Monday, June 04, 2007

Dems keeping up the pressure on Iraq

Just to reinforce David Broder's belief that the endgame may be near for the Iraq war, here's a LAT story saying that Democratic congressional leaders "plan a summer of repeated Iraq-related votes designed to force Republican lawmakers to abandon the WHite House before the fall.

"At the same time, antiwar groups are expanding their campaign to pressure GOP incumbents in their home states." The idea is to make sure GOP legislators "get no break from the war over the summer."

That's appropriate, since U.S. troops in the field are unlikely to get a break either. Unfortunately, things seem to be getting seriously worse, after a couple of months after the "surge" began when attacks and casualties declined for a while. But May, with 127 fatalities, was the third-deadliest month for U.S. troops, the worst since November 2004. The number of attacks has increased and the various insurgent groups seem to have more powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs). As this WaPo story notes, the number of wounded to killed is growing more lethal -- it's been about 8 to 1 for most of the war but was 4.8 to 1 in May (the "typical 20th-century warfare ratio was 3 to 1).

Some of that is understandable since the "surge" involves strategies that put troops at greater risk, living in neighborhoods alongside Iraqi forces rather than living on fortified bases between forays. But so far, according to an American assessment completed late in May, U.S. troops now control only about a third of Iraqi neighborhoods, far fewer than commanders had hoped. According to NYT interviews with commanders this is largely because"Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly."

It's likely to be a rough summer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The war will end when the troops say, "_____ you, I ain't going on that convoy, you go." Whether that will be this year or the next, I don't know, but it will happen. A man can only do so much.