Michael Yon writes from Baghdad:
American battalion commanders truly are operating like tribal leaders. I saw an American battalion commander, LTC Patrick Frank, in a meeting yesterday with 19 local Iraqi leaders. Often the Iraqis would break down into conversations among themselves, but each time the LTC Frank spoke, the room went silent. I have seen this repeated over and over and over in different areas of Iraq. Our battalion commanders are operating in a capacity of local leaders. They get serious respect. Even from enemies. (Perhaps especially from enemies, which clearly is part of the reason so many people are coming to the table.) The battalion commanders are the quarterbacks who are pulling this place together. Their words carry great clout.