Monday, April 10, 2006

Reacting and Not Retreating

Even though we have been turning over responsibility for areas to Iraqis, we recently went back into Baghdad:

American soldiers have again hit the streets of dangerous neighborhoods in western Baghdad that had been handed over to Iraqi forces, trying to keep a lid on sectarian attacks that have raged since the February bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

The U.S. military has refocused its mission to confront death squads that have tortured and killed hundreds, a tacit acknowledgment that Iraqi troops have not been able to control violence between Shiites and Sunnis on their own.

This is fine. I wondered about whether attacks on civilians in Iraq were a new tactic and wondered if we should take back some responsibilities for some areas from Iraqis. I think our move is a "yes" to both of my questions.

Reacting to enemy moves is a necessary part of fighting a thinking enemy. Taking responsibility for a region of Baghdad after we turned it over is not a defeat--it is adapting to fight the enemy more effectively.