Grab ’em by their testicles circulation and their hearts and minds will follow

The New York Times has another balanced story on Iraq. There was also one on April 20th during mopping up operations in Basra.

The surge must truly be working for the Times to notice progress in Iraq twice within 30 days. That, or the anti-surge in their circulation and stock value…

…is having an effect.

Operation in Sadr City Is an Iraqi Success, So Far

Published: May 21, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces rolled unopposed through the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City on Tuesday, a dramatic turnaround from the bitter fighting that has plagued the Baghdad neighborhood for two months, and a qualified success for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

As it did in the southern city of Basra last month, the Iraqi government advanced its goal of establishing sovereignty and curtailing the powers of the militias.

This was a hopeful accomplishment, but one that came with caveats: In both cities, the militias eventually melted away in the face of Iraqi troops backed by American firepower. Thus nobody can say just where the militias might re-emerge or when Iraqi and American forces might need to fight them again.

…Mr. Maliki was strengthened politically in his drive to shape an image as a strong and decisive leader, the kind of leader many Iraqis, Sunni and Shiite, think is needed to control the country.

…So far, the Iraqi Army has been a winner. Iraqi commanders received, and sometimes rejected, advice from the American military. But in the end they were able to execute a plan that was very much their own.

It is prudent for the Times to end their headline with “so far.” If only they had shown similar circumspection when they were crying that Operation Saulat al Fursan was a disaster, even while they were confusing it with Tet.

The Iraqi government’s confrontation with al-Sadr is not over, though Prime Minister al-Maliki’s increased political clout has made the outcome more certain. This is exactly the sort of action – enforcement of the rule of law by an elected Iraqi government – that deserves the continuing support of the United States.

TOC’s earlier posts on this topic:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Hit the tip jar

Saturday, May 10, 2008
Tet-à-Tête with Mooky

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Saulat al Fursan

Sunday, April 20, 2008
teT – a palindrome

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?