The commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq said Friday that he did not have enough troops to deal with the escalating violence in Iraq's Diyala province, an unusually frank assertion for a top officer and a sign that American military officials might be starting to offer more candid and blunt assessments of the war.[..]
Mixon's call for help coincides with a rise in the number of sectarian death squad killings in Baghdad. U.S. officials had heralded an earlier decline in such deaths as a sign of the success of the security clampdown in the capital that began Feb. 13.
Iraq's Interior Ministry said 234 people - men whose bodies were found throughout the capital - died at the hands of death squads in the first 11 days of May, compared with 137 in the same period of April. The tally so far for May is more than half the total for all of April, when 440 bodies were found. That was a decline from previous months. [..]
It is rare for an officer of Mixon's rank to publicly call for more troops. When Donald H. Rumsfeld was secretary of Defense, there was intense pressure on officers to not make such requests, even privately, according to officers who served in Iraq.
By Nicole Belle — May 11, 2007