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When liberals thought it was politically expedient to declare Iraq lost, that was what they did. Liberal after liberal after liberal told us that we could not win in Iraq, that the surge was a waste of time, and that we should leave ASAP.

For example, there’s Time’s Joe Klein. Klein, like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, supported the war in Iraq initially — when it was politically popular — and then changed his position later when the political winds blew the other way.

By January of 2007 Klein was in full “cut and run mode” and writing things like this,

“Pelosi’s right, though: it’s too late for a surge. Instead of putting all its brainpower into surging, the military should be focusing on how to get our conventional forces out (and leave our unconventional forces in the neighborhood) in a way that prevents an all-out regional conflict.”

For the record, I’m outraged Bush is ignoring the election results and the reality on the ground in Iraq. I think he is sending more young American lives into an impossible situation.

Now, here’s Joe Klein yesterday at Time’s Swampland blog,

The reality is that neither Barack Obama nor Nouri al-Maliki nor most anybody else believes that the Iraq war can be “lost” at this point. The reality is that no matter who is elected President, we are looking at a residual U.S. force of 30-50,000 by 2011 (a year ahead of the previous schedule).

So initially, it was “too late” for a surge and the situation was “impossible,” so we needed to leave as quickly as possible. Now, it’s impossible to lose, so we need to leave as quickly as possible.

Incidentally, this is exactly the same line of reasoning that Barack Obama has been using. He opposed the surge and believed we should leave Iraq in 16 months because the situation was unwinnable. Now, his new line is that we should leave in 16 months because things are going so well that they won’t need us — and ironically, Klein’s post yesterday was sharply critical of John McCain for having the chutzpah to tell the truth about Barack Obama.

This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

If anything, McCain’s comments were too limited because they apply just as aptly to Klein and most of the other big name political pundits on the Left, who have consistently and soullessly been putting politics ahead of the good of their country and winning the war in Iraq for years.

PS: I would be thrilled if we actually could have 30,000-50,000 troops in Iraq by 2001, but that’s a decision that should be made after consultation with our generals, based on the situation on the ground, not a decision that should be made based on political calculations designed to move votes for the 2008 election.

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As things have steadily improved in Iraq, cough, cough, coincidentally, cough, cough, the press has steadily gotten less interested in reporting what’s happening. Take a look at the numbers,

“The number of embedded reporters in Iraq has plummeted 74 percent over the past nine months, from 219 in September 2007 to a low of 58 in June, as U.S. troop casualties have plunged, according to Department Of Defense data analysis by CNSNews.com Staff Writer Kevin Mooney. U.S. casualties were down 84 percent in May and 75 percent in June from year-ago numbers, for example.

The number of embedded reporters peaked in September 2007, the month Gen. David Petraeus testified in Congress that the surge strategy was working and that violence was decreasing in the country. Immediately following Gen. Petraeus’ testimony came the largest single-month drop off in embedded reporters in October — from 219 to 78.”

The liberals in the mainstream media fell all over themselves reporting bad news from Iraq, but now that the news has improved, they’re not so interested.

Now, some people will justify that by saying, “if it bleeds, it leads,” but that’s just not good enough in this case. By over-covering the bad news and then largely ignoring the good news, the media has left a lot of Americans with a false impression — which is just the way the MSM likes it.

If they actually gave the improvement in Iraq the attention it deserves, the American people might recall that George Bush, John McCain, and the GOP largely supported the surge while the Left, including Barack Obama, almost universally said it wouldn’t work.

The MSM can’t have that and thus, they’ve suddenly become as uninterested in reporting what’s happening today as they were interested in reporting every negative detail when things weren’t going as well.

PS: Barack Obama has no experience and is therefore running on his judgment. The fact that his judgment was so far off the mark about the surge really should create a lot of doubt about his competence to lead the country because after all, if he has no experience and has no judgment, what makes him fit to be President?

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(RWN) – McCain wants to start the surge too early, Wesley Clark gets his facts wrong and also claims the Saudis had a hand in calming the violence – the surge has become a bit of a political football in this not yet official presidential contest.

So let’s discuss this as rationally as possible. Yes, the Anbar Awakening had some effect on calming the violence – in Anbar. That’s 1 of 18 provinces and it was something which was growing within Anbar as we began surging our troops. But it hadn’t grown anywhere else at that time. Read Michael Yon about that awakening. I remember talking with him during an interview on WRKO’s Pundit Review Radio and while he thought, at the time, that it was a great thing, it still was quite small and the violence in Iraq still very high.

