The heat is intense for the enemy and for us. Soldiers, during any chance, would lay-down during the heat of day, and in complete body armor and helmets, fall asleep in the dirt. I took photos of course. Our guys are tough. The enemy in Baqubah is as good as any in Iraq, and better than most. That’s saying a lot. But our guys have been systematically trapping them, and have foiled some big traps set for our guys. I don’t want to say much more about that, but our guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.Check him out here.
A positive indicator on the 19th and the 20th is that most local people apparently are happy that al Qaeda is being trapped and killed. Civilians are pointing out IEDs and enemy fighters, so that’s not working so well for al Qaeda. Clearly, I cannot do a census, but that says something about the locals.
Then there's this from Michael Gordon, whom Yon cites in his piece:
The American effort got off to a slow start in the morning when blowing sand precluded reconnaissance and medevac flights. But as the weather cleared, the soldiers advanced into the western section of the city. Soldiers said they had received useful tips from some residents on the location of buried bombs and booby-trapped houses. In the Mufrek neighborhood, several residents said they had been terrorized for months by Qaeda fighters, who commandeered houses to use as positions to shoot at American forces.
While the soldiers searched the houses, loud explosions rumbled through the city. Americans were using satellite-guided bombs and rockets where underground bombs were believed to have been buried. The American troops have found 25 improvised explosive devices and have destroyed five homes that were rigged with explosives, the military said in a statement.
Not all the buried bombs were found in time. At least three have exploded, in one case overturning a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and in another damaging a heavily armored Buffalo mine-clearing vehicle. One American soldier has been killed and 12 wounded in those attacks.
In a statement, the American military said it had killed 41 Qaeda operatives. Some wounded insurgents were reported to have escaped when they were taken into a nearby home by a group of woman and children, and American troops held their fire.
The Americans said they had not found any indication that insurgent fighters had fled Baquba.
Read the whole thing here.
Yon has been reporting for several days now that al Qaeda seems to have decided to make a stand in Baqubah and had booby-trapped the entire town. But he also reported that our troops have evolved tactics to handle just such a situation. From these reports it sounds like things are working out well for us, bad for al Qaeda.
It sounds as though Bush has finally found his Grant.