And what do you know, although it's still Sept. 30 here, in Iraq it's already Oct. 1, and the offensive has begun!
This is just as I had hoped. Rather than react to the provocations last Spring, that were designed to create a joint Sunni-Shia revolt, with Sadr in the South and Zarqawi to the North, we contained those uprisings without giving them the pre-packaged media victory that was sought.
Rather than just level the city, we were being much smarter. The Russians levelled Grozny a few years ago, and that didn't do them any good.
As operations unfolded last Spring with the Marines in Fallujah before they tried their experiment of handing security over to locals, we discovered they had perfected a new form of urban fighting that was incredibly safe for our troops and lethal for the enemy, that relied on heavy use of snipers, precision strikes, and remorseless robotic drone surveillence.
Instead, we spent the Summer gathering intelligence, making databases, finding out who was who, and gradually preparing the battlespace with almost daily airstrikes on Fallujah and elsewhere. And while holding the line with the Sunnis, we turned our attention to Sadr's Iranian-backed "Mahdi Army", and without a great deal of fanfare, exterminated them by the thousands.
So now we're going in hard. They probably know exactly where the enemy is. The force is a full brigade -- that's a serious attack with several thousand soldiers and combined heavy arms.
The other reason for the delay was to wait for more, better-trained Iraqi forces to follow-up our victory, which weren't available last Spring, as ultimately the ongoing security has to be provided by Iraq itself. And there's a government for them to be loyal to.
We also find
senior military officials said U.S. and Iraqi troops in the past month have killed or captured more than 100 al-Zarqawi associates and have killed six members of al-Zarqawi's inner circle.I also think this is highly amusing that it starts mere hours before the first Presidential Debate. It could have been yesterday, it could have been tomorrow, but instead it's right now. Ha!