The first day of operation Arrowhead Ripper was intense. The Army is giving full access to the battlefield, and while on base full access to the TOC (HQ) which means I see the raw truth on the ground, and as it feeds through the TOC. They are hiding nothing. Or if they are, it’s in plain view. (Special operations notwithstanding.) A reporter can see as much as he or she can stand.
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.
Yon gives his standard no holds barred in the renches report, with ceratinly more to follow in the days ahead.
Michael Gordon (NYT):
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.Unfortunately as you can see in my first link, Gordon's reporting from the front lines is not making the front pages....
The insurgents have imposed a strict Islamic creed, and some have even banned smoking, one resident told Capt. Jeff Noll, the commander of Company B of the First Battalion, 23rd Infantry, during his patrol through the neighborhood.
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.