Since there were only a limited number of groups setting up these ambushes, if you stopped to fight them, and killed or captured the attackers (the usual result), there would soon be fewer ambushes in the long run. Not only would there be fewer people around to stage ambushes, because of the casualties, but the word would get around that ambushing U.S. troops was very dangerous. Intelligence also picked up information, about damaged morale among ambush gangs, after several widely publicized battles with ambushers, with many of the attackers killed or captured.
Hat tip to Murdoc Online.
Could this be related to this?
Troops that have died in each of the last 6 months in hostile actions in Iraq:
81, 76, 50, 49, 43, 25