Operation Swarmer, the biggest U.S. offensive since the fall of Baghdad, was the second story on the two news broadcasts I watched last night. Jay Leno joked that the operation will go on until the president’s poll numbers come up. (In fairness, ABC, which has recently had a brush with reality in Iraq, noted the increased participation of Iraqis in Swarmer.)

Such is the MSM’s mixed but mostly negative reaction to one of the most important stories of the day. Military expert Ralph Peters has a different take:

“You’ll hear reflexive complaints that the need for a new offensive suggests some sort of failure, but the contrary is true. This current strike has been enabled by a dramatic increase in tip-offs from Iraqis sick of the killers in their midst, by improved U.S. intelligence operations – and by the maturing capabilities of the Iraqi military.”
Peters also brings his expertise to bear on the favorite bit of MSM conventional wisdom: Iraq turning into a civil war. Not so, argues Peters:

“Think of it as the Mafia shooting it out with the Ku Klux Klan and the IRA. With automatic weapons and car bombs.

“Some of the violent factions – notably the foreign terrorists – are driven by a demented religious vision. Others, such as the Sunni insurgents, fight for turf. Shia militias seek political power. And every faction employs Iraq’s criminal element to do its dirty-work. The gangs are now at each other’s throats. A lot of those bodies turning up aren’t innocent democrats. Many are thugs who enraged other thugs.

“The gangs are now at each other’s throats. A lot of those bodies turning up aren’t innocent democrats. Many are thugs who en Many Iraqi politicians can’t see past their personal or party interests to the national interest (sound familiar?). And Saddam – not the Coalition – left the country in a physical and moral shambles….

“So let me share my greatest fear. It’s not the terrorists. Or that we’ll bail out on the Iraqis – I don’t think we will. It’s that we may not be planning adequately for the possibility (not probability) that Iraq may fail to congeal as a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional democracy.

“The gangs can’t win, but Iraq’s leaders could fail.

“Laying down a bet today, I’d wager on the Iraqis muddling through to a reasonable, if flawed, success. My concern is that our civilian leadership, which refused to plan adequately for the aftermath of war, now may be failing to plan for all potential outcomes.

“Iraq doesn’t need a Grant or Sherman. It needs an Elliot Ness. On steroids.”