But in Adhamiya and in some other areas of Iraq, the patrols, hailed by many as heroic for making the streets safer, have posed increasing problems. Commanders quarrel and jockey for power and territory. Finger-pointing and threats are common. Some residents complain that the men, not a few of them swaggering street toughs, use their power to intimidate people. Sometimes violence erupts.I suppose you could be generous and call this some sort of variation on the law of unintended consequences. But it requires neither a great reserve of military knowledge nor any especial quantity of political acumen nor yet a particular understanding of Iraqi cultural specifics to recognize that alliances of convenience between otherwise inimical groups will end when their mutual enemy is defeated. This is so elementary as to be self-evident, and yet here we are, America!, thoughtfully wondering how the insurgent militias we helped to solidify and empower can be smoothly integrated into the inchoate Iraqi state. Hey, they can't be! Hummingbird!
“What you have is essentially armed factions, like mini-gangs, that operate in a certain set of checkpoints in certain territories,” said Lt. Erick Kuylman, a patrol commander in the First Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, which operates in Adhamiya. He said the Awakening Councils had met their original purpose, but he added, “They have outlived, I think, their service since then.”
Some American officers say it is no coincidence that the problems have worsened at a critical juncture for the Awakening movement and for American forces.
-"Friction Infiltrates Sunni Patrols on Safer Iraqi Streets"
What's quite remarkable is just how thoroughly the ongoing occupation of Iraq by hundreds of thousands of Americans (for in addition to "the troops" are the contractors and civil administrators and reconstruction workers and oilmen and truck drivers and various and sundry of the occupying apparatus) has slipped entirely from the public consciousness as we debate moose hunting and whether or not to run the sort of savage burn on the treasury that Hunter S. Thompson used to run on Vegas hotels. Notably, even prior to the latest public finance catastrophes, or the revelations thereof in any case, the subject had slipped into the ether, with McCain proposing, essentially, that the War is over and we've already Won, while Obama preferred to prove his imperial bona fides to the bloody mob by promising ever more bloodshed in Afghanistan, an even more preposterous target for our bumbling Churchillism than was/is Iraq.