Iraqi troops still need our help

LA Times:

As dawn broke, a thick mist enveloped the lines of military trucks poised to sweep through a tract of rich farmland where Sunni Arab insurgents had turned miles of irrigation canals into trenches with holes to stash weapons, food and blankets.

A chilly downpour turned narrow dirt roads into sheets of slippery mud that sent vehicles skidding into ditches.

For the U.S. Army, the weather was a temporary setback. Officers said it actually worked to their advantage because it left the enemy surrounded and exposed to the wet, wind and cold.

But for their Iraqi allies in an ambitious effort to reclaim an insurgent haven in eastern Diyala province, the weather could have spelled the end of the offensive. When U.S. Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles and tanks pushed ahead two days later, they had to tow the Iraqis to the fight. Their flimsy pickup trucks and minivans had become hopelessly stuck.

As the campaign continued into a second week, U.S. forces flew in everything the Iraqis needed to keep going: ammunition, rice, T-shirts, dry socks and cigarettes.

As pressure mounts here and at home for U.S. troops to start leaving, the assault in Diyala province this month showed how far the Iraqis must go before they can stand on their own.

U.S. troops with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, said the Iraqis had made great strides since they were deployed to the province four months ago. But asked whether the operation would have been possible without the United States, Iraqi Capt. Kader Abdul Kareem Majid shook his head.

"The coalition forces have airplanes, tanks, all the equipment they need. But the Iraqi army does not have that," said Majid, a 10-year veteran of a Kurdish militia that fought Saddam Hussein's army. "We need U.S. support."

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There is more.

I am not sure if it is by design, but this situation is not all bad for the US troops that are assisting the Iraqis. While some have expressed concern about the loyalty of Iraqi troops, even if they wanted to be in opposition tot he US forces, and I do not think that they do, they would quickly run out of ammo and food with out our logistic support.

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