Friday, March 02, 2007

Perspective: Soldiers Shift to Baghdad Outposts

Iraqi policemen and U.S. paratroopers walk the streets of Adhamiyah, Baghdad on a patrol. The paratroopers and the police live and work together at the Al-Sulakh Joint Security Station.

American soldiers are leaving their sprawling fortress-cities and establishing many small outposts in the capital's most violent neighborhoods in a major tactical shift under the two-week-old Baghdad security plan.

Informed by counterinsurgency theory that calls for placing units full-time among the people they want to sway, U.S. troops are using their new bases to work with their Iraqi counterparts, uncover more battlefield intelligence and reinforce, by their sustained presence, the message that they will not allow militants unfettered freedom of movement.

But along with these advantages, American soldiers say these outposts pose new risks to their own safety and require pulling soldiers off patrols to protect their lodgings. The threats became apparent this month when a car bomb exploded at a U.S. outpost in Tarmiyah, north of Baghdad, killing two U.S. soldiers and wounding 29 others.

Read the rest at the Washington Post