Iraq: December 25, 2003


Twelve days after Saddam Hussein's capture, and a sharp decline in attacks on coalition forces, Christmas day was marked by several dozen attacks on military and civilian targets. Most were minor in terms of firepower (rifle fire or some RPG rockets) and effects (they caused no casualties.) But five American troops were killed in  bomb and mortar attacks. US troops also launched an attack on buildings believed to hold arms, munition and hostile Iraqis. American intelligence was good enough to predict the Christmas day "offensive." Over the last six months, the US has been pouring in thousands of intelligence troops, and billions of dollars worth of technology, to get a clear picture of who and what they are up against in Iraq. That effort led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and is now leading to those who supported him and his government. Pre-war intelligence on Saddam's government was relatively poor because for the last three decades, the CIA has been discouraged from finding and hiring local agents. This is because such agents often have dirty hands and opportunistic American politicians and journalists will later jump on this as evidence of America "hiring thugs." So now, all that intelligence work has to be done while American troops are getting shot at. 




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