Hammered Steel, Continued

The scores of Iraqi soldiers, guardsmen and policemen murdered by terrorists in the two weeks after the National Assembly election are tragic. Yet while news agencies indulge in essays on violence that "simmers" and "flares" by thugs who apparently "remain on the offensive," the response of regular Iraqis belies any suggestion that this free nation is intimidated:

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 men arrived by foot, bus, and other vehicles by sun up Feb. 14, at an airfield outside an Iraqi Army base in an effort to join Iraq’s army, officials said. Of that, approximately 5,000 made it through a screening process that led them onto the base, which is home to several thousand Iraqi Soldiers and a contingent of U.S. service members, officials said. Most will be transferred to other bases in Iraq to supplement existing units.

The process was a result of the largest recruitment effort for the Iraqi Army to date, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Woodley of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.

We might expect to hear of a palpably swelling panic in Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh and the terrorists' scattered, dingy hostels as humanity's enemies realize that in their failure to cow the Iraqi people they have, through brutality and destruction, created a liberal vindicator that is strong, proud, and very, very angry at them.

Elsewhere, W. Thomas Smith, Jr. reports on the Iraqi Highway Patrol and expounds on how the country's traditions cut both ways.

LOOKING UP: Retired Army General Robert Scales was Brit Hume's guest on Special Report tonight, speaking about Iraqi security forces. He described the challenge of building a command structure that normally requires decades of experience and merit but was complimentary of Iraqis' performance on the field and swift adaptation to democratic military concepts. Are good things to come, asked Brit? "Absolutely!" was Scales' reply.

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