GENERALS IN IRAQ: In response to yesterday’s post on the subject, a reader in Iraq who asks for anonymity emails:

Boot has a point about Generals.

They don’t control much on the ground and the tactical decisions, but they have a huge say in asset allocation and priorities. (They know, but don’t control.)

To see all the assets that have been arrayed on huge bases like Balaad, Al Asad, TQ, Victory Baghdad, then compare them to say PB 548 north of Habbaniyah, you see the priorities for asset allocation were inside the wire for a few years.

That is just now starting to switch.

Petraeus is fighting a battle not only against the enemy, but the military’s bureaucratic machine. A machine built up over years in garrison without combat and now turning major bases in Iraq into garrison.

I heard a second hand story last night about a female soldier who was not complying with certain rules on a major base. The rules were because it was a ‘combat zone.’ Her defense? The base she was stationed on was not a combat zone.

I think I would have acquitted her.

Troops in big bases are a lot less likely to get killed, and casualties generate bad press. On the other hand, troops outside the wire can do a lot more, but at the cost of higher casualties.