In The Corner, Rich Lowry posts an anonymous account of a presentation given by one of the leaders of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division, just back from Iraq.
Taking it at face value, what I found most interesting was the following bit:
He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.This approach sounds very similar to the "Broken Windows" theory of policing, first propounded back in 1982 by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the Atlantic Monthly.
...His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.
It was later relied upon, famously and to great effect, by Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner William Bratton, in turning New York from a filthy high-crime embarrassment, into the clean, low-crime metropolis it is today.
It's no surprise to me that Iraqi cities are benefitting from the same policing tactics that worked in New York. Like they say: If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.