Operation PR continues apace.
About 1,500 troops, US and Iraqi combined, have been deployed to an area of about 50 square miles with only 1,500 residents spread out across this agricultural area. So no concentrations of buildings, no groups of population, and a 1 to 1 ratio of soldiers to population.
In this effort, 24 hours old, the joint forces have found 30 weapons (everything from guns to mortars to explosives) in 6 locations. So, there were some real insurgent weapons there, but I think you're glorifying it to call 5 weapons in a hole a "cache."
They've captured 41 insurgents, but 17 have already been released, and the rest....?
There has been no fighting at all, no firefights, nothing.
The intelligence this was based on, it has been emphasized, was Iraqi intelligence. How impressed should we be that they called for 1,500 troops including airlifting the 101st for this paltry a return? (various sources, but largely Time magazine's article today.)
Now, it's not like I was pulling for an epic battle here, I'd be happier if the 101st was back eating burgers in Fort Campbell, Ky., but when they try to tell me how well this went, and how ready the Iraqi forces are, I'm just going to keep all this in mind.
Because it's a long way from this bulletless drill to the streets of Baghdad or Ramadi.
(Also of note, according to Chris Albritton of Time, this area "has been swept/contained/pacfied/cleared five or six times since 2004." This doesn't speak well for the overall strategy. I hear echoes of Vietnam.)