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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Operation Hemingway's Shotgun 

From the January Harper's (not, alas, online), a lexicon of "official code names for current or recent U.S. military and intelligence operations" taken from a new book by William M. Arkin, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World:
Operation Aspiring Falcon
Operation Beady Eye
Operation Busy Lobster
Operation Centurion Crusader
Operation Continue Hope
Operation Decisive Guardian
Operation Destined Glory
Operation Earnest Will
Operation Elaborate Maze
Operation Eloquent Banquet
Operation Gothic Serpent
Operation Grisly Hunter
Operation Noble Obelisk
Operation Prominent Hammer
Operation Sacred Company
Operation Sunny Hope
Operation Urgent Victory
Based on the latest news from Iraq, our strategic planners might want to start coming up with some catchier names:
In April 2003, as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was ending, the Pentagon projected in a formal planning effort that the U.S. military occupation of the country would end this month.

Instead, December 2004 brought the deadliest single incident of the war for U.S. forces, with more than 80 casualties suffered yesterday [Tuesday] by U.S. troops, civilian contractors and Iraqi soldiers when a U.S. base near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was blasted at lunchtime.

At least 19 of those killed in the attack on a mess tent at the city's airport were American soldiers -- more U.S. troops than have been lost in any other major incident in the fighting, even during the spring 2003 invasion . . . .

The major difference between the latest attack and the earlier incidents is that it was an attack on a U.S. base, rather than on troops in transit in vulnerable aircraft. That difference appears to reflect both the persistence of the insurgency and its growing sophistication, as experts noted that it seemed to be based on precise intelligence. Most disturbingly, some officers who have served in Iraq worried that the Mosul attack could mark the beginning of a period of even more intense violence preceding the Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

"On the strategic level, we were expecting an horrendous month leading up to the Iraqi elections, and that has begun," retired Army Col. Michael E. Hess said.
The President, meanwhile, called the performance of Iraqi troops "unacceptable" and admitted that insurgents are "having an effect." "Iraq will never secure itself if they have troops that, when the heat gets on, they leave the battlefield," remarked Mr. Bush, an honorably-discharged veteran of the Texas Air National Guard. Despite his reservations, however, he did claim that life in Iraq is "better now than it was under Saddam Hussein," and said that 15 of that country's 18 provinces are "relatively stable."

For a more detailed look at what the President means by "relatively stable," see Today in Iraq.

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