Reading about attacks on US troops in Iraq it seems to me a common occurrence is a patrol of US troops being hit by a roadside bomb, or being shot at (like e.g. in the bomb attack that triggered the Haditha incident).
What I (being very much ignorant of military matters) cannot picture is what such patrols are done for, especially in hostile-minded areas where locals aren’t likely to point you to suspicious people.
I assume the possible outcomes of such a patrol would be
- in most cases: eventually coming back from a singularly unenjoyable drive through town, or
- being attacked and possibly being able to fight back, under circumstances of the attackers’ choosing (i.e. unfavourable ones)
So what would such patrols ideally accomplish? I don’t assume you could turn a corner and surprise people setting up a mortar, or dragging an abductee to a car - they would be able to arrange for sufficient warning of your approach, wouldn’t they?