Chasing the Ghosts

With doubts about Iraq growing at home, U.S. forces are struggling to put down an elusive and inexhaustible enemy. Michael Ware reports on the state of the counterinsurgency from the front lines of the biggest battle of the year

The troops call it Route Barracuda, a patch of terrorist territory in the northern Iraqi town of Tall 'Afar, where thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces have converged for the biggest battle in nearly a year. On this sweaty September afternoon, the neighborhood is living up to its name. A squad of U.S. commandos enters an abandoned house and clambers up to the roof. The 2-foot lip doesn't give much cover from the bullets raining down on them from insurgent gunmen firing from a building 200 yards to the north. Rounds flying at supersonic speed crack inches from the troops' ears. "Get...

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