September 10, 2004


U.S. Targets 3 Iraqi Cities: The moves against Samarra and other insurgent strongholds are an attempt to bolster civilian control before elections in January. (Patrick J. McDonnell, September 10, 2004, LA Times)

U.S. forces rolled into the insurgent bastion of Samarra on Thursday and sought to reestablish Iraqi government control as aircraft pounded suspected guerrilla positions in two other strongholds: Fallouja in the west and Tall Afar in the north.

The show of strength — along with the stated U.S. resolve to crush a Shiite Muslim militia in a Baghdad neighborhood — underscored the military's determination to exert control over the whole country in the months leading up to elections scheduled for January.

"This is a significant step forward where the good people of Samarra are taking control of their destiny," said Maj. Gen. John Batiste, commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division. His troops entered the city for less than 24 hours, oversaw the selection of new civic leaders, and declared the military's intention to return to help staff checkpoints in coming days.

The U.S. moves against the three insurgent centers come after a surge in attacks this week pushed American military fatalities in Iraq to more than 1,000. The actions appeared designed to dispel the perception that growing swaths of Iraq had become "no-go" zones for U.S. troops, which commanders here forcefully deny.

Three groups fell for the "no-go" story--the press, Democrats, and the extremists who flocked to the fly paper. There's a lesson there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2004 11:01 AM

We may be standing on the sidelines, but we're not in street clothes. Put me in coach, I'm ready to play.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 10, 2004 11:23 AM

If the newspaper crowd and the lefties want 'No Go' areas all they need to do is visit the Red Belt housing projects around Paris, which have become infested with violent Muslims from North Africa. But then that would conflict with their line that Chirac and the appeasers know best how to deal with the Muslim scum.

Posted by: Bart at September 11, 2004 6:39 AM