If Washington has decided US troops do not need to be in Fallujah, why do they need to be in Karmah, or Shababi, presenting targets for the rebels? It is a question with no obvious answer. Officially, India company is in Karmah to act as a surrogate police force until the Iraqi police and army, which they are helping train, are ready to take over. Yet at close quarters it sometimes seems to the outside observer that the marines’ sole purpose is to protect themselves from, and pursue, a group of clandestine bombers whose sole reason for being is to try to kill the marines.

The road which curves north from Karmah in an s-shape, called IED [Improvised Explosive Devices] Alley by the marines, is a case in point. India company devotes much of its scant resources, and exposes itself to great risk, keeping this road clear of IEDs. Yet the reason the road is infested with IEDs appears to be that the marines of India company spend so much time patrolling it, looking for IEDs.