Colonel Noob's Velvet Glove
Task Force Noob will now try the soft approach. No raids, checkpoints, or patrols. We're going to be so sweet that the locals will call us Task Force Sugar.
As battalion commander, I will move from local honcho to local honcho, dispensing small gifts. I'll start with Mayor al-McCheese -- sorry, Mayor Anwar Sadiq -- a Sunni who only supports the coalition 15 percent. Butter him up with token cash gifts, then work my way through the Sunni notables and tribes, and finish with the Shiites.
I'd like to put the entire U.S. force on repairing infrastructure, but I don't have the cash. I start with $260,000. After I fix two battered hospitals and the airport, I'm down to $30,000, with another 20 structures needing repair. Because I can't fix most of them, I assign one platoon to offering medical care to the population, two more to recruiting additional Iraqi soldiers and police officers, a couple more on "information engagement" with the locals, and one platoon plus the QRF as a reserve.
The good news is that by Turn 8, all LOEs are up, except for Iraqi security forces. The bad news is that there were eight IED attacks, and intel says the insurgents are successfully recruiting new fighters. Ebrahim Hafiz, a big Sunni merchant, says he will put in a good word for us if we scratch his back. My staff says his particular itch is getting us to repair the al-Hamra bazaar in the market district. Good thing I saved some cash. Another report comes in that a Black Hawk helicopter has been downed by a rocket-propelled grenade over the northern district. Staff recommends we send patrols to the area, and the QRF responds. Intel has also identified Shiite death squads, weapon caches, and safe houses in Nahiyat Artet. But the area is pro-coalition, they're not giving me any problems (I think), and I have my hands full with the Sunnis. What's really perplexing me is the Population Support Meter: Anti-government is down to 36 percent, pro-government is down to 23 percent, but the neutral bloc has swelled to 45 percent. So the more I do, the more they decide they neither love us nor hate us? Is that good or bad?
By the end of the game, Sunni insurgents and infrastructure are sprouting like measles in the northwest. My LOE results are mixed, and IED attacks are up to 18 per turn. Yet anti-government sentiment is down to 32 percent. I'm winning their hearts, but their minds are busy planting roadside bombs. The Velvet Glove seems to work somewhat better than the Iron Fist, but still not well enough.