Where, oh where has this coverage been for the last 14 months?
The Washington Post has a good story featuring some of our 1st Brigade guys.
By May 11, Sadr's militants had withdrawn into a square-mile area around Karbala's shrines. For the first time, Bishop's soldiers contended with an exclusion zone of their own.Go read that entire story...its a good one.
That evening Bishop sent hundreds of soldiers into buildings around the Mukhaiyam mosque. Sgt. Shane Hill, a 24-year-old from Chicago, entered a boys school a block west of the mosque. He found tank rounds and four men who identified themselves as Iraqi police officers bound and gagged, badly beaten and smelling of urine.
As Hill worked to clear the school, mortar shells fell in the courtyard, fired by teams of insurgents who faded into the old city. Bishop, observing from a few blocks away, would not let his men pursue them into the exclusion zone. Asked how he made the decision, Bishop said, "By being here a year."
The battle moved to the shrines. Over 10 days, Bishop's soldiers played cat-and-mouse with insurgents who took cover among the city's alleyways, covered archways and low rooftops. Residents were caught in the fighting. The soldiers estimate that 20 civilians were killed in Karbala during the fighting, a figure that could not be independently verified.
Squeezed into a few downtown blocks, Sadr militants began using children to shuttle ammunition, soldiers said. Youngsters carrying large plastic bags darted from corner to corner, and the soldiers would not shoot them. "We all grew up knowing you don't hurt women and children," Taylor said. "And they used that to their advantage."
(And no doubt any minute now we will be witnessing massive protests in the streets of San Francisco and Seattle and Paris and Berlin condemning these insurgents' tactics that violate....nay...obliterate the Geneva Conventions. Doubtless Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi will be calling for congressional hearings just any cotton picking moment...)
And if you like that story, you may also like this one by the NY Times (I can't believe I just wrote that phrase!), or another couple of stories from the Washington Post here and here.
Amazingly enough (for media coverage) the 1st Armor Division appears to be given credit for making a huge difference during the period of its extension.
(Thanks to Bobby and John for the links)