Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A half-glass-full battle

By Creature

On Sunday, in a highly publicized battle, the Iraqi forces in Najaf battled insurgents, or militias, or a cult, to the death. The details of the battle were sketchy and with whom the Iraqis were fighting was clearly in question. However, one aspect of the battle, a battle that reportedly killed between 150 and a gazillion people, was not in question: it was Iraqis who were in charge and GWB's policy was vindicated. Well, guess again.

Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed, American and Iraqi officials said Monday.

They said American ground troops — and not just air support as reported Sunday — were mobilized to help the Iraqi soldiers, who appeared to have dangerously underestimated the strength of the militia, which calls itself the Soldiers of Heaven and had amassed hundreds of heavily armed fighters.

The reality is clear, the Iraqi forces are not up to the job. The spin is even clearer, at every step of the way in GWB's latest publicity offensive (some might say publicity "surge") Iraqi successes will be trumpeted despite the reality on the ground. Call me cynical, I guess I don't have a "half-glass-full mentality," but haven't we been down this unrealistic road before?

The New York Times has more.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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