Today’s United Press International headline: “Analysis: Victory beckons U.S. troops”. UPI’s Chief International Correspondent writes:
“Coalition forces were on the brink of a stunning military victory in the battle of Baghdad Wednesday, as U.S. troops drove forward from the southeast and southwest against slackening Iraqi resistance….
“A stunning victory now beckons for the U.S. forces that would silence the critics inside and outside the Pentagon and vindicate the battle plan of coalition commander Gen. Tommy Franks. The defeat of the [Republican Guard] outside Baghdad would deprive the city of its best-trained potential defenders. This could have a dramatic impact on the much-feared siege of the city with its grim prospects of high civilian and U.S. casualties in street fighting.”
UPI’s analysis emphasizes the question we have puzzled over for some time: Why did the Iraqi government station the Republican Guard so far south of Baghdad? Republican Guard units now face a choice between being killed where they stand, and being slaughtered on the road if they try to retreat toward Baghdad.
In any event, it is curious to see how rapidly our journalists move from despair to glee. The current mood is probably more realistic than the pessimism of day before yesterday, but I expect much more hard fighting before our “stunning military victory” is complete.
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