Just Another Day in the Quagmire

U.S. Troops Nab Senior Saddam Bodyguard
One by one we continue to take bad guys off the street. Gun by gun and bomb by bomb we continue to disarm those that remain. This is a slow process, but we are making headway. Think back to Afghanistan in the months after the fall of the Taliban. Attacks against US troops were a daily occurrence. But we kept the pressure on, and although the media went on and on about Vietnam blah blah blah, the attacks tapered off. Maybe things could be going better in Iraq, but not by much, if you ask me.

In Iraqi city, a new battle plan
Here’s an example of how our troops and the Iraqis are coming together, even in the city where fifteen demonstrators were killed by US troops in April. US 3ID officers met with local sheiks and clerics.

The sheiks and clerics wanted the brigade commander to pull his troops out of the city. That request was immediately rejected. But instead of storming out, the sheiks made a series of alternative demands. They asked that tanks not be driven through residential neighborhoods at night. They beseeched soldiers not to frisk women or clerics. And they insisted that searches of cars and homes be conducted without a presumption of guilt that led to soldiers knocking down doors and dragging out occupants in handcuffs.
The officers agreed to most of the demands. But Capt. John Ives, a military intelligence officer who became the key interlocutor between the local leadership and the brigade commanders, said they warned the sheiks that the moment a woman or a cleric pulled a gun on soldiers, or the occupants of a house attempted to resist a search, “all bets would be off.”

We won the battle. We are winning the peace. And things like this will win hearts and minds.

And those demonstrations where Iraqi civilians were killed on April 28th?

Many residents believed that the demonstrators were unarmed, although local leaders concede that a handful of Hussein loyalists who had infiltrated the demonstration might have shot at the soldiers.

I heard the military saying that at the time, but all the news people just rolled their eyes.