Lt. General Lloyd Austin looks at
confiscated weapons caches in
Diwaniyah, Iraq. Leila Fadel/MCT
By Leila Fadel
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
BAGHDAD — It seemed like another routine trip as the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq boarded his helicopter in Amara, where a battalion of U.S. troops is based. Only two months ago, however, the smuggling hub on the Iranian border was a stronghold of Shiite Muslim militants, a place that no American general without a death wish would visit.
The climate has changed, said Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III.