I remember talking to MG Rick Lynch (Commanding General of the 3rd ID) not long after the surge’s second phase had begun. The most memorable thing he said was that when he and his troops pushed into an area or neighborhood and contacted the local authorities, the first thing they asked, without exception, is “are you going to stay?”

Once answered in the affirmative, he said the local intelligence and cooperation multiplied exponentially. That is how the “awakening” spread.

A good example of that is Baquba, the provincial capital of Diyala province (NE of Baghdad). It was a place almost untouched by US forces and a mixed area of sunni, shia and kurds. The entire town was wired to explode. Yet, and this again comes from Yon, our forces carefully took the town, drove out AQ and convinced the insurgents (the 1920 Brigade) that it was in their best interest to join the side of the US and Iraqi Government.

I remember an incident talked about by Michael Yon where one of the leaders of the 1920s Brigades told the US leader there that all they wanted was the US to leave. The US leader told the insurgent leader that he and his soldiers wanted nothing more than to do exactly that. Yon says it then dawned on the insurgent leader that cooperation was the best way to accomplish that. Also understood by this insurgent leader is we weren’t going to go away and try as he might, he wasn’t going to be able to drive us off.

You don’t know how key that is to the success we’ve begun to enjoy in Iraq.

Al Sadr, somewhere in this time frame, also agreed to a stand down of his Mahdi army. Some would like to attribute that to graciousness on the part of al Sadr. But as we’ve seen subsequently, when he did let them loose, it was a tactical decision driven by the fact that he wasn’t ready and didn’t have the assets he needed to directly confront the US. And he also figured that we might instead withdraw.
He was no more ready for the surge of troops than was AQI. Consequently he played the “patriot” by withholding his militia officially while the militia’s “special groups” continued to attack us. Would his militia’s presence have complicated the surge? Of course. But as we’ve seen since, it was a very ragtag lot which were pretty easily defeated in both Basra and Baghdad.

All of this to say the intent of the Democrats is to play down the significance of the surge. They want you to believe that the Anbar awakening was well established and spreading like wildfire and that once al Sadr stood down his militia, that surge, in essence, was unnecessary.

Clark even goes so far as to claim no troops were surged into Anbar. That’s flat wrong. 2 additional Marine battalions were surged into that place because it was still hot.

Had the surge not taken place it is entirely possible that the Anbar Awakening would never have spread outside that province. That’s because Baquba was the new “capital” of AQI and would have remained as such. Given the tactics of AQI, there is little doubt a concerted effort would have been made by them to decapitate the awakening leadership in Anbar as a lesson. Had the surge not taken place, the outlying rings of Baghdad would have continued to see car and truck bombs built at will and used in the capital to continue to fan the flames of sectarian violence. AQI forces would have remained positioned to continue to attack, kill, destroy and encourage more violence. Had the surge not taken place, al Sadr would have had no reason to stand down or restrain his militia.

And this talk, as I’ve heard from Obama, that the surge was about “tactics” is a load of dung as well. The surge was an integral part of a change in strategy. To ignore the fact that we switched our strategy to counterinsurgency warfare is to demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge about the operation.

When all is said and done, yes, the awakening was an important development and the stand down of the Mahdi army helped delay an inevitable confrontation (since resolved, btw) and made the surge less complicated, but the fact remains that the major reason that Iraq is in the shape it is today is the surge.

The surge insured and helped spread the Anbar Awakening. The fact that we promised to stay made it easy for tribal leaders in other provinces to cooperate with us. The fact that we surged 30,000 troops into Iraq made it pretty much a no-brainer, in a tactical sense, for al Sadr to stand his motley crew down. And while we’re at it, it also allowed the time necessary to continue the training of the ISF to the point that they were recently able to mount successful major operations in Basra and more recently, Baghdad’s Sadr City.

So don’t let the Democrats rewrite history on this one. They were wrong about opposing it and that is what they’re trying so hard to duck. When all is said and done, it was the decision to change strategy and surge troops into Iraq to implement that strategy which played the major role in defeating AQI, turning the rest of the insurgents into allies and driving the Mahdi army off the battlefield, at least temporarily (and later permanently).

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