There are serious technical problems that I have brought up privately to high-ranking PAO officers over the past nearly two years which persist today, despite that any one of them could be easily resolved with better planning on the part of PAO. I’ve found that communicating with them privately is generally useless. (Obviously, as the problems persist.) A person has got to tell a million people before they are heard. Since it will affect how the news from here gets reported, and since I know the other writers here are often afraid to speak up about this stuff (one senior PAO officer actually threatened to kick me out a few months ago), I’ll take the heat on telling the million people:
I could be in combat now, but have been wasting time trying to get a badge to get into the dining facility. Got one. Not a big deal, until you add that up for 20 reporters all wasting part of their very limited time (we are in a war), and soldiers’ time (they are fighting it) getting ridiculous paperwork when the Press ID could simply say, “Unescorted access to dining facilities is authorized. Please call DSN 867 5309 with any questions.” Simple solution. I have wasted hours on the issue of eating over the past few days. It adds up when your time windows open and close unpredictably and rapidly.
The fact that cell phones would become inoperable (satellite phones too) wasn't hidden from the PAO prior to kickoff. Cutting enemy communications at the onset of a battle isn't exactly a new concept. The PAOs can and should do a better job.
The other item reported that is troublesome is the lack of support from local military commanders. Yon didn't make it crystal clear but I don't take this as criticism of the IA units that are performing the blocking operations outside of the town but of the local garrison which wasn't assigned a combat role at all. The inertia reflected in Yon's statement that:
This is where the inept local Iraqi commanders come in. I’ve seen them in meeting after meeting, over the past few days, finding ways to be underachievers. The Iraqi commanders have dozens of large trucks and have only to drive to our base to collect the supplies and distribute those supplies to the people displaced in the battle.coupled with Odierno's 'end state' remarks indicate a mismatch of expectations and reality.
Watch for the humanitarian non-crisis to get blown out of proportion by the MSM in the same manner that Fox blew Katrina into a crisis by focusing on locals inability to walk off a damn overpass. If the Iraqis won't get off their collective ass then the area commander better get some contract haulers in to move food and water tout suite. Otherwise we'll see a baby meme grow up in 48 hours.