A hurricane smacks the Big Easy again. Back-to- back political conventions. A surprise VP pick. Russians behaving like Russians . . .
All too easy to miss the biggest story out of Iraq this year: Yesterday, security responsibility for once-bloody Anbar Province officially passed from the US military to the Baghdad government.
Fallujah. Ramadi. Al Qaeda's worst atrocities. Those opposed to the liberation of Iraq celebrated years of headlines from Anbar.
Then it all changed: We won - and the headlines vanished.
This year, Iraq received a special gift to kick off Ramadan, Islam's holy month of alternate fasts and feasts: The handover of a huge, economically resurgent, peaceful province.
More than 12,000 Marines have been withdrawn from Anbar. The remaining 25,000 US troops are packing up. That means more forces available for Afghanistan - and more time together for our military families.
The handover also means that 11 of Iraq's 18 provinces are now the responsibility of the country's long-derided security forces - with two more provinces scheduled to revert to full Iraqi control by year's end.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Ralph Peters in today's NY Post: