At least eight American soldiers died yesterday in what appears to be the deadliest day in fighting in many months. The attacks showed the ability of insurgents to strike in the heart of the heavily fortified cap[ital as welll as in the restive Diyala province. The suicide bomber hit the soldiers after they had left their Humvees and were chatting with shop owners. While face-to-face contact builds good-will, it also gives suicide bombers, who often slip past security gurard checkpoints by walking, better access to striking at soldiers.
There is no question deaths are down significantly in the past few months due to a combination of the surge, a cease-fire by radical Shiite cleric Muqutada al-Sadr, and the role of former Sunni militants and tribal groups who have switched sides to join the fight against al-Qaida. However, this is a fragile alliance which might well collapse if American troops withdraw from Iraq. An ongoing problem is failure on the part of the Iraq government to create a true alliance and become a force of unity and reconstruction. Until the Iraq government assumes leadership everything depends on an alliance which is centered in the presence of 160,000 US troops.
The Bush administration insists the surge has worked. Has it?