Thousands of U.S. troops and Iraqi soldiers launched a major assault Thursday on militiamen loyal to a radical Shiite cleric in Najaf, with explosions and gunfire echoing around the holy city's revered Imam Ali shrine and its vast cemetery.It's tempting to say, as so many did during the early years of the Viet Nam war, that there is no way this militia can win. And, in perhaps strictly military terms, that may be true - although even that is no sure thing. But like the battles in Viet Nam, the goal was not necessarily military victory. In fact the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong won fairly few battles outright.
And yet, they are still there and the mighty US military is not. The battles were lost, but the war was won.
No matter how the battle for Najaf actually ends, that we have to fight it at all is, I fear, a sure sign that we've lost the war.