Iraqis are retaking control of their country, one city at a time. From the NY Times:
The city under discussion was Samarra, a small metropolis north of Baghdad known for a dazzling ninth-century minaret that winds 164 feet into the air. In the heart of the area called the Sunni Triangle, Samarra is the most recent place where the American military has decided that pulling out and standing back may be the better part of valor, even if insurgents take over.It sure would have been a lot easier to just declare Iraq a no-go zone, saving 1000 American lives, 20,000 Iraqi lives, $200 billion, and John Kerry's credibility (Bush never had any to lose).
In Iraq, the list of places from which American soldiers have either withdrawn or decided to visit only rarely is growing: Falluja, where a Taliban-like regime has imposed a rigid theocracy; Ramadi, where the Sunni insurgents appear to have the run of the city; and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf to the south, where the Americans agreed last month to keep their distance from the sacred shrines of Ali and Hussein.
The calls are rising for the Americans to pull out of even more areas, notably Sadr City, the sprawling neighborhood in eastern Baghdad that is the main base for the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr. There, leaders of his Mahdi Army are demanding that American soldiers, except those sent in to do reconstruction work, get out.