A personal friend posted this on her Facebook wall (via Barack Obama, no less):
U.S. Troops in Iraq Fall Below 50,000
The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has fallen below 50,000—the lowest level since the U.S-led invasion in 2003.
But all the news ain’t good, which is par for the course in so many of the dusty sandboxes of the world. So I responded with
Bombings come one day after U.S. troop level in Iraq dips below 50,000
BAGHDAD — Bombers and gunmen launched an apparently coordinated string of at least a dozen attacks against Iraqi government forces on Wednesday, killing at least 50 people just one day after the number of U.S. troops fell below 50,000 for the first time since the start of the war.
Obviously, a rise in violence is to be expected. First, the Iraqi security forces are simply not as good as the US troops. Period. Even if political corruption and tribal issues didn’t hamper things too much of the time, the skill level and the tools for the job just aren’t equal to what the US military brings to the fight.
Secondly, despite nearly eight years of negative reports about the US military results in Iraq, Americans have been mind-bogglingly, stunningly, successful. They’ve exceeded expectations, and expectations were sky high to begin with. The surviving insurgents and terrorists had a lot of justification to lie a bit lower and wait for “the last US combat brigade to leave Iraq.” Now that the press has played this up, they probably sense that the time is right to come out of their rat holes for a bit, shake things up, and see what happens.
Hopefully, what happens is that the Iraqi forces, with American advisors and assisters backing them up, drives them back into their holes. Well, the ones they don’t kill, anyway.
This is yet another crucial phase in the campaign.