Continued fighting in Iraq
Good summary of the continued fighting in Iraq from Grim's Hall:
This kind of fight is exactly what our forces are trained to do. This is the kind of fight we should be glad to have. There is nothing more we can ask of Iraq than that the enemies of stability should be out in the field, engaged in battle with us. They are now a clear military problem, one for which the officers in the field have studied and the men in the field have trained. They are engaged in a stand-up fight with us. They can't hope to prevail, and in fact are breaking: witness today's shift on the part of al-Sadr's forces to hostage taking. Having gotten them into the field, we shall clear the field. Iraq will enter its successor government with a whole lot fewer insurgents, and witnessed memories of the abject failure of insurgency against US forces.
To those who report without understanding, however, this looks like bad news. It's scary, like the Tet Offensive was scary; there are fires and angry men with guns who hate us. The news crawl startles them--US forces engaged in fourteen cities across Iraq! What they forget, or rather never knew, is that the US forces were designed for simultaneous engagement on up to three continents. The instability won't last. The wave will break, the Coalition will bind these insurgents in fourteen rings of steel, like the one cast already around Fallujah. In a few days those who have not been captured or killed will be hiding in fear. We will be flush with victory, and in possession of a great deal of new intelligence information on who is backing these groups--whether it is official government aid from regional powers, or factional aid from folks like al-Sadr's cousin, the leader of Hezbollah. Then we can tailor the next phase of action, to take the fight to those who hoped to bring the fight to us.
Our enemies have revealed themselves, and thus doomed themselves to destruction at the hands of the world's finest military. Americans do not desire bloodshed, as is attested by the time, effort, and money we have invested to rebuild the country that we conquered one year ago today.
American servicemen and women in Iraq, our hopes and our prayers are with you always. May God bless you and keep you safe in your selfless mission, and grant you victory over our enemies. And may His Holy Spirit touch the people of this country, and the people of Iraq, that they may feel not despair, but hope.