Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Shifting Fight

After our last election, I wrote in Iraq SITREP that the next phase of the war lasting until this spring--which the surge represents--would be the last phase in which we dominate in combat operations. Given the success of the surge, we will have a bigger role and more troops than I assumed back then, but the general trend is still as I projected.

We've already seen how Iraqis have taken the lead in Mosul and the Basra operations, the last main fronts. Gates verifies this trend:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the steps necessary in Iraq before Washington can begin to withdraw troops are "already happening."

"Eight provinces in Iraq are already under provincial Iraqi control, where there are either no coalition forces or they are ... not involved in combat," Gates said, adding that Al-Anbar province, once one of the most violent parts of the country, appears to be the next headed in that direction.

So "what we have is half of Iraq where the transition has already been made to a different kind of role or mission for U.S. forces," Gates said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

And Iraqi combat casualties are two or three times as heavy as ours. The Iraqis are fighting and winning despite the latest media nonsense.