'All these men in black'
Can anyone figure out what's going on in Basra and Iraq? The Times of London reports
that the Iraqi army is now securely in control of Basra -- indicating Iraqi units fought far better against Muqtada Sadr's militia than originally thought. Agence France-Presse is reporting
that Sadr's last bastion in Basra has fallen. Is it too much to ask that we get some American reporting on this? ... But don't believe those happy-talk types
who think lack of U.S. coverage is some sort of conspiracy by the lefty-leaning American media to downplay successes in Iraq. Having happy talked their way around all the bad news in Iraq over the years, their credibility on Iraq is shot. ... This article
gives an idea of what's going on in the rest of Iraq. Sadr is definitely on the defensive and the government is getting bolder. But this passage about one small incident in Iraq jumped out of me:
Witnesses afraid to give their names said a grenade was tossed into a wedding party, killing a child and injuring more than 20 people. They believed that the celebration was targeted because of the presence of a band, which Shiite extremists consider sacrilegious.
This is the extreme culture we're trying to pacify. ... Check out Juan Cole's
depressing list of violence, bombings, clashes, etc. ... Bottom line: Once again, if you want to learn about Iraq, you have to toggle from source to source to piece together a decent picture. I still think we're managing the degree of defeat in Iraq -- or radically altering and dumbing-down the definition of victory if you prefer the word 'victory.' Iraq is a fractured nation. But the Iraqi government and army there seem to be finally standing on their feet, if a little wobbly. Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is turning out to be a surprisingly forceful leader. ... And, yes, I saw this bluster bluff
about Iran, which, no matter what happens, still holds better strategic cards than the U.S. ...