Thursday, October 05, 2006

Right Where We Want Them

According to the Washington Post, 24 US Soldiers (oh, excuse me, I meant to say "24 Multinational Peacekeeping Coalition Soldiers") were killed in Iraq since Saturday. Our national press and the military no longer even bother trying to put faces to the names, much less lives and families to the used-up bodies. It's not a story with an upside. A couple of noteworthy items leak out of WaPoo, though.

First, four soldiers died in a single incident in Baghdad 9AM Wednesday from small arms fire. This is new. It may have happened before in Iraq, but I don't recall it. US soldiers wear effective body armor, are well-drilled in urban cover tactics, and Iraqi AK-47s are not very accurate weapons, so this indicates a substantial concentration of fire was brought to bear. It also indicates there were many more wounded and a platoon-sized formation stepped into a big nasty mess. As a rule of thumb, 8-12 soldiers are wounded for every one killed in combat. When an article says that 24 soldiers were killed in 5 days, you can figure that 200 were seriously wounded and 100 won't ever fight again.

Meanwhile, an entire brigade of Iraqi police was disbanded because it was functioning as a militia unit:

"The government of Iraq had lost trust and confidence in the 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division's ability to serve the public due to their poor performance and alleged criminal wrongdoings."

The move appeared to represent a new effort by Iraqi officials to root out corruption in the Iraqi security forces, which are widely believed to be infiltrated by militias and death squads that do more to exacerbate sectarian tensions than protect citizens. Caldwell said the brigade will undergo "anti-militia, anti-sectarian violence and national unity training."

National unity training. Imagine what that must be like. Somehow sitting in a classroom in front of a chalkboard isn't quite the picture that comes to mind.

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