Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's attempt to blame looters, criminals and Saddam Hussein loyalists -- rather than "guerrillas" -- for attacks in Iraq on U.S. soldiers just won't wash. Instead, the killings of nearly two dozen U.S. troops since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat over, bear the marks of classic guerrilla operations: small-scale, limited attacks by irregulars against orthodox civil and military forces.
U.S. soldiers in the field -- confronting increasingly angry Iraqis and with casualties mounting -- don't shy away from calling the killers guerrillas. Two Baghdad ambushes wounded six U.S. soldiers Tuesday. In Fallouja, a stronghold of pro-Hussein sentiment, an explosion in a mosque compound that killed 10 Iraqis was blamed on Americans, not on the more likely culprit: weapons or bombs stored there.
In February, weeks before combat began, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told the Senate that postwar Iraqi peacekeeping and humanitarian operations probably would require about 200,000 troops. Rumsfeld disputed the figure, and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, called it "wildly inaccurate." Today, the Pentagon has about 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq; Britain has about 12,000. Shinseki, who retired in June and was often at loggerheads with Rumsfeld, appears prescient.