Monday, September 19, 2005



There's plenty to worry about in Iraq as it is. But these poor guys have really got to be experiencing paranoia.

I ran across this report via Billmon:

The previous day, 3/25 had lost six men, two sniper teams, under circumstances that were unclear. I recently received information on that incident that raises a very important question, a question with strategic, not merely tactical significance. I was told (not by anyone in 3/25) that the six Marines were ambushed and killed by the Iraqi troops they were attached to.

Let me say up front that I cannot confirm this report. Because I cannot confirm it, I am using it not to make a point but to raise some questions. The questions are, did this happen? If it did, why were the American people not told? And – this is the question with strategic importance – how often is this happening in Iraq today?

This is not the first time I've read (if true) of insurgents infilitrating the Iraqi troops. And even if it's not true, a rumor of this type would be enough to give me pause as a soldier in Iraq. No wonder we train the Iraqis to be soldiers, but don't arm them!

This is just another example of why it's nearly impossible for foreign troops to repel a popular insurgency. As in this case, you end up being everyone's enemy, and the enemy is everywhere. And the fear that this engenders in a soldier's mind inevitably leads to misjudgements and abuses by those soldiers against the populace. I'm not passing judgement on those actions, in fact I think it's part of the definition of being sane in that situation.

I fault the leadership that puts our soldiers in a crazy, dangerous and ultimately unwinnable mission. The solution in Iraq will have to be homegrown. It may even have to be bloody. But it's not ever going to come about because of foreign intervention.


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