Once again, the polls show low approval numbers for Bush and what does he do next? He starts a major military offensive campaign in order to show that his war is a "success". But what does he find in that campaign? NOTHING!
Saturday, March 18, 2006. 11:12am (AEDT)
The US military says while 48 people had been detained in Iraq, no insurgents had so far been found.
Iraq operation fails to find insurgents
US and Iraqi forces have spent a second day hunting for insurgents in villages and fields north of the capital Baghdad.
While troops have seized weapons, they have not encountered any insurgents.
Completing the second day of Operation Swarmer, US and Iraqi soldiers seized mortar rounds, rockets, explosives, and high-powered cordless telephones used to remotely detonate roadside bombs.
The US military says while 48 people had been detained, no insurgents had so far been found.
But the deputy-governor of the Salaheddin province north of Baghdad says at least one key insurgent leader, named as Jaish Mohammed, had been captured.
About 900 Iraqi and US troops are scouring villages and fields around the city of Samarra, which is regarded as an insurgent stronghold.
A spokesman for the US military, Lieutenant Colonel Craig Collier, says it has been difficult to differentiate between insurgents and the local community.
"Sometimes it's very easy, we'll find the guys laying IEDs that's pretty much a giveaway or who fire on us, often we're given tips by our local Iraqis who point out that some of their neighbours or some of the people who just moved into the area are bad guys and we go detain them," he said.
"Much of our information comes from intelligence from the local Iraqis."
The US military says the major operation could continue for several days.
Meanwhile graphic video footage showing the mutilated bodies of dozens of Iraqi Shiites has confirmed fears that wide scale sectarian killings continue across Iraq.
It shows a mass grave of 48 Shiite men who were murdered as they travelled near the Sunni dominated town of Nahrwan, half an hour east of Baghdad, in December.
The recording was made by Iraqi authorities who were led to the scene of the killings by a five-year-old boy who survived the attack.
He was forced to watch as his father and two cousins were shot, and his brother was stabbed to death by Sunni militia.
The tape, shown on ABC's Lateline program, was obtained by Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough who says it reflects strong divisions within the Iraqi population.
"What utterly stunned me was that classic image of the 48 bodies in the ditch. It is an appalling shot and coming on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, it poses all sorts of questions about where Iraq has come to and where Iraq is going," he said.
Further proof that his war is a dismal failure.