The troops talk about the surge
In the first days after his battalion began operating in east Baghdad’s Sha’ab neighborhood, Capt. Will Canda said he often saw the beds of Iraqi police trucks stained red with dried blood.There is much more in this long story that you are not likely to find on the front page of NY Times or Washington Post. But it should give a hint of what will be in the report on the surge that is coming in September that is likely to rock the the Democrats and the media.
“It was like they had just come from a butcher shop,” said Canda, a Westcliffe, Colo. native and commander of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
Like wagons rolling through plague-stricken villages in medieval times, the police trucks were being used to pick up the bodies of murder victims found littering the neighborhood.
That was in February, when Canda’s battalion became one of the first units to move into a battle space as part of Operation Fardh al Qanoon – which translated, means “enforcing the law” and is the name for the strategy to stabilize violence in Baghdad by pushing thousands of additional U.S. and Iraqi forces into the city’s neighborhoods.
Since then, troops have continued to pour in, dotting Baghdad with small outposts and joint security stations.
Top U.S. commanders have cautioned that any verdict on the overall success of the plan will have to wait until after all units are in place and conducting operations. But Canda and his paratroopers have been on the ground long enough to begin drawing their own conclusions.
Three months after they arrived in Sha’ab, the bodies are gone, the murders have stopped, and the neighborhood has come back to life, Canda said.
“It’s night and day from when we got here,” he said.
It’s an impressive claim considering the challenges facing the paratroopers when they first arrived here in early February.