In Iraq

Six killed in attack in Diyala province. What appears to have happened is that with surge forces concentrated in Baghdad and Anbar province, the insurgents eventually regrouped and relocated to Diyala and Ninawa provinces where we’re now seeing an uptick in violence. This might nonetheless be big progress except for the fact that we need to de-surge soon, so the odds seem very good that the insurgency will re-spread as we try to return to a sustainable posture. Meanwhile, Thomas Ricks and Karen DeYoung report that “U.S. military and diplomatic officials have begun their own quiet policy shift. After countless unsuccessful efforts to push Iraqis toward various political, economic and security goals, they have decided to let the Iraqis figure some things out themselves.”

This, I think, is what’s technically known as failing and giving up and then pretending that failing and giving up are part of a brilliant new strategy. On top of that, via Spencer Ackerman I see the Defense Department growing increasingly desperate in its spin: “Recent terrorist attacks on Iraqi concerned citizens groups indicate al Qaeda in Iraq’s increasing desperation.”

I got one of my early big breaks as a blogger back when Segio Vieira de Mello was killed in an early insurgent attack on a UN building. The rightwing spin was that this showed the insurgency was getting desperate. I said that was dumb. Josh Marshall linked to me. And that was in the summer of 2003. Over forty months later it’s unbelievable that we’re still hearing this inane line.