From USA Today
BAGHDAD — Bomb deaths have gone down 30% in Baghdad since the U.S.-led security crackdown began a month ago. Execution-style slayings are down by nearly half.
The once frequent sound of weapons has been reduced to episodic, and downtown shoppers have returned to outdoor markets — favored targets of car bombers.
There are signs of progress in the campaign to restore order in Iraq, starting with its capital city.
But while many Iraqis are encouraged, they remain skeptical how long the relative calm will last. Each bombing renews fears that the horror is returning. Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents are still around, perhaps just lying low or hiding outside the city until the operation is over.
U.S. military officials, burned before by overly optimistic forecasts, have been cautious about declaring the operation a success. Another reason it seems premature: only two of the five U.S. brigades earmarked for the mission are in the streets, and the full complement of American reinforcements is not due until late May. More....