At the beginning of the month, the Iraqi police captured almost 9,000 pieces of ordinance, thus preventing more than 200 possible vehicle-borne-improvised-explosive-device attacks:
Through the help of local Iraqi citizens looking out for the safety and well being of their community, the police received information on the location of the cache.
"The Iraqi Police are 100 percent responsible for finding this cache," said Staff Sgt. Robert Fertal, 26, platoon sergeant with 2nd. Plt., Co. E. "Their hard work and sacrifice has created an environment where Iraqi nationals freely offer information. This information has led to several smaller caches and explosive remnants of war (ERW) finds, as well as the large one." . . .
"This find demonstrates the post PIC (Provincial Iraqi Control) capabilities of an Iraqi Police force in the lead, using its own intelligence to take the fight to the enemy by depriving him of a significant supply of ammunition," said Lt. Col. Steven J. Grass, the battalion commander of TF 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines. "It was a big win."
Didn’t see that reported by the MSM, did you?
Washington Post’s Peter Carlson starts off by telling us how great it is in Ramadi. I mean, how really, really great it is:
When David J. Morris returned to Ramadi in October, he was mobbed by Iraqis. But this time they weren’t trying to kill him, they were trying to sell him bars of Dove soap.
Street vendors in Ramadi? It blew his mind. For years, Ramadi vied with Fallujah as the toughest, deadliest hellhole in Iraq and now, Morris writes in a brilliant piece in the Virginia Quarterly Review, you can walk the streets like a tourist, fearing only "the platoons of vendors assaulting you."
Of course, Carlson’s real purpose for the entire article is to praise a fellow journalist and direct readers to peruse the Virginia Quarterly Review. He even goes as far to try and question the "surge" (scare quotes included):
The Bush administration and its supporters tout the turnaround of Ramadi as proof that the "surge" is working. Antiwar critics wonder how long the sheiks will remain friendly.
Still, you can’t come away from the article without feeling that things are going well in Iraq. And the thoughtful reader will know that whatever the reason, it certainly isn’t due to Democrat’s forced withdrawal deadlines.
Holy cow, the situation must actually be proving in Iraq because even the Associated Press admits that the first signs of hope are appearing in Iraq:
Thousands of Iraqis who fled the country are now returning. Areas of Baghdad that were ghost towns only a few months ago are reviving. Shoppers stroll the streets with their children.
"I think next year will be better because the situation is improving every day," said Firas Adel, a Shiite clothing merchant. "More people are returning to their homes and businesses. There is sense of safety and stability, and this will boost the economy."
The AP article even credits success to President’s Bush’s decision to implement the surge. How times have changed!
Changing times indeed in Iraq, as the NY Sun reports the other Iraqi surge:
According to the not-quite-closed record book for 2007, Iraqi sovereign bonds, the Iraqi currency, and the Iraqi stock market have each logged astounding, not to mention politically provocative, gains.
General Petraeus penned a letter (reproduced in totality by the IBD) that was distributed to the men and women under his command. In it he congratulates them for their successes and cautions that the fight will continue to be one fought on a daily basis for some time.
In places like Ramadi, Baqubah, Arab Jabour and Baghdad, you and our Iraqi brothers fought — often house by house, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood — to wrest sanctuaries away from al-Qaida-Iraq, to disrupt extremist militia elements and to rid the streets of mafialike criminals.
Having cleared areas, you worked with Iraqis to retain them — establishing outposts in the areas we were securing, developing Iraqi security forces and empowering locals to help our efforts. . . .
As you and your Iraqi partners turn concepts into reality, additional progress will emerge slowly and fitfully. Over time, we will gradually see fewer bad days and accumulate more good days, good weeks and good months.
Oliver North tells us that we should be thankful for the Christmas present that our fighting troops have delivered to us:
So, your Christmas present — the triumph we now witness in Iraq — is not quite finished, but the troops are sending it to you anyway. This country’s neighbors are less than enthusiastic about a democracy next door. We have seen the sophisticated IEDs and rockets that Iran builds and sends into Iraq to kill and maim. Though Iraqi oil production now exceeds pre-2003 levels, the democratically elected government in Baghdad isn’t doing enough to rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure. From the ground up, this country is being transformed more rapidly than anyone believed possible and America is gaining a new ally in the struggle against radical Islamic terror.
