Sunday, April 22, 2007

About that S(pl)urge...


It certainly seems to be having an effect in Diyala province, I’ll give it that. Only one minor detail: It is creating a more lethal adversarial force for the American military to reckon with.

From the Washington Post:

In Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, the American military is engaged in an intractable guerrilla fight against an elusive and sophisticated enemy more deadly than many battle-hardened soldiers have ever encountered in Iraq. The attacks on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers here have risen sharply in recent months, a problem compounded by an influx of fighters in search of safer havens outside Baghdad. Many of the insurgents are well-trained, highly mobile fighters who refuse to get dragged into open confrontations in which American forces can deploy their overpowering weaponry.

The insurgents "fight in small numbers, they try and hit you through subterfuge, they like using snipers," said Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Hanner, 35, of Redding, Calif., part of an armored unit of Stryker combat vehicles that took part in the Buhriz al-Barra assault. "These guys know what they're doing. They're controlled, their planning is good, their human intel network and early-warning networks are effective."

These techniques have become increasingly devastating to the Americans in this province. Since November, when the 5,000-member 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Diyala, at least 46 American soldiers have died in the fighting, officers said. Eleven U.S. soldiers were killed in the province from October 2005 to October 2006, according to a Washington Post database. Diyala was the eighth-deadliest province for Americans in 2006 but has risen to third this year, after Baghdad and Anbar provinces.

So – take a relatively restive province, add insurgent fighters displaced by increased American troop presence, and what do you get? Violence, destruction and death on an epic scale, heretofore unseen.

Heckuva Job.

Now, who gets this Medal of Freedom?

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