Nice title, huh? “Mailed fist.”
What I find most humorous about this article (besides the general ignorance) is how it goes back and forth. It goes on and on about how outdated the Iraqi tanks are, then describes how the tanks have done so well against insurgents. It goes on and on about terrible it is that the Iraqis are stuck with this junk, then interviews Iraqis and Americans who think it’s great. But despite all the positives it reports from those using the tanks, the story is decidedly negative.
“The problem is not with the tanks,” Colonel Habib said. The right leadership, he said, will make the Russian machines run like “the best tank in the world.”
That may be an overstatement. The tanks, though still a formidable threat to fighters on foot, are badly outdated. The remarkably cramped gunner’s seat inside the T-55 driven by Mr. Kareem, a soldier in the Iraqi Army, is surrounded by a riot of old dials, switches, belts, wires, cables, leather straps and crude optics along with manual controls for moving the turret and the main gun. Shells must be loaded by hand into the breech of the gun.
So the writer will contradict an Iraqi Colonel then write “Shells must be loaded by hand into the breech of the gun” as if it underscores the crudity of the tank. Someone should tell the writer how shells are loaded on M1 tanks, I think.
So far, even though American and Iraqi officers say that the machines have sometimes been disabled by insurgents’ roadside bombs, the armor has succeeded in protecting the soldiers and other people inside. Still, some insurgent bombs have been big enough to harm even modern armored vehicles. And there is still danger for people not fully inside: Bob Woodruff, co-anchor of the ABC News program “World News Tonight,” and a network cameraman suffered serious wounds on Jan. 29 when a roadside bomb went off as they were working atop one of Ninth Division’s MT-LB’s on a highway north of Taji. [emphasis Murdoc’s]
What? You mean to tell me that the armor on these ancient armored vehicles doesn’t protect someone not within the vehicle? LOL. What an idiot.
The story ends with:
“Anytime they see the tanks on the street they are afraid and they turn back,” Lieutenant Habib said. But in the town of Saba Al Bor, just a few miles to the west, residents have been streaming out in the face of mortar attacks that Iraqi tanks are powerless to stop. Insurgents lob mortar shells into the town over a canal from agricultural fields that are miles beyond the effective range of the tanks’ main guns.
The silence of those guns is a source of endless frustration for the townspeople, who cheer the presence of Iraqi tanks but want them to shoot back. “We feel good about it,” said Ali Firas Fadhil Muhamad, 21, of the Iraqi tanks as he stood outside a cafe in a crowd of other patrons.
“But when the mortars come,” Mr. Muhamad said, “we don’t have any action.”
You gotta love the Times.