Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Day In Iraq

and another helicopter shot down.

The helicopter was shot down near the town of Yusifiya, nine miles south of the capital. The area is a stronghold of the Sunni Arab insurgency against U.S.-forces and the Shiite-led government they back.

“Two soldiers died ... when their helicopter was shot down during fighting in Yusifiya,” a U.S. statement said, giving no further details.

Yusifiya is only 9 miles from Baghdad, a graphic example of how poorly the US has done in securing the nation. 9 miles from the political center of the country, 9 miles from the home of the Green Zone, and the center of the nations focus, we are engaged in combat that demands air support, and that air support is then attacked.

And, that isn't the only disturbing news today. The once peaceful (by Iraqi standards) south of the country is getting very dangerous.

the total of British casualties in Iraq over the past nine days to six soldiers killed and five wounded. The other attacks also occurred in southern Iraq, an area that has been far more peaceful than central and northern Iraq where U.S. forces are based.

And just to make clear that the path ahead may only get worse, the Iraqi police force that we created and we trained, are often the suspects in the crimes the US forces see.

The Americans' problems are compounded by the fact that the same Shiite-led Interior Ministry police forces they are training to protect Iraqis are widely suspected in the killings -- if not as the executioners, then as allies to the Shiite militias blamed for much of the bloodshed.

"No police allowed," a hand-painted banner declares in Adhamiyah, a middle-class quarter of homes and gardens behind high brick walls that is one of the largest Sunni districts in Baghdad. In clashes last month, Adhamiyah homeowners took up guns to fight off what they took to be Iraqi police, possibly backed by Shiite militias, trying to enter the barricaded neighborhood.

In one of the regular meetings that 10th Mountain Division troops have with local leaders in another embattled Sunni neighborhood, Amiriyah, a Sunni businessman told Capt. Ethan Allan: "No one detained by Iraqi police is ever brought back alive."

Playing referee is a civil war is not a task any army is well trained for.


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