i have little time only for this posts, so i am just giving a short warning:
take a VERY CLOSE look at news from Iraq these days.
there are plenty of signs, that the "iraqi offensive", which is nothing but inter-shii fighting is faltering. the extension on the deadline to surrender, was a very sure sign. as is the slow (NONE?) progress of the offensive and counter strikes by the sadrists. (they shouldn t be able to take over small towns)
the US can not allow Maliki to fail (especially if we agree with Juan Coles assessment, that Cheney gave the advice to attack..) so US forces wll continue to get involved MORE and MORE.
they are going to give air support (pretty bad, as it often hits the false targets in cities) use special forces (this is a lead element. if US special forces and iraqi troops achieve an objective together, teh iraqis did VERY LITTLE work...) and simply suppor with combat troops, as we see already in sadr city, Baghdad.
always remember: in combat operations, most iraqi units will rely MASSIVELY on US "advisors". (yup, tehse are the guys that were start into the vietnam war...)
calling in airstrikes is a difficult task, that will usually be performed by an ALO (air liassion officer) who will be added to iraqi units to cooperate with teh US air force.
most significant battles will be decided by these guys, who are not part of the iraqi force..