Frustrated marines chase army of ghosts

Must be frustrating, but needs to be done. It would be good to know how much they are re-instating the iraqi army in that region.

The United States marines call it "chasing ghosts". They move into an area known as a haven for jihadists, young men flocking to Iraq to wage holy war, only to find the enemy already gone.

Their Kalashnikovs are left behind, their bomb-making equipment scattered on the floor and food is abandoned, still warm, on the table. But the Americans' targets have vanished to mingle anonymously with Iraqis outside.

The marines have swept through the area hugging the Syrian border in strength twice in the past few months. Both times the operations followed a similar pattern: the US military moved in and then, after an initial burst of defiance, the enemy melted away.

The American troops returned to their base. And their foes then returned to resume where they left off.

President George W Bush, their commander-in-chief, underlined the deadly threat the jihadists posed to America in a speech in North Carolina on Tuesday. America's strategy is "to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home," he said.

The problem, however, is finding them.

"Before we came here, people would tell me these people do not care if they live or die just as long as they can kill an American," said Cpl Eric Rainey, 22, a squad leader of a unit ordered to scour the border region for "bad guys".

"Well I'm not so sure about that now. They don't seem to want to be shot at. They're not so dumb."...
(c) Telegraph
Does this remind anyone else of the last large scale 'merkin adventure?

Send troops in, secure a base, clear the surrounding area of "bad guys" and then go back to HQ.
Repeat ad naseum until airlifted off the embassy roof.

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