I know! Let's see what Rick is up to. Let's see.......an interview with Tim Cocks (now that's an unfortunate name) of Reuters
Outposts help U.S. troops quell Iraq violence
Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:07am EST
By Tim Cocks
On a patch of Iraqi desert flanked by palm trees, U.S. soldiers erect concrete blast walls and saw wooden planks to make cabins. Out front, a gunner tests his mortar launcher, firing a round into an empty field.
The soldiers are building the latest U.S. combat outpost in Iraq, a tactical shift begun a year ago to move troops off their relatively safe, sprawling bases and into small garrisons in and around the country's dangerous neighbourhoods and towns.
The town of Salman Pak, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, had long been a haven for al Qaeda, whose bombers used it as a springboard to launch car bomb attacks on Baghdad.
But thanks to a combat outpost set up a year ago and then with help from Sunni Arab tribal leaders who turned against the militants, U.S. officers say security in Salman Pak has improved and they want to make sure those gains are not lost.
"Al Qaeda owned this for the past three years. Now it's ours," Major-General Rick Lynch, who commands 20,000 U.S. troops south of Baghdad, told Reuters during a visit to the town.
"The way it's ours is we get this permanent presence here, so they know we're not leaving. We're not going to give this up until Iraqi security forces can ... maintain security."
Read the rest here.