In 2005, the U.S. military fought a series of rolling battles across central Iraq in an attempt to tamp down the insurgency and permit Iraqis to move forward politically. . . . Once agai, troop numbers proved the limiting factor: U.S. troops did the clearing, and there were only so many of them, and Iraqi forces were supposed to do the holding, and there were even fewer of them that were effective.
Yet despite a solid year of fighting and three major elections, by the end of 2005, the insurgency had intensified. The number of bomb attacks had increased steadily, eventually hitting eighteen hundred a month in the fall of 2005. In addition, the bombs became more powerful, capable of utterly destroying an armored Humvee. Another twist was that some bombers figured out how to attach propane or jellied gasoline, effectively creating napalm bombs.
© 2006, Thomas E. Ricks. All rights reserved.