Finding Only Shadows in Hunt for Insurgents

Nobody tends the stalls at the main market under the big painted signs. Nothing moves on the streets. No one answers when American soldiers pound on the flimsy metal gates of the houses. No objections are raised when the soldiers peer into kitchen pantries or, their heads cocked with suspicion, pull the dust cover off a television set that is being stored in the corner of a living room. Out of the hundreds of homes here and in a neighboring town, Mulla Fayyad, most were empty when the soldiers descended at dusk and began an overnight search, house by house, for insurgents and their weaponry. Families were at home in only a small number of houses, perhaps a few dozen. It is not as though no one lives here. Fresh onions and tomatoes sat on a counter, some of them cut up and ready to eat. Children’s sandals lay where they were kicked off on a porch or at the bottom of a stairway. Small Iraqi banknotes tumbled to the floor when a cupboard was pulled open. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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