The first came after doing a cursory review of Marighella's Minimanual of Urban Guerilla Warfare for a previous posting. This was a work familiar from my past, and I especially noted the sections on marksmanship and the urban guerilla.
Shortly after this review I went to Ft. Benning, Georgia, to visit old friends from the sniper period of my life. I breakfasted with two men who were attending the Military Marksmanship Reunion, who between them had 115 kills, if not more; the actual figures are unknown, because they won't say.
Hours before the linkup, I turned on CNN only to see footage of U.S. military personnel being killed by a well-trained sniper. Since snipers work in teams, it was evident even to CNN commentators that we were being shown the work of an experienced, well-trained and equipped team. Obviously, no dead-enders.
My sniper training dates to 1973, when the U.S. military and civilian police were developing skills for use in built-up areas such as Baghdad, Fallujah, etc. I feel comfortable making statements about fields of fire, shooting locations, escape routes, pre-positioning equipment and counter-sniping operations. In the normal theater of operations, the best counter-sniper tactic is artillery fire on all likely and suspected shooting positions and escape routes. Unfortunately, this is not an option in Baghdad.
The salient point is that one sniper accounted for five U.S. casualties that we know of. A professional shooter. In a CNN interview analyzing the footage, the author of the book Shooter--a former U.S. Marine sniper--said he couldn't guess what rifle was used by the sniper. After watching the horrendous film, I'll venture it wasn't a 5.56 or 7.63 x 39. It was a 7.62 NATO or 7.62 Russian, both of which are the hallmark of snipers worldwide. Obviously, the Iraqis are taking Bush at his word, and are bringing it on.
The U.S. military men targeted are sitting ducks and don't have a chance. Why are they exposed to this needless violence?
Think of the cost effectiveness of the sniper concept. I won't pontificate about the price of missiles versus the price of a bullet.
Why am I even exploring this topic? Well, the U.S. military in Iraq is subject to IED's, and all personnel in the field are fish waiting for their turn in the barrel. Now snipers are in the mix. The military should not be put in a place where they don't have a fighting chance. Our troops should be removed from Iraq ASAP; BSAP won't cut it.
As an afterthought, it's a strange world when U.S. taxpayers can't view photos of troop coffins coming home, but we can watch videos of U.S. military being killed. Strange brew, indeed.