A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Operation Iron Fist

AP: Troops 'Sweep' Through Lawless Iraq Cities---

Periodic U.S. offensives across Iraq's huge western region aim to keep insurgents on the run. But stamping them out completely is another matter: Once the assault ends, the militants usually come back.
"All Americans can have confidence in the military commanders who are leading the effort in Iraq, and in the troops under their command," Bush said in upbeat remarks that appeared part of a renewed push to win support for the war effort from an increasingly reluctant American public.

In the latest offensive, known as Operation Iron Fist, which was extended to two other towns on Sunday, U.S. troops were largely fighting by themselves without a significant number of Iraqi troops.

At least 21 militants have been killed in the operation so far, the military said Sunday. Sadah appeared calm, suggesting most gunmen had left, but the military reported fighting on the outskirts of the village and a nearby town. There have been no U.S. casualties, the military said.

The region _ at the point where the Euphrates River begins snaking through western Iraq from Syria _ contains a string of troubled riverside towns and cities, slicing through hundreds of miles of bare desert to Baghdad. Tribal or family ties also serve as protection for some insurgents here.

Commanders acknowledge their job is not to control or rebuild these towns, but instead to periodically rush in to capture or kill any insurgents they can find and keep the rest off-balance and unable to establish overt bases.

Hundreds of insurgents have been killed and even more have been captured in two previous offensives in recent months, Marines say, but the operations have taken a toll on U.S. forces as well. The 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment suffered 48 deaths during its seven-month tour before beginning to demobilize back to the United States.

The U.S. command, meanwhile, has focused the bulk of its more permanent resources to securing troubled cities closer to Baghdad, like Fallujah and Ramadi.
Of course, the majority of the article is all doom and gloom. I think our Marines should just blast the hell out of these "insurgents" and be done with the job.