Seems I can't stay away from here.
An excellent story in today's LA Times follows an Army unit on patrol in Baghdad, living in a new outpost. The soldiers constantly face ieds, and their response is to walk the streets randomly rounding up people and questioning them--rather than only moving when they have real intelligence to pursue, the trademark of effective counterinsurgency. They recognize that they are getting nowhere. In addition, because their base is in a completely insecure area, one-third of their men have to guard it at all times, meaning that there are actually fewer patrols in the area (not that they help much) than before the surge, when the men were living in more easily guarded locations.
I have not brought Orwell's complete works this year, but I remember him describing a conversation he had had with a friend around 1939 or 1940 in which they had agreed that they always seemed to be able to foretell events more accurately than the government. I'm beginning to feel the same way. I also remember Harold Nicolson quoting a Tory in the spring of 1940 that Chamberlain had destroyed the Conservative Party by valuing loyalty over ability. Sounds familiar.
Have a good two weeks.