Backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters, Iraqi security forces on Monday began a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State extremist group, state TV said, a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large swath of territory in northern Iraq controlled by the militants.
This operation will, if successful, set up the Iraqi army for the much bigger fight to retake Mosul, an operation that is vastly more challenging and unlikely to proceed this spring as some had been predicting.
Al-Iraqiya television said that the forces were attacking Tikrit from different directions, backed by artillery and airstrikes by Iraqi fighter jets. It said the militants were dislodged from some areas outside the city, but gave no details.
In late 2001, when initial military operations in Afghanistan produced surprising successes, the opening skit on Saturday Night Live was a send-up of the daily press conference given by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Actor Darrell Hammond made a perfect Rummy, complete with rimless spectacles and prune-face squint. But the real target of the sketch was the inanity of the media.
“Mr. Secretary, do you plan to halt bombing during Ramadan?”
ISIS has made its greatest gains and won its most significant victories in Iraq’s Anbar province. This is where the offensive against ISIS is expected to begin, sometime in the next few months, with an attempt to retake the city of Mosul. But while preparations for that campaign are underway, ISIS remains on the offensive.
In 2013, NBC newsreader Brian Williams re-told the fake story of how his helicopter was shot down in Iraq. The story, which he passionately retells to David Letterman, begins about the 3 minute mark, with many details that we now know do not reflect reality:
Williams admitted today that indeed his helicopter was not shot down in Iraq. (He was in the follow-on chopper.)
American Sniper is easily the most authentic looking and sounding movie that Hollywood has made about American troops at war since Black Hawk Down.
You can tell within minutes of its beginning that the filmmakers cared to get the details right, that their military consultants weren’t the usual Vietnam veterans that the studios often turn to, and that Clint Eastwood and his team actually listened to what their advisers had say.
"So-called ‘sand movies,’ the term Hollywood sometimes uses for films set in Afghanistan and Iraq, have a terrible box office track record,” noted the New York Times. Or rather, they had a terrible box office track record. The release of American Sniper, a biopic about Iraq war veteran and legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has changed all that.
In last night's State of the Union, President Obama reiterated his call upon Congress to pass a new "AUMF" -- or Authorization for Use of Military Force -- against ISIS, rather than continuing to wage war pursuant to the original 2001 AUMF against al