Thanks to Juan Cole
, I stumbled on this piece (link below) by Michael Gordon (NYT, in The State newspaper) in which resides this nugget:
[T]he increase in insurgent attacks has created several military problems planners probably thought they had put behind them. One is the straightforward task of ensuring control of the supply lines that lead north from Kuwait to Baghdad and east to the capital from Jordan.
"We absolutely must regain control of Baghdad and open the lines of communication to the south, to Kuwait and down to the sea, or the position will become untenable," said Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star general and the commander of the 24th Mechanized Division in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. "We have got to get back the road through Najaf and through Al Kut, and Rick Sanchez has the combat power to do it."
Challenge for the US
Now, this echoes something Jon Lee Anderson alluded to last Friday on Charlie Rose:
holding the line on the Green Line was becoming an issue.
We have all discussed that it feels there is a lid on information (may just be difficulty in getting the news collected and out) and that may be one reason.
I surely recall reading late last July 03, in Fisk, that the area we controlled around the Baghdad airport had shrunk (not good news no matter what one feels about this war) and it was thus more vulnerable to RPG and mortar.
It also feels, jsut now, as though we are in a tiny pocket of time, a tiny air pocket. The sheer tension of holding control of Baghdad could be explained this way, and may also be the reason there is willing talk of seeking negotiation with Sadr.
The initial graf in Juan Cole today, relating to the Michael Gordon piece:
Fighting Rages in Fallujah, Najaf, Karbala; 6 US Troops Dead, Hundreds of Iraqis
The US suffered 6 more combat deaths on Wednesday and Thursday.
In a CNN interview retired General Barry MacCaffrey said that the task of the US is to regain control of Baghdad and restore its lines of communication in the South. He gave away a great deal.
One may conclude that a) the US has lost control of Baghdad and b) the US communications and supply lines in the South have been cut.
That is, a year after the fall of Saddam, the US faces the task of reconquering the country.