WaPo asked the million-dollar question on Friday. Is the fight over or are we just between rounds? No one’s saying “mission accomplished” but both Yon and CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, think there’s more to what’s going on than the two sides taking a breather. “The mood of the people has changed dramatically,” says Yon — a sentiment with which McIntyre agrees but with the caveat that economic development is sorely needed now to cement the trend towards normalcy. Frederik Pleitgen picks up on that by noting how U.S. troops have taken the lead on trying to restore services to quasi-pacified areas, a shrewd strategy insofar as it breaks the local dependence on militias but worrisome insofar as it makes our guys and not the Iraqi government the linchpin in basic civic administration.
As for the military’s view on all this, McIntyre has the takeaway: “You really do sense an optimism that wasn’t there a short time ago.” Hmmmm.