Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

Iraq

While the media has been focusing their energies rooting for civil war in Iraq, a couple of positive developments have gone largely unnoticed:
The violence has shifted away from American troops, who are suffering 60 percent fewer casualties this month than in the past year. and more towards Iraqi security forces and civilians. Part of this is because there are simply more Iraqi police and soldiers patrolling the streets and policing the neighborhoods. Where there are about two American advisors for every hundred Iraqi security troops, these Americans are there to advise, not fight. And the Iraqis are doing the fighting, and taking the casualties. American troops are still making raids and patrols, but there has also been a sharp decline in terrorist attacks. Some six months of sweeps and battles in western Iraq has shut down many of the Sunni terrorist sanctuaries.
W. Thomas Smith Jr. quotes US Army Brig. Gen. Dan Bolger, the commanding general of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq:
"I can assure you that the Iraqi Army continues to go out day and night across the country. They fight and they stay at it. Tonight [nearly 6:00 pm Baghdad time] as I write this almost 50 Iraqi battalions run their own areas, and cooperation with the people has been terrific.

"The average Iraqis have had it with the foreign terrorists and the home-grown criminals. They have fought back by providing information, by guiding Iraqi Soldiers and Police, and in some cases with their own weapons. Moreover, they will not be intimidated from going to work, school, and worship. Iraqis choose to gather freely, to debate openly, and to go about their daily routines, the greatest rebuke of all to these terrorists.

"I say this based on my own experiences out and about with Iraqi forces. The enemy used to attack us--that has gotten too dangerous. They used to hit Iraqi military and Police--now that is too hard. So they are now killing innocent civilians, including old folks, women, and children. This recent surge is a mark of desperation, I think.

"The summer Soldiers and sunshine patriots may shrink from the fight, but the many, many good people--ours and Iraqis, the vast majority--are hanging in there to see this through. And we will."
Greyhawk links to a few more reports concerning recent developments in Iraq and concludes:
The common thread? You've just read reports from Iraqis who are more than tired of those who would bring violence to their country - and they know who those people are.
Ralph Peters deconstructs media created myths about the current situation in Iraq. He is 'soberly hopeful' about our chances for success:
During a recent visit to Baghdad, I saw an enormous failure. On the part of our media. The reality in the streets, day after day, bore little resemblance to the sensational claims of civil war and disaster in the headlines.

No one with first-hand experience of Iraq would claim the country's in rosy condition, but the situation on the ground is considerably more promising than the American public has been led to believe. Lurid exaggerations and instant myths obscure real, if difficult, progress.

I left Baghdad more optimistic than I was before this visit. While cynicism, political bias and the pressure of a 24/7 news cycle accelerate a race to the bottom in reporting, there are good reasons to be soberly hopeful about Iraq's future.

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