Most news stories on the fighting in Iraq concentrate on U.S. casualties. They don't pause to get a look at the larger picture. So here are two pieces that do.
The first is from the Belmont Club blog (see above). Wretchard argues that these operations show a clear strategy: "Whether one is on the Left or the Right, it should be abundantly clear that we are watching the battle for the Syrian border and for the control of the Euphrates and Tigris river lines. No matter whose side you're on, you should know what game you are in."
The second is David Ignatius's column from this morning's Washington Post. Ignatius attended a "commanders' huddle" run by Gen. John Abizaid in Doha, Qatar, and reports that U.S. military leaders are increasingly relying on Iraqi forces, as in Tal Afar. "Among the precepts they discussed here: 'Use the indirect approach' by working with Iraqi and other partner forces; 'avoid the dependency syndrome' by making the Iraqis take responsibility for their own security and governance; and 'remove the perception of occupation' by reducing the size and visibility of American forces."