Thursday, March 08, 2007

A real - not false dawn?

I try to temper my optimism about Iraq with as much cold water to the face that I can. Needless to say, Iraq the Model is required reading. Start at the top, but if you are short of time I recommend Operation Baghdad: Week II. First hand is critical to cut through the fog.

Mohammed also has a piece in OpinionJournal that you need to read.
BAGHDAD--The new strategy to secure Baghdad has been dubbed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "Operation Imposing the Law." After weeks of waiting and anxiety it is finally under way, and early signs are encouraging.

The government information campaign and the news about thousands of additional troops coming had a positive impact even before the operation started. Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups abandoned their positions in Baghdad and in some cases fled the country. Diyala province, to the east of Baghdad, was the destination for many Sunni extremists, while Shiite militiamen went to Babil and Diwaniya in the south. Some higher-ranking members of Shiite and Sunni militant groups fled to Iran and Syria respectively. This migration motivated the government to announce supporting security measures in five provinces around Baghdad, to make sure that fleeing bad guys do not regroup in other cities.

This indicates that both the addition of more troops and the tough words of Prime Minister Maliki are doing the job of intimidating the militants. The extremists understand only the language of power, and any reluctance or softness on the part of the Iraqi or U.S. government would only embolden them. In this way the clearly voiced commitment of President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki was exactly the type of strong message that needed to be sent.
We are at a 72-75 moment where we can achieve victory only to have Congress make it a defeat if we do not fight the battle at home with the same level that Mohammed is in Baghdad.

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