Wednesday, November 19, 2003

So, it's not just that we're knocking down houses of people merely suspected of hosting guerillas in Iraq -- punishing not just them, but their families, in apparent violation of the Geneva conventions. We now find, buried in this article on how it really is Iraqis doing all this, and not mysterious foreign infiltrators, little nuggets like so:

But the strike illustrated what military officials said was a new twist to their counterinsurgency campaign: attack bomb-making factories, weapons warehouses, guerrilla meeting places and insurgents' homes with no warning, using high-altitude bombing or long-range missile strikes. Officials indicated that it was clear the general's house was being used as a meeting place.

"This approach gives us more tactical surprise," a military official said. "They're still using houses and neighborhoods, but we've been removing sanctuaries and keeping them off balance."

Gosh, I hope we're as sure about these "bomb-making factories" as we were earlier about the highly specialized chemical weapons trucks on Powell's satellite imagery.

We can be sure, of course, that we've knocked down a house. And we also know how much trouble we're causing the guerillas by doing that. They have to meet in somebody else's house. And they also have to deal with the costs of training and assimilating a few new recruits.

But this campaign clearly begins to address one need spelled out by Rumsfeld in that memo from last month -- this campaign clearly lends itself to a "metric", and a kinder, gentler one than the one made famous in that last war. How long till we start hearing about the building count?


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