The full contingent of new U.S. forces being sent to Iraq -- what military leaders call a "surge" of troops to improve security and stability in the capital -- was completed by Friday, with 28,500 additional troops now posted in the country, a U.S. military spokesman said.
"The strategic movement of forces into the theater is complete, and the surge is just starting," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "Now that the force is here, we'll see the counterinsurgency start in full swing, and we'll be able to execute the strategy as it was designed."
The full mobilization of the surge comes at the end of another tense week in Iraq, following the bombing Wednesday of an important Shiite shrine in Samarra. A widespread curfew and appeals for calm appears to have muted the cycle of retaliation that followed a 2006 attack on the same mosque. At least 13 Sunni mosques were attacked on Thursday, but the violence did not seem to be escalating into open warfare.
The above, noted by Lloyd, is from John Ward Anderson and Joshua Partlow's "U.S. Says Iraq Troop Surge Complete" (Washington Post). Read that last sentence again to be sure we all grasp that, at a minimum, 13 mosques were attacked. Over at the New York Times -- they're giddy from other news -- Alissa J. Rubin has the temerity to maintain that "Thursday passed with few violent incidents despite the destruction on Wednesday of the minarets of a holy shrine in Samarra sacred to Shiites."
So the 'surge' is complete. For now. The escalation is part of the never ending 'crackdown' begun in June of 2006 and continued since then. A lot of reporters try to fool and josh and act like February 2007 is a new 'plan.' Tell is to the service members who were leaving Iraq in August -- or in one case, had left and were sent right back. There is no plan, there is no strategy. For 12 months, Bully Boy's answer to the violence has been toss more American lives on the bombs and before the bullets while Nouri al-Maliki thinks he can scream "Curfew! Curfew!" for another 12 months and that somehow demonstrates he is a well trained puppet. And the press goes along with the nonsense and repeats talks of 'new plans' and acts as though the crackdown begun in June of 2006 (in response to the storming of the walls of the Green Zone) hasn't gone on and on and on. Or that the 'answers' provided aren't the same thing over and over.
In fairness to Rubin, she did file a piece. All together now, in our best Tim Russert, "If it's summer, it's Israel." And so it goes once again.
Matt Lauer had to repeat "America's closest ally" how many times on Today? (We were checking out, Jim and I, and it was on in the lobby.)
Meanwhile, there are multiple deaths of US service members announced (in Iraq, the war that's being forgotten again). We'll address that in the next entry this morning.
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alissa j. rubin
the washington post
john ward anderson
the third estate sunday review