Tuesday, October 12, 2004
On this day:

Delay in Iraq?

The L.A. Times reported yesterday that the U.S. was set to delay major anti-insurgency operations in Iraq until after the Nov. 2 presidential election. The article by reporter Mark Mazzetti was carried in newspapers nationwide. It even appeared on the front page of our very own Huntsville Times in highlighted text with the headline "U.S. to delay major assaults until elections." Here are the first three paragraphs:

The Bush administration will delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.

Although American commanders in Iraq have been buoyed by recent successes in insurgent-held towns such as Samarra and Tall Afar, administration and Pentagon officials say they will not try to retake cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi - where insurgents' grip is strongest and U.S. military casualties could be the greatest - until after Americans vote in what is likely to be a close election.

"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity."Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive."

Someone must not be reading the L.A. Times, because this is the news today from Iraq:
U.S. forces stepped up operations Tuesday across a wide swath of the Sunni
insurgent strongholds northwest of the capital, pounding targets in two cities
from the air and supporting Iraqi troops in raids on mosques suspected of
harboring insurgents.

The L.A. Times has some 'splaining to do.