June was deadliest month for US in Iraq in 3 years
And we know just who to blame and where we can go to stop it.
U.S. officials have blamed Shi'ite militias armed by Iraq's Shi'ite neighbor Iran for most of the recent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Fourteen U.S. service members were killed in hostile incidents in June, the highest monthly toll in three years.
At least three more have been killed in July, including one on Sunday, the day Panetta arrived in Baghdad on his first trip to Iraq as Defense secretary.
"We are very concerned about Iran and the weapons they are providing to extremists here in Iraq. And we're seeing the results of that," Panetta said in an address to U.S. troops in Baghdad.
"In June we lost a hell of a lot of Americans as a result of those attacks. And we cannot just simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen ..."
Panetta said Washington's first effort would be to press the Iraqi government and military to go after Shi'ite groups responsible for the attacks. He was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki later on Monday.
"Secondly, to do what we have to do unilaterally, to be able to go after those threats as well, and we're doing that," he said, referring to the right of U.S. forces to defend themselves on Iraqi soil.
The Iraqi government cannot stand up to Iran. It is too weak, too riven by factions of shias who look to Tehran rather than Baghdad for orders.The Iranian-backed Sadrites and their leader, Moqtada al-Sadr are the most organized militia that opposes the US, but there are others as well.
It is unlikely that the Iraqi military will do much to stem the violence against US troops, so it seems inevitable that we will have to take care of the problem ourselves.