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Operation Law & Order

by Geraldo Rivera | Feb 14, 2007

Even as Congress continues its passionate debate over President Bush's surge of additional troops into Baghdad, Wednesday was the first day of what military leaders here in Iraq are calling Operation Law and Order...nine separate operations in every virtually corner of this war-torn capital.

Working with the newly reorganized Iraqi Security Forces, Stopping traffic, setting roadblocks, searching and clearing various trouble riddled parts of town, The First Cavalry, supplemented by units from the Stryker Brigade and the 82nd Airborne swarmed the city in operations designed to disrupt insurgent activity and deny the extremists the safe-haven some of these neighborhoods have previously provided.

Pointing out that 14 suspects were detained and at least four weapons caches discovered, all without the loss of a single trooper, Major General Joseph Fil was cautiously optimistic about the prospects of the surge. The commander of what is the largest single division ever fielded by the United States Army, the General and I spoke inside the huge operations center in Camp Victory.

"If everyday was like this one, it would be a different story to being told here," I said.

"It is a very good start.  Frankly it's partly because we caught them unawares, everyone knew that something was coming up, when it was gonna start and how it was going to start was not known to the enemy.  It was very well known however.  We've been preparing for a long time.  So I would say that we may have got them unawares, but it won't continue, they'll fight back hard and we know what their made of and what they're capable of and we're ready for that.

But what about our allies?

"Did the Iraqis step up to the plate today?"

"They did...as you may have heard today, they were all over the city...they were working either independently or they were with coalition forces...partners.  They were off to a great start."

Of course the enemy was also busy today, exploding car bombs in mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Eastern and Southern Baghdad. The cowardly attacks, including one in a vegetable market targeted innocent civilians killing six and wounding at least a dozen. But despite those casualties, the buzz in Baghdad is that the surge could succeed in curtailing the violence if the politicians at home give it a chance.

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