teT – a palindrome

Even the New York Times now understands that the Battle of Basra was a military and political victory for the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, that it shows American training of Iraqi forces has been effective, that the Iraqi government is increasingly unified and that these facts are having an effect on external relations.

All of that is apparent in the opening paragraph of the Times story Iraqi Army Takes Last Basra Areas From Sadr Force:

Iraqi soldiers took control of the last bastions of the cleric Moktada al-Sadr’s militia in Basra on Saturday, and Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad strongly endorsed the Iraqi government’s monthlong military operation against the fighters.

Quite a change. Two weeks ago Times columnist Frank Rich was nattering; “It’s Tet, and nobody cares.” On April 16th, we were treated to a prominent story about some Iraqi government forces deserting in Basra. Muted fanfare for Iraqi successes is, ah… less prominent.

The rush to verify the preferred story line judgment appears to have been a mistake. Not surprising. Since Tet is spelled the same way frontwards as backwards, total reality dyslexia has been reinforced among Times‘ staffers. But, as the Times York New has discovered, it is no longer so comprehensive as to cover Frank Rich. He’s awaiting the memo, and someone to read it to him. Left to right. Top to bottom.

TOC’s earlier posts on this topic:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Operation Knight’s Assault – continuing success

Monday, April 07, 2008
War Theater Critic

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Tet redux?

I, for one, welcome the New York Times‘ move away from the fantasy based community.

Update: 7:56PM Mooky threatens “open war.” Condi calls him on it.

BAGHDAD — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers.

Rice, in the Iraqi capital to tout security gains and what she calls an emerging political consensus, said al-Sadr is content to issue threats and edicts from the safety of Iran, where he is studying. Al-Sadr heads an unruly militia that was the main target of an Iraqi government assault in the oil-rich city of Basra last month, and his future role as a spoiler is an open question.

“I know he’s sitting in Iran,” Rice said dismissively, when asked about al-Sadr’s latest threat to lift a self-imposed cease-fire with government and U.S. forces. “I guess it’s all-out war for anybody but him,” Rice said. “I guess that’s the message; his followers can go too their deaths and he’s in Iran.”