Over the last year I've had to re-learn one lesson over and over and over. That lesson is what we see on television and hear on the radio news does not tell the whole story.
The media report that which they deem as newsworthy...and they frequently do so out of context.
Look at it this way...consider the story is in "the touch". The media focus on that touch, without putting it into its appropriate context. In so doing the impression it leaves is that there is nothing but the touch. Certainly there is much more going on on the Sistene Chapel's ceiling than that.
Watch the news today and one is likely to feel as if all of Iraq is in a state of total chaos. So for me it was a wonderful perspective adjustment to read John Galt's view of what is going on in Iraq. He is actually there...and he puts it into much better perspective.
One popular journalistic theme is that the Iraqi security forces are failing. They are fighting and dying beside Coalition forces. Have some of the Iraqi forces broken and ran? Yes. When mobs attack in overwhelming numbers a police outpost, the Iraqi police ran. So would have I. You too. But the Iraqi police returned.Be sure you go read his entire piece. You will feel better.
Power Grab. Everyone expected a challenge to the legitimate transfer of authority to the Iraqi government and to the sovereignty of the Iraqi government and its procedures for democratic elections. Al-Sadr is a power grab, plain and simple. He makes his move at a key religious time.
Slow Motion Tet Offensive. Combat has moved from terrorism to an insurgency. The terrorists have changed tactics from attacking soft, civilian targets to hitting the Coalition military. Most Iraqis and Coalition states do not doubt the outcome of the battle.
But the terrorists are buoyed by the successful retrenchment of the Spanish government as a reaction to a single attack in Spain. Terrorist are attacking in force the Ukrainian, Spanish and Polish forces in the Coalition. Like the Tet offensive, al-Sadr does not expect to have a military win but to permanently damage the will of the Iraqis and the Coalition.
Al-Sadr has miscalculated. The Coalition is attacking, not defending. We are killing the terrorists while avoiding collateral damage or indiscriminate attacks.