Escalation update.

A senior military official commenting on the recent spate of helicopter downings in Iraq: “There is certainly the expectation here that insurgents are trying to inflict some losses as we’re building up forces as a means to try to discourage the Iraqis and us that this is a futile plan.”

UPDATE: NYT reporter Damien Cave says military officials are mum on helicopter attacks. “It’s not clear if it’s a change in tactics or if it’s simply a reinvigorated effort to fire at helicopters. It’s possibly the latter, as opposed to the former, but American investigators are still trying to figure out what exactly is going on and, frankly, they’re keeping this stuff very close to the vest and not really telling us too much about what they think is going on or whether or not they know exactly what might be going on.”


UPDATE II: Tapped has a round-up of coverage.