July 2 Blackanthem reports that
Insurgents targeted Camp Echo and the surrounding area with as many as 75 mortars and rockets in the early hours of July 2. Coalition Forces responded to the threat with an F-16 air strike on identified points of origin of the attack.75? That is astounding. That is no longer hit and run. It doesn't happen in a minute or two unless there is a whole battery firing. In either case there is enough time and/or target to respond.
At around 2.00 a.m. Camp Echo and near-by residents of Diwaniyah City suffered a barrage of indiscriminate mortar fire and rocket attacks from insurgents operating in the Al Jumuri district. About 25 mortars and rockets struck within the perimeter of Camp Echo, injuring 3 Coalition Soldiers. The remaining 50 rounds impacted outside of the base in the surrounding neighborhood.That implies that Echo is surrounded by civilian homes, which is not entirely true. The lack of collateral damage if missing Echo is one of the factors which allows the insurgents to fire at will.
Coalition Forces identified a number of launch points for this attack and directed two F16 aircraft to respond. The aircraft targeted and bombed the insurgent launch sites."Reviewing the incident"? They just had to finally respond to 75 shots inbound, but oh man, what did they actually bomb? The Latvians have left and there is no infantry to send or what?
The bulk of the attacks were conducted from Salim Street, where insurgents persistently use urban areas from which to attack, in order to use civilians as human shields. Coalition Forces are reviewing the incident to ensure that appropriate and proportionate force was used in responding to the intense attack.
Air strikes into urban terrain tend to be comparatively ineffectual and with massive collateral damage, making them rather counterproductive. Indescriminate US air strikes are considered one of the prime factors driving support for insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. William Lind puts it best in his recent note The Perfect (Sine) Wave:
To put it bluntly, there is no surer or faster way to lose in 4GW than by calling in airstrikes. It is a disaster on every level. Physically, it inevitably kills far more civilians than enemies, enraging the population against us and driving them into the arms of our opponents. Mentally, it tells the insurgents we are cowards who only dare fight them from 20,000 feet in the air. Morally, it turns us into Goliath, a monster every real man has to fight.Reuters reports local hospital sources that 10 civilians including children and 30 wounded (Iraqslogger makes that 13 and 30). Needless to say, that ain't going to make no friends. In the weakly linked cause-and-effect state that is the arab mind the 75 mortar bombs may well be considered as retribution for the bombing.
Unsurprisingly, Iraqslogger reports that the locals are hopping mad, that tensions are high and could break out at any moment. Figure to see more and bigger payback coming up for Echo.