The entire spring of 2008 was effectively Iraq's equivalent to the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. We lost control of nearly half the country. It played a major role in defining Iraq war policy and strategy for the remainder of the conflict.
But American foreign policy is becoming increasingly subjected to popular opinion - which is easily manipulated by half-truths, undisclosed facts, and the general squalor of corporate media.
Ultimately, if the average citizen is going to have such a major role in defining the methods, nature, place, time and reasons for modern war-fighting policy, it's critical that they are knowledgeable of the facts and aware of major events. In other words, anybody who wants to participate in the dialogue surrounding foreign policy and voice an opinion on the matter has a responsibility to know what is going on.
I don't claim myself or expect people to know and understand everything, but knowing the "what" and "why" of major events like Sadr City are critical. Each one is part of a long, specific and complicated narrative that is unique to the conflict at hand, but with bigger-picture lessons that apply to future conflict management, strategy and policy.
Essentially, what I'm trying to say is that none of the past strikes in that country were the same. That perception is largely a symptom of short-hand and sensationalist journalism. Each one is important in its own right. Sadr City is important, as it marks a sort of final lesson in the greater discussion of Counterinsurgency, the role of our military in war, and the successes/failures of nation building abroad.
- Sgt. Konrad R.K. Ludwig, Ret.