Not just good news - really good news from Iraq
One of the reasons for the success of the surge in Baghdad was the construction of blast walls that separated Sunni and Shia neighborhoods. These walls gave a certain level of security to both sides who had been ravaged by sectarian violence for months.
The walls come a tumblin' down. ..
Market by market, square by square, the walls are beginning to come down. The miles of hulking blast walls, ugly but effective, were installed as a central feature of the surge of American troops to stop neighbors from killing one another.
"They protected against car bombs and drive-by attacks," said Adnan, 39, a vegetable seller in the once violent neighborhood of Dora, who argues that the walls now block the markets and the commerce that Baghdad needs to thrive. "Now it is safe."
Slowly, and not without some fear, the Iraqis are beginning the process of taking responsibility for their own internal security:
On Oct. 1, the Sunni-dominated Awakening movement, widely credited with helping restore order to neighborhoods that were among the most deadly, passed from the American to the Iraqi government payroll in Baghdad. There is deep mutual mistrust between the new employer and many of its new employees, many of whom are former insurgents.
Another element of the transition, which has attracted far less notice than the Awakening transfer, is the effort by the Iraqi Army to begin turning over neighborhoods to the paramilitary National Police. In the future, its officers, too, will leave and be replaced by regular police officers.
All three moves mark a transition to an era in which Iraq's Shiite-dominated government seeks more control over its own military and sway over America's.
"The Iraqi security forces are now able to protect Iraq," said Joaidi Nahim Mahmoud Arif, a National Police sergeant in Dora, in southern Baghdad. "They will depend on themselves above all."
It really is just about over. There may be some backsliding as the bitter enders seek to make a statement thinking they can affect the American election. And there is still a very long way to go to build a society where the past is forgotten and forgiven so that Sunnis and Shias can live together in peace.
But it is the Iraqi's problem now. There is very little the American military can do from here on out.
They've done quite enough, thank you. They've won the war.