Is North’s assessment accurate? Will democracy prevail in Iraq? To answer that, I offer an article penned by one in academia:
For the past two years, I have taught a course on the Iraq war — first at the graduate level at The New School university in New York, and now at the undergraduate level at my new home at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. . . .
And while my students are usually skeptical about the prospects of success, my own view is more positive: Iraqi democracy is on the right track. As it continues to develop in the decades to come, George W. Bush’s war will be vindicated.
I highly recommend the analysis that the professor goes on to lay out.
As for the soldiers that are fighting "Bush’s war", some will soon have two bowling lanes laid out on Iraqi sands:
Doyle Claxton owns United Bowling Center in Yulee. "We were approached a couple months ago by email by a soldier in Iraq and he asked us how he could get some bowling lanes."
Not only is Claxton sending two lanes to Iraq from his warehouse, he’s doing it for free.
"When I heard they were going to put plywood on the sand to bowl, it broke my heart."
As for me this Christmas season, I am proud of my country for deposing a bloodthirsty tyrant, and grateful for the men and women who volunteer to give their all for their country. I’m also more than a little pleased that people like Doyle Claxton exist, taking the time to bring a little bit of home to those so far away during this time of year, usually reserved for families.
Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard points out that the 2007 Man of the Year should have been General David Petraeus.
Time ludicrously chose to make Russia’s ex-KGB agent-turned president Vladimir Putin its cover boy. They just couldn’t make Petraeus man–oops–person of the year. Our liberal elites are so invested in a narrative of defeat and disaster in Iraq that to acknowledge the prospect of victory would be too head-wrenching and heart-rending. It would mean giving credit to George W. Bush, for one. And it would mean acknowledging American success in a war Time, and the Democratic party, and the liberal elites, had proclaimed lost. . . .
The reality is also this: The counterinsurgency campaign that Petraeus and Odierno conceived and executed in 2007 was as comprehensive a counterinsurgency strategy as has ever been executed. The heart of the strategy was a brilliant series of coordinated military operations throughout the entire theater. Petraeus and Odierno used conventional U.S. forces, Iraqi military and police, and Iraqi and U.S. Special Operations forces to strike enemy strongholds throughout Iraq simultaneously, while also working to protect the local populations from enemy responses. Successive operations across the theater knocked the enemy–both al Qaeda and Sunni militias, and Shia extremists–off balance and then prevented them from recovering. U.S. and Iraqi forces, supported by local citizens, chased the enemy from area to area, never allowing them the breathing space to reestablish safe havens, much less new bases. It wasn’t "whack-a-mole" or "squeezing the water balloon" as some feared (and initially claimed)–it was the relentless pursuit of an increasingly defeated enemy.
The latest proof of progress in Iraq comes from al Qaeda itself:
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq called on militants in a new audiotape Saturday to kill Sunnis who have joined forces with the U.S. to battle extremists in the war-torn country.
When Muslims call on Muslims to kill Muslims and not readily available Americans, you know things have changed.
And by the way, the radical terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq has posted a confirmation of Abu Maysara’s death on their web site. Maysara is just one of the nine senior al Qaeda members that the US military killed in Iraq during November.
Finally in today’s news from Iraq, Christians are returning to celebrate Christmas in a section of Baghdad that was recently a self-declared al-Qaeda caliphate.
Now, in a significant success for the US troop surge, al-Qaeda has been rooted out of Doura and the hundreds of Christian families who left the area are returning. On Christmas Day, they will congregate in battle-scarred St Mary’s Church, where part of the crucifix on its tower is still missing after being shot at by terrorists. . . .
Major Kirk Luedeke, a spokesman for the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division, confirmed that Christian families were returning. "What is more important is that the Muslim tribal leaders are openly showing support for their Christian neighbours," he added.
As time goes on, tales like this will become the norm. And in turn, Iraq will become every bit a symbol of progress and freedom in the Middle East as is Israel.
It may have taken Bush three long years to find his general, but find him he did. And Petraeus is indeed the 2007 Man of the Year. No matter what Time says.
Mona Charen writing at NRO tells us about Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian political pundit that argues for America in the Middle East media. She includes a few quotes from a debate he participated in on Al Jazeera. When the moderator stated that the US was only interested in stopping the genocide taking place in Dufar because of the oil, Khalil responds:
That’s all nonsense. That deceiving propaganda is all around you — oil and all that. Do you know how much was spent on Iraq? Even if America were to take Iraq’s oil for the next 200 years, it would not compensate for what it has spent on Iraq. You are used to spreading delusions, lies and deceiving propaganda. Give us one example when you supported human rights in any country?
