Shy on time today. I wanted however, to pass along this opinion piece from the WSJ by Max Boot. It addresses some concerns I have raised in the past about decontextualized reports of casualties. While generally presented in the MSM as evidence that Things are Going To Hell, they can just as surely indicate that more vigorous activity is taking place in a positive direction. This appears very much to be the case in Basra, where Sadr's militias are finding it increasingly difficult to claim legitimacy and leverage in the face of a growing assertiveness on the part of Maliki's Government and its lawful National forces.
Any death is one too many, from a purely humanist perspective, and I personally make it part of my thought process whenever I read of casualties on either side to think of mothers and spouses whose families have been shattered by losses too horrid to imagine. However, there are some deaths which advance the hopes of far more families to live and thrive and die quietly in their beds. That is what we are about in Iraq and elsewhere, and I cannot help but be heartened by such bittersweet accounts of painful but positive progress.