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Archive for Tuesday, August 7, 2007

U.S. troops see signs that surge is working

August 7, 2007

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— U.S. troops had nicknamed the suspected insurgent "George Clooney" because of his handsome mug, but he wasn't so pretty after members of his own Sunni tribe shot and wounded him, and then turned him over to the Americans.

U.S. forces say the tribe's act was an example of the payoffs that come from practicing the counterinsurgency techniques preached by Gen. David H. Petraeus as he enforces President Bush's troop surge. But unlike the 28,500 newly arrived troops, soldiers here have been at it for nearly a year.

Their experience in trying to tame this palm-fringed enclave south of Baghdad within the area sometimes called the "Triangle of Death" serves as a reminder of how long it can take to remake a region steeped in violence, be it bucolic farmland or a chaotic city like Baghdad.

"To take guys who just got here and throw them out there and say the surge isn't working, or the surge is working - it's not an educated assessment," said Lt. Col. Michael Infanti, commander of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment. "It takes time to work into an area."