Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Little Issue
Have you seen much in the media about the battle going on for Baghdad?
The LAT and WP go inside with a joint U.S.-Iraqi raid on a contingent from populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's militia. A "two-hour gun battle" ensued, and three Iraqis were killed. The raid purportedly surprised Prime Minister Maliki, who said he was "very angered and pained" by it.

Given that the U.S. has recently been ratcheting up pressure on Sadr while the cleric has increasingly been threatening to unleash his forces, the fighting seems worth a bit of coverage. In the NYT's case, that coverage consists of three sentences, 23 paragraphs into a stuffed story.
Some outlets are covering the tactical actions, but not the strategic implications. This battle is likely for the whole magilla. If the Iraqi government (read, the U.S. military) can't take Baghdad back, then Iraq is lost. Frankly, I don't think there's a prayer of pacifying Baghdad. Moqtada al Sadre has several million devotees alone, many of which are more than willing to die for the cause. The optimists are calling for one more Friedman before we know for sure. I think it's been over for some time now.