May 25, 2005
More Bad News from Iraq
And Eric Umansky is shrill about it:
QAIM, IRAQ -- Iraqi fighters toting machine guns and grenade launchers swaggered Friday through the rubble-strewn streets of this town on the Syrian border, setting up checkpoints and preparing to do battle despite a major U.S. offensive aimed at rooting out followers of Iraq's most-wanted terrorist. The six-day U.S. offensive in the area -- one of the largest since insurgents were driven from Fallujah six months ago -- was launched in Qaim and is aimed at supporters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Capt. Jeffrey Pool, a military spokesman, said Marines have not conducted operations inside Qaim since the opening days of the campaign, called Operation Matador, which began overnight Saturday and led to the killing of six suspected insurgents and capture of 54 in the town.
In other words, Qaim was one of the focuses of the campaign and yet while the offensive is still under way, guerillas are tooling around and actually feel secure enough to set up checkpoints! You might recall what one 'military official' told the LAT a few days ago: 'We require more manpower to cover this area the way we need to.' So why aren't there enough Marines in the area to do more than spot-check the insurgency? Well, for one thing the military is just about plain tapped out. That's a problem that's been exacerbated by and embodied in one SecDef Rumsfeld. I bring you Republican (but non-winger) Senator Sue Collins: 'When it became evident that we were going to face a determined and prolonged insurgency, he was very resistant to increasing troop levels, stepping up production of up-armored Humvees, and modifying the game plan,' said Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican on the Armed Services Committee....
Posted by DeLong at May 25, 2005 11:03 AM