THE PRESS ON IRAQ....Because we don't do this very often in the blogosphere, I'd like to mention that the press has done a pretty outstanding job reporting on Iraq and the surge over the past week or so. The reporting has mostly been detailed, ground level, extensive, and properly skeptical without denying the modest progress that appears to be genuine. I've linked to a bunch of it already, but here's a quick sample of some of the pieces that ran over the weekend:
- The LA Times on Anbar: "Military and political leaders warn against resting hopes for all of Iraq on this province, where U.S. forces are empowering, and even arming, the people who once fought them."
- McClatchy on the surge: "Interviews with Iraqis, statistics on violence gathered independently by McClatchy Newspapers and a review of developments in the country since the U.S. began increasing troop strength here last February provide little reason for optimism."
- AP on tricky statistics: "In vertical bars of blue, green, gray and red, a briefing chart prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency says what Gen. David Petraeus won't. Insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, their security forces and U.S. troops remain high, according to the document obtained by The Associated Press."
- The New York Times on security in Baghdad: "More than 160,000 American troops are now in Iraq to help secure 25 million people. Across Baghdad which undoubtedly remains a crucial barometer American and Iraqi forces have moved closer to the population, out of giant bases and into 29 joint security stations. But even as some neighborhoods have improved, others have worsened as fighters moved to areas with fewer American troops.....Sunnis and Shiites still fear each other. At the top levels of the government and in the sweltering neighborhoods of Baghdad, hatreds are festering, not healing."
- The New York Times on the Dora market: "American Stryker battalions fought their way into the town in May and June....and one third of the 900 shops in the main market reopened....In mid-August [American commanders] conceded that many insurgents simply fled to south Dora on the fringes of the area covered by the new military strategy where they did not have the manpower to expand.