It's another sign that things may actually be improving in Iraq. Readers know my evolution on this question over the years - and it has been rooted in an attempt not to let ideology or wishful thinking or my own pride get in the way of seeing reality. So it behooves me to note real progress there, progress that we should all hope is sustained, whatever sides we have been on and whoever we may support in this election. Pete Wehner notes:

The Sadr City military offensive is impressive, especially when executed on top of the success we’ve recently seen in Basra. (After a shaky start, for the first time the Iraqi government has pacified and restored government control there). The Sadr City offensive is doubly impressive when you consider that no American ground forces accompanied the Iraqi troops into there. While we shared intelligence, helped the Iraqi’s in planning the operation and provided overhead reconnaissance, it was “totally Iraqi planned, led and executed,” the U.S. military told the Washington Post.

The militias may well return; the October elections will be very instructive - and may impact the US election the next month. I wonder to what extent the knowledge that the US, under Obama or McCain, will be withdrawing troops in the near future has affected the urgency behind Maliki. But these are encouraging signs and should be better acknowledged and understood.