So we're getting tougher in Iraq -- "Iron Hammer" and all that. As Swopa at Needlenose points out, back in August our generals were saying that was exactly the wrong idea:
U.S. alters raid strategy after Iraqi complaints
Michael R. Gordon NYT
Friday, August 8, 2003
BAGHDAD The U.S. military, in a major revision of strategy, has decided to limit the scope of its raids in Iraq after receiving warnings from Iraqi leaders that they were alienating the public, according to the top allied commander.
In its search for Baath Party operatives and other foes, the U.S. military has carried out large sweeps, some of which have rounded up hundreds of Iraqis.
But Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the chief commander of allied forces in Iraq, said in an interview Wednesday that the military had virtually exhausted the gains from this approach and that continuing it could be counterproductive.
"It was a fact that I started to get multiple indicators that maybe our iron-fisted approach to the conduct of ops was beginning to alienate Iraqis," Sanchez said, referring to military operations. "I started to get those sensings from multiple sources, all the way from the Governing Council down to average people."...
We screwed this up at the beginning. Carrots, sticks -- I don't know if anything's going to get the country on an even keel now.