Last night I said I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Iraq offensive. From what I read and from people I talked to today, it seems the U.S. military is trying to get beyond the live-to-fight-again aspect of insurgency/guerrilla warfare by cordoning off the region they're attacking so the insurgents can't escape and turn up elsewhere in a few days or a week. They're doing it by trying to surround the area, and also going through neighborhoods and doing fingerprints and other biometric IDs on most residents, especially those they suspect of being insurgents. Reportedly they have about 100 local residents recruited to act as informants, though it's bound to be difficult to know which of these can be trusted. The operation is also complicated by the fact that unlkike in Fallujah, where the l0cal residents were warned and most of them left, in this offensive local residents are still there, though they've been asked/warned to stay in their homes. So the likelihood of innocent civilian casualties is pretty high.
It almost always takes several days for the outcome of a military operation to be really clear -- sometimes longer. First reports are likely to be incomplete at best, and are often inaccurate.