Even the most diehard Iraq hawks want to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq and lean more heavily on Iraqi Security Forces to do the hard work of defeating insurgents and sectarian militias. Which is why recent developments in Basra have been so encouraging. At first, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's decision to confront Moqtada al-Sadr's Iranian-backed militas looked like a major strategic misstep. Now it appears to have transformed Iraqi politics, potentially paving the way for real reconciliation between Sunni and Shia.Bush was right,
President Bush says the Iraqi government's crackdown on Shiite militants in Basra is "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq."
"The decision to move troops, Iraqi troops, into Basra talks about Prime Minister Maliki's leadership," Bush tells reporters during a joint appearance with Australian premier Kevin Rudd.