Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How The Iraq Occupation Will End

Quadrillage. It means sectioning, quartering, setting up troops in fortified village posts and in neighborhoods to observe and direct counter-insurgency operations. The idea is to have Gary Cooper holed up in the sherrif's office, like he was in 'High Noon.' Only better armed. To keep the Sherriffs from being overwhelmed, it takes a heavy network of intelligence, firepower, quick-reaction cavalry, air and ground asset support. And to provoke its hair-trigger response doesn't take much.

As a way to quell insurgency, quadrillage's main disadvantage is that its outposts are static and in the very midst of the populations they aim to control. In Iraq, our soldiers lack the vital advantage of intelligence, so as sectioneurs they are constantly observed for weakness. Every coming and going is noted. Every order for food is seen. Near Baqubah yesterday, an outpost was rammed by a suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives. The entire garrison of US troops was blown up, with a reported 9 dead and 20 wounded. The same Baqubah which T.E. Lawrence stormed with a bunch of Arabs on camels to sound the death knell of the Ottoman Empire.

Iraq is like the movie 'Fort Apache, The Bronx,' only worse: unless there is a political path to a viable treaty, quadrillage does nothing but turn troopers into vulnerable targets. Meanwhile, the only path to treaty BushCo is pushing is "Stay the Course." This is not a course. It's an exercise in futility. It places our troops within reach of angry people who regrettably but understandably want to kill them. And until we pull back, that's what's going to happen. If our troops are exposed, they will be attacked, and by spreading them around into smaller, less defendable forts, quadrillage makes them more vulnerable.

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