Monday, March 12, 2007


War is a marathon folks, not a sprint.  And we are making progress.

Locals helping troops find weapons

BAGHDAD — Iraqis in the country's north, fed up with ongoing violence, are leading U.S. and Iraqi forces to some of the largest weapons and bombs caches found in the region to date, the commander of Multi-National Division-North told Pentagon reporters Friday.

This comes as U.S. troops in that area are handing off most counterinsurgency missions to Iraqi forces.  This allows U.S. forces to focus on killing or capturing those who finance, make and emplace IEDs, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of MND-N and the 25th Infantry Division.

So far this year, his forces have nearly doubled the monthly averages for finding IED caches, Mixon told reporters in the Pentagon via a satellite link from Contingency Operating Base Speicher, outside of Tikrit. The forces also have doubled the monthly average for killing the insurgents who use them, he said.

"The enemy is ruthless in using IEDs," Mixon said. "We are equally as aggressive and violent in our approach to defeat them."

Mixon said a cache found last week in Diyala had enough material to make about 130 "explosively formed projectiles," as well as military-grade rockets and mortars, the largest find of that type so far. While EFPs make up only one percent of IEDs used against Coalition forces, they are among the most deadly.

The find was part of an Iraqi forces-led mission and was based on a tip by a local informant, Mixon said. No arrests were made, but officials are still working with the informant to identify insurgents involved.

Locals are more willing to lead Coalition forces to weapons and bombs caches partly because of the increased presence of Iraqi forces, Mixon said.

What's that expression, "Slow and steady wins the race?"  And then there's "Patience is a virtue."  And let's not forget "Quitters never win."

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