I'm hesitant to wave the checkered flag in Buqaba, but this report is quite encouraging. Blah blah blah, checking a mosque for information...
...Absent any weapons or insurgents themselves, it seemed that the raid produced something of a jackpot of potential intelligence information.Almost...too easy.
“We’re money,” said Sgt. Luis Cruz, 28, of Davenport, Iowa.
That sort of information could prove vital as U.S. and Iraqi forces move into the next phase of operations in Baqouba. With almost no hostile fire reported in days, combat operations are winding down. The focus of the effort now is to consolidate control and persuade local residents to begin cooperating with U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces.
The overall intent of this phase of the Baqouba operation, said Capt. Issac Torres, commander of Company C, is to “lock down the local population and keep pressure on them” until they begin turning in al-Qaida and other insurgents who remain in the city.
But I'll take what I'm given. Given this statement from Wednesday
I'd say we're doing ok. Keep your thoughts and prayers focused on that city.
When we speak of "clearing" an enemy safe haven, we are not talking about destroying the enemy in it; we are talking about rescuing the population in it from enemy intimidation. If we don't get every enemy cell in the initial operation, that's OK. The point of the operations is to lift the pall of fear from population groups that have been intimidated and exploited by terrorists to date, then win them over and work with them in partnership to clean out the cells that remain – as has happened in Al Anbar Province and can happen elsewhere in Iraq as well.