There they go again, not supporting our troops! Oh, wait. This time it's not the evil Democratic traitors:Baghdad outposts plan flawed, some troops say
"They say we are spending more time 'in sector,' which we are doing — we live here," said Spc. Tyrone Richardson, 24, a member of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, that operates in the east Baghdad neighborhood of Ubaidi, outside Sadr City. "But we aren't spending the time patrolling."The Iraqis feel less safe? But the whole idea, The Plan, was to make Iraq into a democracy with a stable government for all its citizens, right?
Iraqis who live nearby say they feel less safe now, because many of the bases have quickly become magnets for rocket and mortar attacks. When attacks miss the troops, they often hit Iraqi civilians.
...some junior soldiers say that Al Mahdi militiamen loyal to anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr are able to conduct more "patrols" of the area than can the U.S. Army. [...]Sadr's guys are more efficient than ours. How reassuring.
"In my tactical opinion, the combat outpost hasn't worked," said one junior officer stationed in east Baghdad. "It's not a bad idea, but we are doing it wrong. We have a bigger presence but we have less boots on the ground. You only have one platoon that can maneuver tactically at a time."So that whole "surge" thing isn't working? Quel surprise.
Many of the soldiers interviewed asked to speak anonymously because senior officers disapprove of noncommissioned officers and junior officers questioning military strategy. [...]And if there's a sin among sins, it's questioning Commander Guy's stragedy.
"Before, we would do two patrols a day, of six to eight hours a day. There was almost always a patrol on the street. Now we patrol just 12 times in a month," an experienced noncommissioned officer said. "That's not a lot of interaction with the people. And it's problematic if the intent of this strategy is to interact with locals."So we now spend our resources protecting the protectors. The Protectinator can at least keep the residents closest to them safe. See? There's always an up side. Or is there....?
As a result of the decrease in the number of patrols, some officers say, they are not even able to keep militia elements out of the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the outposts.
...said one junior officer in east Baghdad. "We are retaking the same ground every day." [...]But...but...we're being greeted as Liberators! And Protectors! And Democracyors! They welcome us with open arms!
[Another said,] "It almost looks like we are pushing people away, and that is not what we want to do." [...]
[A neighborhood clothing salesman said,] "When the Americans go out, I say, 'Here comes trouble."Well, at least there's one redeeming factor: We're gathering valuable intel.
To some of the soldiers, however, the quality of the intelligence seems thin. They say many of the tips are actually traps aimed at hitting them with bombs as they leave the post to check out the information.Really, though, what does all this really matter when Senator Lindsey Graham returned from Iraq with renewed hopes?