I’ve only seen report of one US fatality today. Maybe I’ve missed something, and maybe we aren’t getting all the numbers from the Pentagon, but today certainly seemed a lot different than yesterday. Despite protests spreading to additional cities, this widespread revolt seems in danger of petering out within a few days.
Too wildly optimistic? Maybe. Probably, in fact.
But the window for insurgents, fedayeen, and militiamen to really wreck some havoc is closing rapidly.
Ukrainian soldiers were ordered to pull out of al Kut when it began to look like they lacked the resources to do what needed to be done. I think they’re doing their best to isolate the city and are going to sit tight until some US troops can be dispatched to help.
The Italians in an Nasiriyah seem to be holding their own despite continuing battles for control of the city’s Euphrates bridges. The Spanish in Najaf are having a hard time of it, as they’re now trying to negotiate a return of control, but the Poles in Karbala seem to be doing fine. They killed the head of the city’s al Sadr office earlier today in fierce fighting.
The Marines in Fallujah and Ramadi seem to have things more or less under control, though a strong insurgent presence still festers. The San Jose Mercury News has this to say:
Witnesses in Ramadi said Marines who’d been fighting for 24 hours straight paused only to refill ammunition. Insurgents were getting the worst of it, as Marine snipers picked them off one by one.
There is certainly a lot yet to be done, but our troops seem to be getting a handle on things. Those that suggested we weren’t going into Fallujah because we were unable to appear to have been quite wrong. We seem to have waited until our ducks were in a row, then launched our operations methodically. I wrote on Friday
I think the fact that we didn’t go rushing headlong into the city on a “rescue” mission indicates that the Marines have a plan.
All of history indicates you don’t want to be on the receiving end when the US Marines have a plan.
The bad guys might go down in twos or threes, they might go down by the dozen, or they might only go down one at a time to a sniper’s bullet. In any event, the bad guys go down.
Although I’m sure things aren’t quiet in Sadr City, there hasn’t been much in the way of big news out of there for a while. That probably means that US troops more or less have things in hand. That neighborhood has been rough for many months, and the gunfire and nightly RPG attacks aren’t anything new to the area. The Seattle PI has an AP story with this:
Hashem al-Husni, a photo store owner, pointed with disapproval to the armed militiamen on a rooftop and hundreds of their supporters gathered nearby.
“If they had jobs or money in their pockets, they would not be there. Years from now, they will be ashamed by what they are doing now,” he said.
If they’re alive years from now, they might be. But he raises a good point. If we can get this unrest under control, if we can continue to make progress re-establishing security and an economy in Iraq, if we can make daily life in Iraq good enough that fighting US soldiers looks like a bad alternative, these uprisings will fade away.
Those are all some big “if”s. We’re working on it, but we’ve got a long way to go. Until then, we’re going to be dealing with these sorts of flare-ups. We can probably keep putting them down forever if we want to. But we aren’t going to want to forever.
UPDATE: ACE has a great line in his latest:
Perhaps for the first time in history, the enemy forces are thinking they’d rather face the 82nd Airborne.
The 82nd didn’t receive all the “kinder, gentler” training that the Marines did. My guess is that the Marines wouldn’t mind a few 82nd boys at their side right now, though.