Liberals often like to say that "violence is senseless."
Violence isn’t senseless. Senseless violence is senseless. And I should know. Before being awarded the Navy Cross and having the privilege of becoming a Marine, I was a gang member. Sometimes it takes having used violence for both evil as well as good to know that there’s a profound moral difference between the two.
Read it all, straight through to the money quote.
Fredrick Kagan writes about the tide turning in Iraq and GW’s visit today, calling it the Gettysburg of This War:
Instead of flying into Baghdad and surrounding himself with his generals and the Iraqi government, Bush flew to al Asad airfield, west of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. He brought with him his secretaries of State and Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the commander of U.S. Central Command. He was met at al Asad by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kemal al Maliki, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and Vice Presidents Adel Abdul Mehdi and Tariq al Hashemi. In other words, Bush called together all of the leading political and military figures in his administration and the Iraqi government in the heart of Anbar Province. If ever there was a sign that we have turned a corner in the fight against both al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency, this was it.
In writing this article, Kagan hints at a comparison between Lincoln and GW Bush. Given that our nation is bitterly divided, as it was during the civil war, and given the number of souls freed by each man, the comparison may be more apt than most will admit.
One of the truly reasonable, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, says the surge is working:
Thanks to Gen. David Petraeus’s new counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, and the strength and skill of the American soldiers fighting there, al Qaeda in Iraq is now being routed from its former strongholds in Anbar and Diyala provinces. Many of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs, meanwhile, are uniting with us against al Qaeda, alienated by the barbarism and brutality of their erstwhile allies.
As Gen. Petraeus recently said of al Qaeda in Iraq: “We have them off plan.“
Even oft-barking moonbat Sen. Levin joins with Sen. John Warner in praising the surge upon their return from a fact-finding mission in Iraq:
“We have seen indications that the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results — in al-Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against Al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents,” the two said in a statement issued after leaving the country.
But don’t look for the left to embrace this viewpoint. Or even to acknowledge it.
CBS is “framing the argument” against Gen. Petraeus, and the UK Times boldly prints a Democrat think tank quote in the headline, calling him ‘General Betraeus’.
Meanwhile a Reuters headline scream, U.S. foreign policy experts oppose Bush’s surge and we are told:
More than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush’s troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey.
Upon closer inspection, we see that the “survey” was conducted by the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine. For the uninitiated, CAP is the brainchild of socialist George Soros and Clintonista John Podesta. And Foreign Policy magazine is financed by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, another lefty think tank that maintains offices in Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, Moscow and Washington and was once headed up by Soviet spy Alger Hiss.
Finally, courtesy of the limousine liberals of Hollywood, will be a deluge of propaganda aimed at the American voter:
Encouraged by widespread opposition to the conflict in Iraq, Hollywood filmmakers are preparing to unleash an unprecedented wave of war movies on cinemagoers.
That should, of course, read “wave of anti-war movies”.
So to counter the left, please go read The Surge in Action. Money quote:
“People ask me, ‘Is the surge working?’,” Colonel Wayne Grigsby, 3rd Brigade commander, said to me. “And I say, ‘How can it not be?’ We’re in these areas that no soldiers have been for months and years, we’ve got al Qaeda , JAM , and JAI discombobulated, and we’re showing the people there–people who might not have seen an American soldier in years–a sustained presence, catching bad guys, building checkpoints, and making life safer for them.”
“Again, I say, ‘How can it not be working?'”
Precursor to the Terminator series? Who’s to say? But what was once saving lives as a bomb disposal robot has been retooled to carry weapons for combat. Pictured is a SWORDS* bot, 3 of which have been deployed to Iraq. None have fired a shot to date, but expect that to change.
They are designed to be used in high-risk situations, like scouting narrow streets infested with snipers before a foot patrol is sent in. Major Saitta, a consultant for the program, nails it when he says:
Anytime you utilize technology to take a U.S. service member out of harm’s way, it is worth every penny.
Although these metal soldiers were ready to go in 2004, they had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. As this isn’t exactly desirable during a firefight, they were kept at home while work continued. But now, according to Danger Room:
So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety. In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds — a significant lag during combat. Now, the SWORDS won’t act on a command, unless it’s received right away. A three-part arming process — with both physical and electronic safeties — is required before firing. Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there’s any odd behavior. “So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy,” Zecca says.
* special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system