RealNews

Rebels return to 'cleared' areas

The embers in the house were still hot from the fire of battle when Cpl. Joshua Richard went in to view the remains of the insurgents who killed a fellow US marine. At the base of the stairs – the same dark place where Lance Cpl. Blake Magaoay of Pearl City, Hawaii, had fallen in a burst of rifle fire – Corporal Richard harangued the burnt Iraqi corpse.”You got what you wanted, didn’t you?” he sneered, referring to the Marine casualties. The corporal’s anger is not unusual among marines who for three weeks have been taking casulties among comrades, as they continue to face an up-close battle in Fallujah. The Pentagon now says US forces will see their tour of duty extended until after the Jan. 30 elections. While their fight is no longer a front-page story, the physical and mental toll is growing, as the marines here continue to hunt an enemy that rarely seeks them out. Instead, pockets of insurgents lie waiting until teams – like that led by Corporal Magaoay – come crashing through their door. Magaoay’s death brings the US fatality toll in November to at least 134, one short of the toll of the most lethal month to date for Americans in Iraq. Seventy-one US troops died retaking the rebel-held city, according to Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, the top Marine commander in Iraq. An additional 623 American troops were wounded in the most intense urban conflict for US forces since the Vietnam War. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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