Ratcheting up operations in Iraq

James Lyons:

In April, U.S. and British combat troops carried out successful raids killing insurgents involved in providing armor-piercing explosives and personnel from Iran in Maysan Province, which abuts the Iranian border. No Iraqi soldiers participated in the attack (although they were used as a blocking force).

One member of the Maysan provincial council complained the attacks were conducted without the knowledge of the council. Indeed, that pattern may be the formula for success.

The success the Marines have achieved in Anbar Province also took an innovative approach. This involved not only gaining the confidence of the various clans' leading sheiks but also flattening the Marine command structure and making Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his representatives irrelevant. The strategy of Maj. Gen. W.E. Gaskin, commander of the Multinational Force/West and his Ground Combat Element commander, Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, was to go proactive, exactly the strategy of Gen. Petraeus in the other surrounding provinces. If Marine convoys are challenged or ambushed, their orders are to immediately pursue their attackers and kill them all.

In Baghdad, the Green Zone continues to be bombarded with mortar and rocket attacks. Until now, there has been no hot pursuit. With the additional combat forces, this passivity must change. Attacked convoys in Baghdad and elsewhere instead of driving through the ambushers at high speed now must turn into the attack, hunt down the ambushers and kill them all.

Now the down side. You will not find reports on the success our forces are now achieving on the major TV news networks. The only thing they tell us is how many U.S. forces were killed in the last 24 hours.

In fact, NBC, CBS and CNN are probably the sole source of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's daily intelligence briefs. It is ironic that al Qaeda and the Sunni and Shia terrorists need no propaganda czar like the Nazis' Joseph Goebbels as a spokesman because our TV networks and even certain members of Congress provide that service for them.


If there are still those who believe incentives offered to Iran can propel the mullahs to cooperate on Iraq, they have to be brain dead. The only way — repeat: the only way — to get Iran's attention is the loss of key economic infrastructure targets that affect the Iranian renegade regime's ability to provide essential services to its citizens. The interruption of these services will create further havoc in an already disgruntled civilian populace.

This strategy needs to be pursued aggressively. Not only can these tactics be accomplished without exposing our military personnel to casualties, but they can be simultaneously carried out with regard to Syria.
The major networks and Iran appear to be the major stumbling blocks to success in Iraq. Teh Iranians may be the easier to defeat. In fact, in looking at the gas riots they may be defeating themselves.


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