Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One bullet

This story in the New York Times of Monday, January 29.

You can do nothing else than have enormous respect for the soldiers who exhibit such bravery in such dangerous and overwhelming circumstances. I hope and pray with all my heart that God (and anyone else who can) protects them from harm.

Staff Sgt. Hector Leija scanned the kitchen, searching for illegal weapons. One wall away, in an apartment next door, a scared Shiite family huddled around a space heater, cradling an infant.

It was after 9 a.m. on Wednesday, on Haifa Street in central Baghdad, and the crack-crack of machine-gun fire had been rattling since dawn. More than a thousand American and Iraqi troops had come to this warren of high rises and hovels to disrupt the growing nest of Sunni and Shiite fighters battling for control of the area.

The joint military effort has been billed as the first step toward an Iraqi takeover of security. But this morning, in the two dark, third-floor apartments on Haifa Street, that promise seemed distant. What was close, and painfully real, was the cost of an escalating street fight that had trapped American soldiers and Iraqi bystanders between warring sects.

Staff Sgt. Leija died.

I have already said on this weblog, but I will say it again: guerilla warfare can almost never be won. Our soldiers are being put into a no-win situation, and the addition of 21,000 troops does nothing to give hope that the situation will improve in the long term.

If I was in the States I would join a peace rally. For a half-decent comparison of Iraq with Viet Nam, click here.

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