Dust in the Wind
Former Spook at In From the Cold writes:
I'm getting word of a major battle last week in Iraq last week, between terrorists and elements of the 82nd Airborne, east of Baghdad. One U.S. officer described the engagement as "one of the five biggest battles" between U.S. troops and insurgents in recent years. Other reports indicate as many as 100 terrorists were killed in the fighting, which lasted for several days. American casualties were described as "light." The engagement reportedly began when the 82nd discovered--an attacked--an apparent terrorist training camp. So far, no confirmation of this operation from the "western press" in Iraq, nor the Multi-National Forces in Iraq (MNF-I) public affairs office.
Maybe this is what he means, or maybe it was something else. From Bill Roggio:
Over the past week, U.S. and Iraqi forces fought Sunni insurgents in lopsided battles in the Iraqi cities of Kirkuk, Baquba, Yusifiyah and Ramadi. In each engagement, Sunni insurgents took massive casualties with no U.S. or Iraq forces killed.
In Kirkuk, the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 5th Division of Iraqi Army, in conjunction with the 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division conducted a brigade sized operation in and around the northern city of Kirkuk. The operation, originally announced on November 16th, was a major success. The Iraqi Army and U.S. forces killed nearly 50 insurgents and captured an additional 20 in a raid on a "large cache complex." "The caches included over 400,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 15,000 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition, five mortar bipods, three heavy machine guns, three anti-tank weapons, two recoilless rifles and numerous mortar rounds, grenades, flares and artillery rounds," according to Multinational Forces Iraq. The soldiers also found materials to make roadside bombs as well as "propaganda materials and a large amount of U.S. dollars." Seven al-Qaeda were detained in a seperate raid in Kirkuk.
But why would it matter, if as some have argued, all military victories are hollow victories. And all the political work done till now is as a castle built on sand? What is the fundamental ingredient missing which turns all of these impressive statistics into dust and ashes? It's a serious question. Any ideas? Or maybe they are not "dust and ashes".