Friday, February 23, 2007

Perspective: U.S. unit finds itself on its own in Baqouba

The joint security stations, such as this one atop a police station in Iraq, are an integral part of the plan to provide ongoing security.

BAQUBAH, Iraq -- It took nearly a month to build the tiny bunker on the roof of this Iraqi police station. The U.S. soldiers worked at night to avoid snipers, carrying sandbags up four flights of stairs in the dark.

One day last week, several American soldiers arrived to begin their shift here, using the roof to scan the surrounding area for attackers. The soldiers were well armed, and they had cigarettes, coffee and soda with them, even beef jerky. But there was one thing missing from the roof of the station, and from the ranks of those who were there to defend it: members of the Iraqi security forces.

Similar U.S. units are embedded at other Iraqi police and army installations in Baqubah, a city of 300,000 about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Keeping these locations open and functioning is vital, military commanders say, if the Iraqis who live here are to have confidence in the government.

Read the rest at the Washington Post