Where The Surge Has Worked


It hasn't even begun to tackle Sadr City yet, but in some calmer parts of Baghdad's Red Zone, the surge is clearly doing what it's supposed to do. That means a limited amount, since the critical decisions that the Shia and Sunnis have to make will not be made easy by a handful of successes. But it's also better than nothing. Michael Totten has a first-hand report:

“Man, this is boring,” one of them said to me later. “I’m an adrenaline junky. There’s no fight here. It won’t surprise me if we start handing out speeding tickets.” So it goes in at least this part of Baghdad that has been cleared by the surge.

“When we first got here,” said another and laughed, “shit hit the fan.”

It was all a bit boring, but blessedly so. I knew already that not everyone in Baghdad was hostile. But it was slightly surprising to see that entire areas in the Red Zone are not hostile.

Anything can happen in Baghdad, even so. The convulsive, violent, and overtly hostile Sadr City is only a few minutes drive to the southeast.

“Want to walk past your favorite house?” Lieutenant Lord said to Sergeant Lizanne.

“Let’s do it,” said Sergeant Lizanne.

“What’s your favorite house?” I said.

“It’s a house we walked past one night,” said Sergeant Lizanne. “Some guys on the roof locked and loaded on us.”

Gun shots rang out in the far distance. None of the Iraqis paid much attention but the soldiers perked up and stiffened their posture like hunting dogs.

“Gun shots,” Lieutenant Lord said.

“I heard,” I said. “You going to do anything about it?”

“Nah,” he said and shrugged. “They were far away and could be anything, even shots fired in the air at a wedding. A lot of these guys are stereotypical Arabs.”

The gun shots were a part of the general ambience.

The rest is here. Hit his tip jar.

(Photo: Totten.)