This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, March 29, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight U.S. troops are under attack in Iraq. In Ramadi (search), at least 12 Marines have been killed in what witnesses describe unlike any other firefight we've seen so far. In nearby Fallujah, the Marines faced heavy resistance and fierce urban warfare. Is the Sunni triangle a death trap? '
Joining from Washington are retired Marine lieutenant colonel Bill Cowan and retired Army major general Don Edwards. General Edwards, what can you tell us about what's going on or what has been going on in Iraq the last 12 hours?
MAJ. GEN. DON EDWARDS, U.S. ARMY, (RET.), FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, let's do that. Let's go to the screenwriter right away, if we could, Greta, and I'll lay this out for you. This has been a busy day. As you mentioned, the Marines have cordoned off Fallujah. They have actually entered the city. They actually went all the way into the heart of the city today. They didn't stay there. As evening began to unfold, it began to get dark, they pulled back. There were a lot of firefights. They have been able to pick up some people, and there's a very good opportunity, we think, that as this thing unfolds, they'll be able to pick off some of these people who we saw on videotape and get that city under control. And I think we see that in process as, we discussed last night.
What is really interesting, Greta, is this fight that broke out today over in -- this new fight over where the Marine headquarters area is in Ramadi. That was a surprise. And that was a very well-organized attack, as Bret pointed out earlier. This was not some rag-tag militia that was conducting a fight. This was well-trained forces. They came at the Marines in waves. They paid a price, and they still kept coming. That's the sign of a disciplined, well-organized military.
That fight's over, but the indications that they could have pulled this off and that this may have been, Greta, folks from the former Special Republican Guards, is disturbing indeed.
VAN SUSTEREN: Colonel, the sun is just coming up in Baghdad -- in Iraq right now. It seems to be over because, you know, of the success that we've heard of the day before and the losses. But what do you think we can expect today? What can our military expect?
LT. COL. BILL COWAN, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.): Well, certainly, it was a tough day yesterday, Greta, and let's hope we don't face another tough day like that. But you know, I don't think anything in Fallujah is going to slow down at all. It's interesting. The Marines went over there really with a different attitude. The division commander, Major General Mattis, really worked hard to train these guys to go into urban environments, populated environments, not only to go after targets directly -- that is, real good fire discipline, if you get shot at from one place, fire right back at that, not everywhere -- but also work alongside the population.
So these Marines were trained to go in in a little different scenario than our other forces have been over there, and that is, go in, work with the people and against the bad guys.
VAN SUSTEREN: But Colonel -- but ...
COWAN: They're having a tough time. It's -- they're having a tough time with it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Colonel, you say they're well trained, and I indeed believe we have a well-trained military. But we lost 12 in Ramadi. Why -- why did we lose those 12?
COWAN: Well, you know, I'm speculating, Greta, because I wasn't over there, but there's a lesson to be learned. I learned it the hard way in Vietnam. Some of these Marines still may need to learn it. And that is, when you're moving out like that, you always want to have some kind of air cover. You always want to have helicopters over you. You want to have somebody forward of you, looking down to see what the lay of the ground is, what's happening down there in front of you. When you have that kind of constant air support over you, you're not going to walk into a real bad ambush, like apparently happened today. And again, I wasn't there, so I'm speculating.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, what about that? We have boots on the ground. We have troops there. Do we have sufficient air power, do we have sufficient coverage of the men on the ground?
EDWARDS: I think there is, at this point, Greta. I think we may see some shifting. I think we may see that General Abizaid and his commanders in Iraq will move some people around that are in one place and maybe focus some people down more to deal with some of these other threats that have cropped up. I think you can look for that. There's adequate air power.
This fight today was not so much an ambush as it was an attack on a fixed position. Exactly what took place, we don't know. But we do know, Greta, that we have not seen that before, and it's not a shock to me that it surprised our folks. I think it would have surprised anybody.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, in your last comment, you said that if it's the Republican Guard, the elite portion of it, that that concerns you. Why?
EDWARDS: Because they were very well organized. Remember now, of course, this is the Sunni triangle. We've talked about that earlier. And this is a hotbed of the Ba'athist supporters. But they came out of there today. They waged a fight. They weren't six guys in a BMW, as happened last night, who ran out of Fallujah and were shooting at the Marines and got shot up. That's pretty typical of what we've seen. This was a well- organized infantry attack. That's different, and we'll need to watch that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And indeed, we will because we're going to go back to Baghdad in a moment. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
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