Thursday, November 22, 2007


Inside the Surge

The American military finds new allies, but at what cost?
by Jon Lee Anderson

November 19, 2007

A man suspected of Mahdi Army activity is detained during a recent raid in Baghdad. General David Petraeus has singled out Ghazaliya,a mostly Sunni district in the western part of the city, as an area where the military has made progress. Photograph by Johan Spanner.

Joint Security Station Thrasher, in the western Baghdad suburb of Ghazaliya, is housed in a Saddam-era mansion with twenty-foot columns and a fountain, now dry, that looks like a layer cake of concrete and limestone. The mansion and two adjacent houses have been surrounded by blast walls.

J.S.S. Thrasher was set up last March, and is part of the surge in troops engineered by General David Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq. Moving units out of large bases and into Joint Security Stations—small outposts in Baghdad’s most dangerous districts—has been crucial to Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy, and Thrasher is now home to a hundred American soldiers and a few hundred Iraqis.

This fall, on the roof of the mansion, amid sandbags, communications gear, and exercise equipment protected by a sniper awning, Captain Jon Brooks, Thrasher’s commander, pointed out some of the local landmarks. “This site was selected because it was the main body drop in Ghazaliya,” he said, indicating a grassy area nearby. “There were up to eleven bodies a week. Most were brutally mutilated.”

CLICK ON TITLE/HEADING FOR FULL STORY IN THE NEW YORKER - great insight into what's going on. Worth the read.

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