Left and right alike are trying to explain this (from the LA Times, no link because obnoxious registration is required):
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration will delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.Seems to me we heard something like this just before U.S.-Iraqi forces went into Samarra and seriously kicked butt. It's called disinformation. I wouldn't be surprised if that's what's at work here.
Although American commanders in Iraq have been buoyed by recent successes in insurgent-held towns such as Samarra and Tall Afar, administration and Pentagon officials say they will not try to retake cities such as Fallujah and Ramadi -- where insurgents' grip is strongest and U.S. military casualties could be the greatest -- until after Americans vote in what is likely to be a close election.
"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive."
I told you so. Here's the AP story, via Yahoo! News:
U.S. Steps Up Attacks on Iraq InsurgentsAnd there's more, in the story and on the ground in Iraq.
By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. forces stepped up operations Tuesday across a wide swath of the Sunni insurgent strongholds northwest of the capital, pounding targets in two cities from the air and supporting Iraqi troops in raids on mosques suspected of harboring insurgents....