Sunday, April 22, 2007

Shell Game


With Live Shells!!!

Let’s see…Add 30,000 troops and initially quell the sectarian violence in Baghdad – but, well, on closer examination, maybe not.

For every piece of news indicating “progress’ there are two more pointing out setbacks. Increase security in Baghdad and Anbar, and all hell breaks loose in Diyala.

Tamp down death squad activity – and a couple of bridges across the Tigris get blown up.

It isn’t so much tit-for-tat as it is pure, unadulterated one-upsmanship.

From the Washington Post:

U.S. commanders say sectarian murders fell from 1,200 in Baghdad in January to fewer than 400 in March. Markets are reopening, and a few thousand families have trickled back to areas they had fled.

But they agreed that among the most troubling trends in Iraq has been the proliferation of suicide bomb attacks, because they risk reigniting sectarian revenge killings and undermining the government. Suicide bombings have increased 30 percent over the six weeks that ended in early April, according to military data.

"When you have these big explosions, there is a very high risk of a major setback because it sends a message of instability and insecurity," said Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command.

It is virtually impossible to eliminate the suicide bombings, the commanders acknowledged. "I don't think you're ever going to get rid of all the car bombs," Petraeus said. "Iraq is going to have to learn -- as did, say, Northern Ireland -- to live with some degree of sensational attacks." A more realistic goal, he said, but one that has eluded U.S. and Iraqi forces, is to prevent the bombers from causing "horrific damage."

It’s a deadly shell game. Or, as Heinlein would say – it’s a Bug Hunt

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