Monday, May 28, 2007

Perspective: A Handful of Soldiers, on Patrol

STANDING watch in a concrete guard tower at a small base east of Mahmudiya, Pfc. Freddy Pineda pointed to a tower in the distance.

“That one is pretty scary,” he said of the outpost. “It’s pretty open to the town.”

Seconds later, a rocket whistled through the sky and exploded over the distant tower.

Military battle positions have sprung up here in the farmland of the Sunni Triangle of Death, south of Baghdad. Manned in many cases by only a handful of soldiers, the battle positions play a dual role: they are a base for efforts to stop insurgents from placing roadside bombs, and they represent a more dangerous new tactic in Gen. David H. Petraeus’s counterinsurgency plan, which emphasizes pushing soldiers out of safer large bases and into communities.

Read the rest at the NY Times