Militia commanders captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0
Militia men captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0
Heavy weapons captured or surrendered at the end of US military operations at the Shrine of Ali in Najaf: 0
It appears to me that the forces of Muqtada al-Sadr were successfully extracted from encirclement by vastly superior forces. The Abizaid-Sanchez-Kimmitt line since Bremmer decided to arrest-or-assassinate al-Sadr and triggered the May-June shoot-out in Fallujah which is still the balance-of-forces issue, is that the Sadrist movement, reconstituted as an armed militia and operationalized as a defensive force in some urban areas, was using the local population as "human shields".
It appears to me that the thousands of marchers that accompanied Sayeed Ali Sistani from Basra to Najaf inserted themselves into the front edge of the battle area, after taking casualties from US forces or their Iraqi surrogates (Diwaniyyah group, Hilla group, Kufa group), forcing the abandonment of Paul Bremmer's policy (arrest or assassination) by the Alawi regime, and the Abizaid-Sanchez-Kimmitt policy (unlimited collateral damages in the execution of the Bremer policy).
[. . .]
The NeoCon reading is that taking an abandoned fixed point defended section of a city and some assault rifles and RPGs is a victory of American and Allied Arms. It wasn't. A whole bunch more regular Army and reservists got killed or wounded for several weeks of meaningless ballet around a contemporary Porkchop Hill. A lot of munitions, including 2,000 lbs "guided" bombs, were expended on graves and hotels, with the obvious "hearts and minds" consequences graveyard vandalism and civilian targeted aerial bombing always has.
[. . .]
Again, tell me why we're there? Oh yeah, I'll hear about it all week. Thank God I'm heading out of the country on Friday. These two weeks away from this crap will be refreshing.