1. From the NYT on new tactics being deployed to stop the insurgents - AKA Operation No More Whack-a-Mole:
In more than four years in Iraq, American forces have been confounded by insurgents who have often slipped away only to fight another day. The war in Iraq has been likened to the arcade game of whack-a-mole, where as soon as you knock down one mole another pops up. ...
So the planners of this latest operation are attempting to plug the holes that have allowed the insurgents to escape in the past. The goal is not merely to reclaim western Baquba from insurgent control, but to capture or kill the estimated 300 fighters to 500 fighters who are believed to be based in that part of the city. ...
The problem of collaring the Qaeda fighters is challenging in several respects. Unlike Falluja, where most of the population fled in advance of the battle, thousands of civilians remain in the western section of the city.
I'm no military planner, but waging a pitched battle with civilians present seems to me a recipe for disaster. But I will say, the military is at least trying something different here.
2. The second is a report on the near-daily attacks on the Emerald City. The problem is these attacks are coming from mobile launchers from residential neighborhoods. Security forces are stymied in trying to stop these attacks.
The U.S. military acknowledged ``an increasing pattern of attacks'' against the Green Zone, a day after a mortar barrage against the heavily fortified area sent soldiers and contractors scrambling for cover. ...
Rear Adm. Mark Fox, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, declined to provide details on the number of attacks against the Green Zone, which is also known as the International Zone, but said they were increasing.
``It's clear that there is an attempt to get lucky shots, and there is unquestionably an increasing pattern of attacks here against the International Zone. There's no doubt about that,'' Fox said at a joint news conference with Iraqi military spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi.
Well, Admiral Fox, those "lucky" shots are occurring nearly every day, forcing everyone to run around with flack jackets and helmets. Doesn't seem like things are going particularly well at all