Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
We'll Stand Up As They Stand Down
WaPo has an article about a small part of the "security program" in Baghdad. I ran across this interesting tidbit:
Gaining this understanding is one of the most difficult challenges facing U.S. soldiers operating here. Over two days, more than 350 U.S. troops involved in the operation searched 95 homes, discovered about a dozen roadside bombs -- including two that exploded under their tanks, causing no injuries -- and took scattered small-arms fire. But they failed to capture a single insurgent.

Although the security plan has been cast as an Iraqi-led mission, no Iraqi police operate around Ibrahim bin Ali. And Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, the battalion commander, said he could not persuade Iraqi army commandos to assist.

"They didn't return my calls," he said.
(Said in a nasal voice) "I'm sorry, the number you have reached is not in service at this time".

But something else caught my eye. In different portions of the article there were these two pieces:
"I don't know who they are. They look exactly the same. The bad guys and the good guys look exactly the same."
Followed later by:
Without such heightened presence, he said, even armed residents are afraid to confront the insurgents. "I know they have AK-47 weapons in their house. What they'll always tell you is, 'until you're out here full time we can't' " respond, Pinkerton [the American commander] said.
So when the Americans search a house and find guns, the residents tell them they're just keeping weapons to protect themselves, although they're afraid to actually confront an insurgent "until you're out here full time ..." . Yet the military acknowledges that the insurgents look like everyone else.

Of course this is the only real policy that the military can follow .... hearts and minds and all that. But this snippet simply highlights the craziness of the this policy. Oh. BTW. The soldiers in that sector slept on the roof of an abandoned building that night, maintaining the "hold" strategy.