Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Perspective: Troops at Baghdad Outposts Seek Safety in Fortifications

Above: Soldiers pull security duty on the rooftop of the district council hall outpost in the Mashtal area of east Baghdad. Left: Military vehicles are staged around the entry control point to the Ghazaliya combat outpost. Soldiers operate in them throughout the day to provide security and overwatch of the roads leading into the compound.

BAGHDAD -- Nearly three months after the U.S. military launched a new strategy to safeguard Baghdad's population by pushing American and Iraqi forces deeper into the city's neighborhoods, defending their small outposts is increasingly requiring heavy bulwarks reminiscent of the fortresslike bases that the U.S. troops left behind.

To guard against bombs, mortar fire and other threats, U.S. commanders are adding fortifications to the outposts, setting them farther back from traffic and arming them with antitank weapons capable of stopping suicide bombers driving armored vehicles. U.S. troops maintain the advantage of living in the neighborhoods they are asked to protect, but the need to safeguard themselves from attack means more walls between them and civilians.

Read the rest at the Washington Post