Scratch one US helicopter
Two pilots killed in U.S. copter crash in Iraq
MISHAHDA, Iraq (AP) ? A U.S. Apache attack helicopter crashed Monday north of Baghdad, killing both pilots, after a witness said he saw the aircraft hit by a rocket that "destroyed it completely in the air."
The AH-64 crashed in Mishahda, 20 miles north of the capital, and witness Mohammed Naji told Associated Press Television News he saw two helicopters flying toward Mishahda when "a rocket hit one of them and destroyed it completely in the air
Ok, so what will Bush say? Things are OK?
Look, you need training to fire an SA-16, on a range. Guerrillas just don't learn it. They can, but my bet is that the Iraqi Army's air defense sections are back in the fight.
But it gets better, Juan Cole says the US wants the Brits to deploy more troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan
A Two-Front War
I think the Mahdi Army has been training for months myself. When they pop up again, it's all done, because they will seize shit and the local Army and police units will join them.
Tony Blair and the British military are caught between Iraq and a hard place. The Bush administration is putting enormous pressure on the British to send more troops to Afghanistan, where the Taliban are regrouping and launching an Iraq-style guerrilla war. So the British began making noises about reducing the number of their troops in southern Iraq (around 10,000) and shifting them to Afghanistan.
But no. Bush recently told Blair that Iraq is on the brink of disaster, and that the British need to send more troops to that country, in addition to sending new units to fight the Taliban.
The Scotsman reveals that
' Tony Blair was warned that war-torn Iraq remains on the brink of disaster - more than two years after the removal of Saddam Hussein - during his summit with President Bush in Washington earlier this month. Scotland on Sunday revealed last month that Blair is preparing to rush thousands more British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, amid warnings the coalition faces a "complete strategic failure" in the effort to rebuild the nation. '
If the Pushtuns turn against the Karzai government in large numbers, rallying around neo-Taliban, the country could fall back into war. This danger was always the hidden cost of Bush going on to Iraq before stabilizing Afghanistan.
I don't think the British public will put up with being dragged into a two-front hot war, and you wonder whether the Blair government might fall over such a development.
The mystery to me is why the Americans think they need more British troops in southern Iraq. Most of that area has fallen into the hands of religious Shiite militias anyway, and I doubt the British get out of their barracks all that much. When they do, they appear to be angering a lot of the Shiites, as in Maysan, the provincial government of which yesterday launched a non-cooperation campaign against the British. Do the Americans want to move the British up to the hot zone in the Sunni heartland? Is the South more unstable than it looks on the outside (e.g. is the Mahdi Army reconstituting itself down there?)
Ironically, even as the Afghanistan venture appears on the verge of collapse, Dick Cheney instanced it in his Wolf Blitzer interview on Sunday as evidence of the undue pessimism of his critics and a reason to be optimistic about Iraq.
posted by Steve @ 10:27:00 AM