Compare urban combat in Iraq to other conflicts
March 24, 2003
Web posted at: 9:20 PM EST (0220 GMT)
Overview: U.S. officials say Iraqi troops are seriously violating the laws of war. In some cases, Iraqis have indicated that they were trying to surrender, but when coalition forces approached, the Iraqis suddenly opened fire. CNN's Jason Bellini reports from the challenging front lines of urban combat in Iraq.
After students read "Coalition advances continue, despite combat frustrations" and watch the first segment of CNN Student News (the video can be accessed from CNNStudentNews.com) pose the following questions:
1. What challenges are the Marines of the 15th expeditionary unit encountering in combat outside the port city of Umm Qasr? How have the Marines attempted to draw Iraqi shooters out of the residential areas? What does it mean to "wave a white flag"? Why did the Iraqis' actions after waving a white flag create confusion?
2. What types of decisions do ground troops have to make as they confront Iraqi resistance in this setting? Why do you think CNN's Jason Bellini describes this situation as "complex"?
3. Divide the class into groups. Direct student groups to multimedia resources to learn about warfare in urban settings. Then, ask each group to choose a war, such as the American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Vietnam Conflict, or the Persian Gulf War, and review or research its major battles. Have groups report their answers to the following questions:
• Where did these battles take place?
• What weapons were employed in these battles?
• What technology was available?
• What strategies did military officers use?
As a class, review the unique aspects of fighting in an urban setting. Draw comparisons between past battles students researched and training for urban warfare. How might urban combat impact the way wars are fought and the "rules of engagement"? Discuss.