10 years ago
From the LA Times:
BAGHDAD — Two months after a security crackdown began in the capital, U.S. military deaths appear to be rising, even as fatalities among Iraqi security forces have fallen, U.S. military sources and analysts said.
The U.S. military Tuesday revised to eight its count of American deaths in the capital on Monday, the highest daily toll in a month. In September, 74 U.S. troops died nationwide, about a third of them in Baghdad, according to the military.
U.S. officials and military experts caution that it is too soon to declare a definitive trend, but they said the recent increases could be attributable to U.S. troops’ greater exposure to combat since redeploying in early August from heavily guarded bases to Baghdad’s streets. Their mission is to stem sectarian bloodshed involving Shiite paramilitaries and Sunni Arab insurgents.
“When you’re conducting operations and you’ve doubled the number of troops doing operations in Baghdad, there is more opportunity — as there is much more activity as they go into more neighborhoods — for attacks to occur and casualties to result,” U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said.
This statement about redeploying from heavily gaurded bases (a defensive strategy designed to minimize casualties) is interesting in juxtaposition with this statement from Section 2-9 of the Small Wars Manual.
Tactical operations of regular troops against guerrillas in small wars are habitually offensive. Even though operating under a strategic defensive campaign plan, regular combatants in contact with hostile forces will emphasize the principal of the offensive to gain psychological supremacy. Isolated forces exposed to possible attack by overwhelming numbers must be well protected in positions prepared to develop the greatest possible effect of their weapons. Reverses, particularly at first, must be avoided at all costs. [Bold and italics are mine]
So when did we go on the defensive in Iraq?