we could take, bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties,” said McCaffrey who became one of the most senior ranking members of the U.S. military following the 1991 war.

“So if they (the Americans and British) are unwilling to face up to that, we may have a difficult time of it taking down Baghdad and Tikrit up to the north west.”

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