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Meanwhile in Iraq...

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Disagreeable

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Excerpts; a lot more at the link below; my emphasis.

"“Pfc. Robyn Houston fires bursts of bullets into the air as his Humvee swerves around a pothole and lurches over a highway median. His convoy bears down on oncoming traffic, forcing Iraqi cars to swerve onto a dirt shoulder.
Roadside bombs "are really bad here!" the vehicle's commander, Staff Sgt. Sean Davis, 30, of Crestview, Fla., shouts over the gunfire and growl of the Humvee. "We're firing warning shots to get them off the road!"
It's a tactic Davis and his platoon resort to daily to avoid deadly explosions in Baiji, a Sunni Arab city long neglected by American forces and still firmly in the grip of insurgents, soldiers here say. In the first month after the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division took over security duties in northern Iraq in late fall, roadside bombs killed or wounded more than a quarter of the 34-man platoon.”

Baiji has emerged as a critical priority for the U.S. military because of its importance to Iraq's oil industry, a fact underscored last month when insurgent threats forced officials to shut down the country's biggest oil refinery here, which handles 200,000 barrels a day.”

“As a result, even these battle-hardened troops from the 101st, many of them veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, have fallen into the pattern of many Army units that suffer high casualties in their first six weeks in Iraq, as insurgents test them in unfamiliar terrain.”

"It's definitely more dangerous this time around," agreed Spec. David Jones, 24, of New York, on his second tour in Iraq with the platoon. "I didn't expect to lose so many friends so soon."

“"Most of the people fighting the Americans tell me they do nothing for us but destroy the houses and capture people," Adil Faez Jeel, a director at the Baiji refinery, said of the U.S. forces. "There are no jobs, no water, no electricity."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10913799/from/RS.3/
 

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