Everything You're Told About Iraq is a Lie
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. helicopter that crashed Wednesday north of Baghdad was shot down, the military said after initially stating that the chopper made a "hard landing." All aboard were safely evacuated by a second helicopter, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver.
"I can confirm that initial reports indicate that it was brought down by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades," Garver said, adding that the site had been secured.
The statement from Garver came hours after chief military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told reporters that the Black Hawk had made a "hard landing."
I give the press a tiny fraction of credit for reporting that it had been shot down, despite being told the landing fairy tale.
I put this up because I think it's important to remember that literally nothing the military says about Iraq is trustworthy. You and I know that, but I suspect far too many elected Democrats still want to believe that we're "making progress" somehow, somewhere, anywhere in Iraq. We're not.
Caldwell told a news conference that U.S. and Iraqi forces were focusing on "belts" of extremist activity in Baghdad and suggested political talks are continuing over when and how to move into Sadr City, a stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia.
He added that U.S. military planners are moving ahead with efforts to establish smaller outposts around Iraq. They seek to work with Iraqi soldiers on forging ties with community leaders and gathering sharper intelligence on militants.
"If we are going to protect the population, we have to be down there with the population," he said
Let's all have a nice laugh at that, shall we? Or as Steve says, Here's all you need to know about Iraq:
This is a large part of the Baghdad security plan because this helps disrupt [al-Qaeda in Iraq] movement and foreign fighter movement into Baghdad," said Maj. Chad Shields, a company commander. "It's about getting to the level of detail where you understand the town that you're operating in, and you know the people you're operating among."
Gaining this understanding is one of the most difficult challenges facing U.S. soldiers operating here. Over two days, more than 350 U.S. troops involved in the operation searched 95 homes, discovered about a dozen roadside bombs -- including two that exploded under their tanks, causing no injuries -- and took scattered small-arms fire. But they failed to capture a single insurgent.
Although the security plan has been cast as an Iraqi-led mission, no Iraqi police operate around Ibrahim bin Ali. And Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, the battalion commander, said he could not persuade Iraqi army commandos to assist.
"They didn't return my calls," he said.
Any time you hear about "turning things over to Iraqi security forces" or of how they're "almost ready" to step in and stem the tide of violence, remind yourself of this. Chaos is the only thing that we can expect to see in Iraq, probably for a very long time.