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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Ramadan Offensive Continues

U.S. Forces Battle Iraqi Guerrillas in Intense Firefight

Published: October 31, 2003

ABU GHRAIB, Iraq, Oct. 31 — Guerrillas and American troops battled for hours here today in an intense firefight after a demonstration in support of Saddam Hussein turned violent. Meanwhile, rumors of terrorist attacks this weekend roiled Baghdad.

The daylong battle in Abu Ghraib, a western suburb of Baghdad that has been a center of hostility to the American-led occupation, and the anxiety in the capital underscored the deteriorating security situation here at the end of a week which began when four simultaneous car bombs killed 34 people and wounded more than 200.

In addition, an American soldier was killed in an attack west of the capital today. At least 33 United States troops have died from hostile fire in attacks in October, compared with 16 in September, and the pace has increased in recent days.

The soldier, from the 82nd Airborne Division, was killed by a roadside bomb at 8:30 a.m. local time near Khaldiya, about 45 miles west of Baghdad, the military reported. Four other soldiers were wounded. The area west and north of the capital has been a center of resistance to the American occupation.

The death brought to 118 the number of American troops killed in action since Washington declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1. Since the Iraq war began on March 19, 350 soldiers have been died in combat or of other causes, and 2,160 more wounded, according to Maj. Linda Haseloff, an American military spokeswoman in Tampa, Fla.

Daylong battle? Come on, this is insane. These folks can fight day long battles? This isn't a bunch of secret policemen doing this. That's infantry, trained infantry. These folks shot it out all day with the Americans and didn't lose any ground. That's a bad sign. Which general said he had no threat for any of his companies? Odierno? Sanchez? Well, that's now officially bullshit.

Any enemy who can tie you down for the better part of the day is a threat to your command. Especially when they're blowing up trains, using anti-tank missiles and now holding off US armor and infantry in cities.

The Times said 1,000 people took to the streets with guns and for extra measure, Sunni clerics called for jihad during services.

What is clear is that this is NOT Vietnam. Even in 1975 there wasn't the sense of loss of control. This seems close to a real explosion . We have been very lucky that the Shia have kept their peace. When they decide to break it, we're in deep trouble.

Americans are in a deep dilemma. The more we police Iraq, the worse the resistance grows. Yet, without order, we have to do more intrusive policing.Either way, we're screwed.

posted by Steve @ 11:03:00 PM

11:03:00 PM

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