"A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-rigged truck into a US military outpost near Baqubah on Monday, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 in one of the deadliest single ground attacks on U.S. forces since the start of the war in Iraq, military officials said early Tuesday.
Suicide attackers rarely penetrate defenses that surround American troops, but a 10-week-old U.S. counterinsurgency strategy has placed them in outposts and police stations that some soldiers say have made them more vulnerable." WAPO
I had a talk last week with an old Army friend who had a lot of experience as an airborne adviser in VN. He has a son now in the Army. We talked about the "quadrillage" and the establishment of the multiplicity of "Joint Security Stations" and "Combat Outposts" across Baghdad and apparently up into Diyala as well.
The probability that the Kagan/Keene/Petraeus method will actually pacify parts of Iraq is not the subject of this post.
Here, I am concerned with the additional risks that this method imposes on the troops involved. It is argued that the previous deployment in large, fortified cantonments was ineffective. That may be, but what is intuitively obvious to people with experience of combat against guerrillas or conventional forces fighting by infiltration is that all these small posts are prime targets for attacks by fire and by attacks on the ground in assaults. They are also prime instruments for setting up ambushes. These posts are in built up areas. The streets necessarily canalize movement and limit it to predictable routes in and out of the position. These positions require supply and are places from which operations are launched. The use of predictable routes makes it an appealing idea for guerrilla commanders to watch these routes and establish patterns which can then be used in planning ambushes. Such ambushes can be of the primary force going to or coming from the outpost and additionally of reinforcing quick reaction forces coming to the rescue. The same process applies to air movements in and out of the post. This potential is multiplied by large number of such posts. Ambush requires fairly small forces. Defending against them adequately requires a lot of assets. This is especially true if many routes (however predictacble) are needed in and out of many posts.
There is going to be more of this… pl