Dealing With Hot Bed of Insurgency

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report with Brit Hume", April 1, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, DEPUTY OPS DIR., U.S. MILITARY: Will there be a fight? That's up to the belligerence, that's up to the insurgents because coalition forces will respond; they will be in that city. It will be at a time and a place of our choosing. It will be methodical, it will be precise, and it will be overwhelming.


BRIT HUME, HOST: So what exactly might an overwhelming response in Fallujah to yesterday's atrocities look like? For answers, we return to retired General of the Army, military historian, and Fox News analyst General Robert Scales.

Bob, nice to see you.


HUME: So, you're -- put yourself if you can in General Kimmitt's (search) shoes over there. What kind of an operation would you be planning for a place like Fallujah? You might want to say what kind of a place Fallujah is.

SCALES: Well, remember now, Fallujah is a big city. It's half a million people, it's about the size of San Antonio, Texas: flat roofs, wide boulevards, full of mosques. It's one of Saddam's new cities and therefore, it's not an easy city so sort of take down in the classic sense? So what would happen...

HUME: When you say, "take down," you mean obliterate them you mean?

SCALES: Or to do -- we talked earlier about a cordon operation, to sort of go from the outside in...

HUME: You mean surround it?

SCALES: Yes, it's not going away; it's just too big. And remember, the Marines have only been there a week. The total Marine force in Fallujah is about three to 4,000. So you're not talking about a lot of numbers.

HUME: That's a relatively tiny numbers.

SCALES: Sure. You figure for a city that large, it's probably smaller than the police force in that city. So what has to be done? Pretty simple. What they have to do is gather the intelligence, put together an operational plan, put together a force -- an overwhelming force of some probably multi-brigade size and then go after point targets in Fallujah. Go after the insurgents. And do whatever they can to avoid collateral damage and hurting civilians in the city.

So that takes time to plan, to put together; most importantly, you've got to get the intelligence picture right, otherwise you're going to wind up making a mess of it.

HUME: Well, isn't Fallujah a place where the U.S. forces have been hesitant to hang around much?

SCALES: Right.

HUME: That they've pulled back from. What about intelligence resources?

SCALES: A couple of points. Now, remember Fallujah was really the hot spot of the hot spot. That's the worst part of the Sunni Triangle. Also remember, it's never really seen war. Remember, this was a city that surrendered without having any troops pass through it during the war. So this is the place that is really the hot bed of this insurgency. You can almost call it like the heartland of the Sunni Triangle.

HUME: Well, you're talking here -- of course, we're assuming now we're not talking about foreign terrorists, that these are disaffected, former Saddamites?

SCALES: Absolutely! These are Fedayeen, they're Baathist Party members, there maybe a couple of foreigners in there. Now, this is home grown insurgency. This is Saddam's hometown. And these guys are really, really bad. This is Tombstone.

HUME: Now, would it be likely that the killing of the American forces nearby yesterday with a roadside bomb was done by a different -- by different elements.

SCALES: It's likely it was done by different elements, sure.

HUME: This was -- this -- this event that happened with the four American civilians murdered, the car was shot up and they set ablaze, and caught fire in the middle of the street. That was probably -- that's a different modus operandi, isn't it?

SCALES: Two groups; remember it was a small hit team? Three guys showed up in an SUV, got out, set up this hasty ambush. Shot the first vehicle full of Americans who came through, got in their vehicle and left.

The rioting that you see going on there is from a different group. Those are the local population in Fallujah. The young kids you see there, some of them are teenagers, and some of them mostly young men, who basically celebrated over the event. And took the atrocity from there.

HUME: Angry Americans, I hear them on radio, I've heard them on the air. Some American -- Angry American anchormen even, who have said this place ought to be obliterated and that will show the world not to mess with us. What about that account of it?

SCALES: You can't do that. Remember...

HUME: Why?

SCALES: Because even in Fallujah, the majority of the people in that city want to see peace restored. Many of the citizens of Fallujah were horrified by what they saw. To simply go in there with this a mass effect to just sort of take the city down, won't work because you're going to create more enemies than you have in that city right now.

HUME: The way you describe a potential operation, which would have to even when it came about would have to be kind of surgical.

SCALES: Absolutely.

HUME: It sounds like we would have to greatly reinforce the troops who are there.

SCALES: Yes, probably.

HUME: And this is the kind of planning that would take -- you would imagine how long?

SCALES: Hmm, a few days.

HUME: Only days?

SCALES: Ah, days to weeks, the sooner the better. You can't let this thing fester. But if you have the intelligence, the key is the intelligence. You've got to go at somebody, rather than simply going at an area, or a block, or a portion of the city.

And in order to that the Marines have got to formulate a plan. They have to rehearse the plan. They've got to assemble the forces. And once all that's done and the preparation is done properly, they can be surgical rather than...

HUME: And how much firepower or air power?

SCALES: You don't need much.

HUME: Really?

SCALES: Because -- no, the Marines have got the firepower they need to be able to go after point targets. Certainly, they'll have A-10's overhead probably, maybe even some artillery standing by; but in an operation like this, not necessary.

HUME: Choppers?

SCALES: Sure. Kiowa Warriors, Apaches, Cobras, just to provide that, again, that pinpoint precision, a strike they may need to take down a building, for instance; if they catch the insurgents in the building.

HUME: Got you. Bob Scales, it's always good to see you.

SCALES: You too, Brit.

HUME: Thanks very much for coming.

SCALES: You bet.

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