The United States is holding about 10,500 prisoners in Iraq, more than double the number held in October, the military says.
About 100 of those prisoners are under age 18, said Army Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a spokesman for detention operations in
Five months ago, the military said it was holding about 4,300 prisoners in
Iraq. The growth in the prison population has come amid a lingering insurgency in Iraq and despite the formal transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government last June.
There could be any number of things going on here, not all mutually exclusive: 1) The military could finallybe getting A-list intel and nabbing real insurgents by the boatloads. 2) Lots of innocent (or close to it) civilians are being picked up in sweeps. (Remember last year when the military acknowleged that the Red Cross seemed to be on the mark when it charged that 70-90 percent of prisoners were innocent?) 3) The election-timed suspension of the release of detainees is still in effect.
Again, I don't know which of these three factors or mix of them represents what's going on. But I'm not the only one who's skeptical that the military is suddenly awash in first-rate tips.
As the top U.S. ground commander put it in eight weeks ago, "After the transfer of sovereignty, I anticipated more intelligence from the Iraqis. That increase in intelligence has not developed as fast as I would have liked."
That leaves us with explanations 2 & 3, neither of which are very comforting.