As the Associated Press reports:
U. S. Marines and Afghan forces killed more than 40 suspected militants in an operation against insurgents who had inflicted the deadliest blow to American forces since the Taliban's ouster, a military spokesman said Monday.
"It was successful," Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara told The Associated Press. "We had over 29 separate engagements with enemy forces that resulted in more than 40 enemy killed in action and many others wounded." O'Hara also announced that a separate three-day battle from Aug. 7-10 in southern Zabul province's Daychopan district left a total of 65 suspected militants dead. The military had previously reported that 16 rebels had been killed.
News of the casualties comes after a deadly period for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with 13 American troops killed this month.
So that leaves us with an August scorecard of 105 to 13. Boy, we're winning big time!
I'm sorry to see the military pushing attrition ratios as a bragging point, especially in a war of this nature. In a conflict where every bad guy killed or captured creates two more bad guys, you can never kill them all.
But expect to see more of this kind of "success story." Bragging rights are hard for the military to come by these days.
Once again, don't take my comments as derisive of the rank and file folks out there trying to "get the job done." They're serving to the utmost of their abilities. Lamentably, they're fighting a war that even Pentagon and administration officials admit has no military solution.
And that's a sad state of affairs.
Retired Army colonel and MSNBC analyst Jack Jacobs makes a good point about the Army's plan to keep the troop strength in Iraq at around 100,000 for another four years. This is not a policy statement, or a policy commitment. It's a contingency plan, one that the Department of the Army would frankly be remiss if they weren't examining now.
So don't get too excited about it just yet.