One of the tasks the US military has seldom had to do is occupy a hostile foreign country. It is not duty that any soldier welcomes, because it amounts to waiting around to be shot at, and being forced to exercise superhuman restraint in responding to attacks. It is becoming clear that our military leaders have not given this task enough thought and lack clear ideas on how to deal with the current situation in Iraq. They walk a fine line, as does any occupation force. If you try the sort of "hearts and minds" strategy they seem to be utilizing, you are very vulnerable to terrorists and foreign troublemakers, even though their numbers can be quite small. If you adopt a hardline, Soviet-style iron fist occupation, using secret police, torture, summary executions and scorched earth policies, you embitter the whole population, and energize the usual anti-american groups in the congress, media and activist organizations. So what to do? I think a good start would be to stop the insanity of having troops wandering around various cities like they were on leave in Paris or Rome. They should be in hardened billetts and should go out only on patrol or other missions. If they need something , bring it to them. The hard core Saddam areas like Faluja should be under 24 hour curfew. Anyone on the street needs a pass. We could issue them microprocessor identity cards and be able to tell from surveillance who exactly is in an area when there is an attack. Then we round up everyone who was there and put them through the wringer. Over time you eliminate the killers, and create incentives for people to rat them out. I saw soemthing the other day that turned my stomach. After a bomb had blown up a humvee, a bunch of Iraqi's had the audacity to be out there "demonstrating" for us to get out. They might as well have been dragging the dead soldiers through the street. Certainly they were literally dancing on their graves. They should have all been rounded up and after thorough questioning, I'm certain some of them would have given up those responsible. These people are not criminal suspects that are entitled to the full Johnny Cochrane kid gloves treatment. They are defeated enemy combatants and are damn lucky we didn't just put the lot of them in internment camps, something that we can still do. There is a bottom line question here. Which is more important, our troops' lives or making life as easy as possible for the Iraqi's? Frankly, I think we are getting close a Vietnam type situation here. By that I do not mean the stupid "quagmire" analogies. Rather I refer to the utter immorality of exposing troops to death but at the same time not being willing to do what is necessary to win.