Monday, August 13, 2007
Iraq: Give our military their due...
The U.S. military is our best ambassador to the people of Iraq. Under General Petraeus the good news of the continued success of "the surge" is not only winning the support of the Iraqi people but also gaining currency in our media, and even in the Democratic Party. Demands for withdraw of our forces by the Dems and the conventional wisdom that Iraq is a lost cause are fading in the face of Petraeus' carefully executed strategy.
But now cries are magnifying in Washington of "Not enough!", bemoaning the lack of "political progress" as the Iraqi parliament has gone on vacation with seemingly little accomplished regarding the standards set by the arm chair generals in our nation's capital. To be sure, things could be much better on the Baghdad macro-political front. But on the all important micro-local level (what the media here in America likes to call the important grassroots level) much is happening and it is good.
The MSM and the Democrats are slowly changing their storyline of irrevocable failure in Iraq to accommodate the reality on the ground. Their vice-grip embrace on defeat in Iraq is loosening, not out of a change of heart regarding "Bush's War" but out of the political calculation of necessity. The tide is turning for the good in Iraq.
Here are some snippets from Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq:
"There may be little progress on political goals crafted in America, to meet American concerns, by politicians who have a cushion of 200 years of democracy. Washington might as well be on the moon. Iraqis don’t respond well to rules imposed from outside their acknowledged authorities, though I have many times seen Iraqi Police and Army of all ranks responding very well to American Marines and soldiers who they have come to respect, and in many cases actually admire and try to emulate.
“To say there has been no political progress in Iraq in 2007 is patently absurd, completely wrong and dangerously dismissive of the significant changes and improvements happening all across Iraq. Whether or not Americans are seeing it on the nightly news or reading it in their local papers, Iraqis are actively writing their children’s history.
1. Iraqis are uniting across sectarian lines to drive al Qaeda in all its disguises out of Iraq, and they are empowered by the success they are having, each one creating a ripple effect of active citizenship.
2. The Iraqi Army is much more capable now than they were in 2005. They are not ready to go it alone, but if we keep working, that day will come soon.
3. General Petraeus is running the show. Petraeus may well prove to be to counterinsurgency warfare what Patton was to tank battles with Rommel, or what Churchill was to the Nazis.
… Large numbers of Iraqis detested us after the prisoner abuse stories, and some over-the-top attacks on Fallujah, for example. But through time, somehow the American military has managed to establish a moral authority in Iraq. It’s not the only authority, but the military has serious and increasing moral clout. In the beginning, our influence flowed from guns, or dropped from the wings of jets. Later it was the money. Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to understate.”