Forecast for Hell: Cooling with a chance of snow

Rick Moran
The New York Times - that's right; this is not a misprint - headlines a piece on Iraq today, "Big Gains for Iraq Security, but Questions Linger."

Since that is what the United States army has been saying for months, can we now call the New York Times a propaganda organ for the Army? I'm sure that's what the left thinks.

Or perhaps, finally, they are
getting it:

For Hatem al-Bachary, a Basra businessman, the turnabout has been "a miracle," the first tentative signs of a normal life.

"I don't think the militias have disappeared, and maybe there are sleeper cells which will try to revive themselves again," he said. "But the first time they try to come back they will have to show themselves, and the government, army and police are doing very well."

While the increase in American troops and their support behind the scenes in the recent operations has helped tamp down the violence, there are signs that both the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government are making strides. There are simply more Iraqi troops for the government to deploy, partly because fewer are needed to fight the Sunni insurgents, who have defected to the Sunni Awakening movement. They are paid to keep the peace.

Mr. Maliki's moves against Shiite militias have built some trust with wary Sunnis, offering the potential for political reconciliation. High oil prices are filling Iraqi government coffers. But even these successes contain the seeds of vulnerability. The government victories in Basra, Sadr City and Amara were essentially negotiated, so the militias are lying low but undefeated and seething with resentment. Mr. Maliki may be raising expectations among Sunnis that he cannot fulfill, and the Sunni Awakening forces in many cases are loyal to their American paymasters, not the Shiite government. Restive Iraqis want to see the government spend money to improve services. Attacks like the bombing that killed 63 people in Baghdad's Huriya neighborhood on Tuesday showed that opponents can continue to inflict carnage.

The article is long - around 5,000 words - but well worth the read. It appears that the Times reporters in Iraq have finally discovered that the Iraqi army has been performing very well these last few months and that Prime Minister Maliki - once thought a disasterous weak sister - has stood up to the militias which has raised his image among his fellow countrymen considerably.

Politically and militarily, Iraq is turning into a nation again. As the article points out, many obstacles remain and some may prove intractable. But the fact that the government is working to solve many of the basic road blocks to peace can only be seen as good newes.

You may have to keep pinching yourself while reading the piece to be reminded just what publication you are reading this in.

The New York Times - that's right; this is not a misprint - headlines a piece on Iraq today, "Big Gains for Iraq Security, but Questions Linger."

Since that is what the United States army has been saying for months, can we now call the New York Times a propaganda organ for the Army? I'm sure that's what the left thinks.

Or perhaps, finally, they are
getting it:

For Hatem al-Bachary, a Basra businessman, the turnabout has been "a miracle," the first tentative signs of a normal life.

"I don't think the militias have disappeared, and maybe there are sleeper cells which will try to revive themselves again," he said. "But the first time they try to come back they will have to show themselves, and the government, army and police are doing very well."

While the increase in American troops and their support behind the scenes in the recent operations has helped tamp down the violence, there are signs that both the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government are making strides. There are simply more Iraqi troops for the government to deploy, partly because fewer are needed to fight the Sunni insurgents, who have defected to the Sunni Awakening movement. They are paid to keep the peace.

Mr. Maliki's moves against Shiite militias have built some trust with wary Sunnis, offering the potential for political reconciliation. High oil prices are filling Iraqi government coffers. But even these successes contain the seeds of vulnerability. The government victories in Basra, Sadr City and Amara were essentially negotiated, so the militias are lying low but undefeated and seething with resentment. Mr. Maliki may be raising expectations among Sunnis that he cannot fulfill, and the Sunni Awakening forces in many cases are loyal to their American paymasters, not the Shiite government. Restive Iraqis want to see the government spend money to improve services. Attacks like the bombing that killed 63 people in Baghdad's Huriya neighborhood on Tuesday showed that opponents can continue to inflict carnage.

The article is long - around 5,000 words - but well worth the read. It appears that the Times reporters in Iraq have finally discovered that the Iraqi army has been performing very well these last few months and that Prime Minister Maliki - once thought a disasterous weak sister - has stood up to the militias which has raised his image among his fellow countrymen considerably.

Politically and militarily, Iraq is turning into a nation again. As the article points out, many obstacles remain and some may prove intractable. But the fact that the government is working to solve many of the basic road blocks to peace can only be seen as good newes.

You may have to keep pinching yourself while reading the piece to be reminded just what publication you are reading this in.