'More troops' call as Iraq murders soar
The US military surge in Iraq, designed to turn around the course of the war, appears to be failing as senior US officers admit they need yet more troops and new figures show a sharp increase in the victims of death squads in Baghdad.And as one could have anticipated the insurgents have just surged elsewhere.
In the first 11 days of this month, there have already been 234 bodies - men murdered by death squads - dumped around the capital, a dramatic rise from the 137 found in the same period of April. Improving security in Baghdad and reducing death-squad activity was described as one of the key aims of the US surge of 25,000 additional troops, the final units of whom are due to arrive next month.
In a further setback, the US military announced yesterday the loss of an entire patrol south of Baghdad, with five soldiers dead and three others missing, after they were ambushed by insurgents in the town of Mahmoudiya.
The new figures emerged as the commander of US forces in northern Iraq, Major General Benjamin Mixon, admitted he did not have enough soldiers to contain the escalating violence in Diyala province, which neighbours Baghdad and has become the focus of the heaviest fighting between largely Sunni insurgent groups and the US army, which has seen casualties increase by 300 per cent. Sixty-one US soldiers have been killed in Diyala this year, compared with 20 in all of last year.And will the insurgency spread to the Pentagon? AJC's Cynthia Tucker thinks it just might.
Mixon, interviewed by The Observer earlier this year, has not made a secret of his frustration at the declining situation in Diyala and has already reinforced the area around Baqouba - the centre of the heaviest fighting - with additional troops.
Ironically, the violence in Diyala has been exacerbated by an influx of both Shia and Sunni fighters displaced from Baghdad by the surge and also from Anbar province who have relocated to Diyala to join a series of jihadi and nationalist groups already based there.
TUCKER: Look for a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08. We’ve already heard from retired generals. But my Atlanta Journal-Constitution colleague Jay Bookman has lots of sources among currently serving military officers who don’t want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost.And to top it all off J Paul Bremer was allowed to publish a ridiculous anti-mea culpa in the Washington Post. The reaction of Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007, The Axis of Ineptitude, gets it right.
Tenet, Bremer, Franks. This is a trio of sycophants and self-serving careerists, largely devoid of creative thought and any real intellect who were given the job of managing history when all they really wanted was to manage their careers and incomes. They truly deserve to be known as the "Axis of Ineptitude."
Bremer has been allowed by the neocon leadership of the Washington Post to place a whining, mendacious piece in this Sunday's paper.
It is filled with evidence of his stupidity, ignorance and willingness to deceive in self defense.