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Chapter 12 – Aftermath of Husaybah Deployment01 Feb

Chapter 12 — Aftermath of Husaybah Deployment

The War According to Rory Quinn, Part Three

When we left “The War According to Rory Quinn” in Chapter 6, he had just finished describing the main factors which lead to the spike in violence in April 2004 — a combination of economics, the reaction to the lynching of the four Blackwater employees, and Abu Gharib. Quinn thought the “lowest of the low” occurred in May 2004, “when Dusty Soudan had his heart turned into a shriveled, black, bitter thing” because “we kept using Karbala type tactics in a Fallujah environment,” and “[Soudan] blamed Watson for it.”

In Quinn’s view, Phase Three of the War occurred in May of 2004 to November 2005. “This is the main phase of the war,” said Rory Quinn as he wrote on a white board for the benefit of Doug Halepaska at the 3/7 Command Post several years later. “What goes on for this 18 month period is Al Qaeda, with the Iraqi people behind them, tries to defeat the United States. And no matter how much they brought at us, no matter how many times they attacked us, no matter how many times they blew us up, they could not beat us. Now, we couldn’t win either. But, they couldn’t defeat us. And every month that went by, the United States’ position became stronger.”

Quinn uses the following tactical vignette to stand for the strategic stand off during this period: “I could show you videos of insurgents coming into a person’s kitchen in Ramadi, shooting at the Government Center across the street for seven seconds, then the Iraqis run out of the house, and then there’s a ten second gap, and then one hundred fifty cal rounds from the government center plough through this person’s kitchen, but the insurgents are gone. So the homeowner is in the bedroom, flattening himself on the floor, holding his infant underneath his ribcage as our fifty cal rounds are ploughing through the house. Let’s just say in May 04 the homeowner let’s say he said, ‘God is great, go get em insurgents.’ Well in June 04, it happened again, and maybe the homeowner said, ‘God is great, go get em insurgents.’ But in July 04, it happened again, and we hadn’t yet been defeated, and more fifty cal rounds are ploughing though this person’s house. And all of a sudden, the homeowner is thinking, ‘I’m not so sure this is going so well for me.’ And in August 04, we were not even close to being defeated, but we couldn’t win either, yet we were still pumping rounds through these people’s houses because the insurgents would attack us from the houses. So, at some point, the people said, ‘Fuck this, it ain’t worth it.’ But, at that point — I’m going to arbitrarily say that’s September 04 — Al Qaeda is in too deep. They married into families.”

“I’ve read about that in Afghanistan,” noted Halepaska. “They would become part of the tribal blood.”

“And then the whole tribe has to be loyal to the members of their tribe,” Quinn picked up on the thought. “From May 04 to November 05, these new tribal members ask so much of their tribe that their tribe gives them everything that they have to give, and then the Al Qaeda guys continue asking for more, and at some point, the tribe says, ‘You know what, Fuck this.’ And the time that happened was November 28, 2005. On that date, there was a meeting in the Government Center in Ramadi of all sorts of insurgents and insurgent leadership, met with General Casey, [the fore runner to General Petraeus as the top US Commander in Iraq], [US] Ambassador Khalizad, LtCol Turner [the 3/7 commanding officer]. The insurgent leadership said, ‘I am sick of this Al Qaeda threat. I want to join the system. They asked for specific things. They wanted Sunni representation in the Iraqi Army in the 7th Division, which is the Anbar division. They wanted the head of the 7th Division to be a Sunni soldier. The demands were difficult, like reconstruction funds because the city [Ramadi] had been hurt so bad. The minute that these people come to us and say ‘we don’t want the insurgent process to continue,’ the United States wins that battle — [the Third Battle of Iraq].”

Quinn conceded that his narrative was a gross oversimplification. But it was still useful as a broad outline of the war in its main phases.

Summarizing the Third Battle of Iraq in the War According to Rory Quinn, “November 28 shows that their loyalty to Al Qaeda is not absolute. Al Qaeda has overstayed their welcome basically. They have asked for more than the populous is willing to give.”

“So, the population was kind of sitting on the fence at that point, teetering back and forth,” asked Halepaska.

“Yes,” confirmed Quinn. “In December of 2005, it was basically a peaceful month — even though Lima Company had an incredibly violent month.” And here again, we place a book mark in The War According to Rory Quinn, who becomes the Commanding Officer of Lima Company 3/7 for it’s third deployment to Iraq in the Fall of 2005. We will continue with Quinn’s six phase master tactical-strategic narrative of the Iraq War in Chapter 17 on The Aftermath of Lima Company’s First Deployment to Ramadi, in 2005-2006.

Quinn’s objectivity throughout his narrative is note worthy, however. He is not a detached observer — indeed, he will command Lima Company Marines during what he terms “Phase Three” of the six-part narrative. He will command the company during a period when Marines are killed and injured, yet in his re-telling of the war, he often speaks on behalf of the population, always careful to give their point of view, as in his progressive description of the homeowner taking return Marine fifty cal fire in response to insurgents who provoke the response. This trend towards reciting the perspective of the Iraqi population will continue and grow in the next three phases of the war. He will make statements like, “They just had to fight us for a while,” which is quite remarkable given that during the period he describes, he had Marines killed and maimed. Such detached objectivity — at least in one segment of a commander’s mind — seems to be an essential quality of a successful commanding officer in an advanced counter-insurgency.

Marine Battalions Start to Redeploy to the Same Towns

Battalion 1/7 followed 3/7 in Husaybah, and would again deploy to Husaybah for a second deployment — a trend towards deploying Marine Battalions in the same area on successive deployments, which certainly helped to further the trend towards distributed operations and Small Wars techniques like Combined Action Platoons (CAPs), which 1/7 used in its second deployment to Husaybah.

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This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.


This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.