With that said, I do not hold them above soldiers in the Army, my mother served there, may she rest in peace, nor the Navy or the Air Force, my father and uncle served with them.... anybody that volunteers to serve, while we are at war or not, is a hero in my eyes.
When they join our armed forces, they understand that they are willingly offering up their lives to protect America.
Heroes, all of them.
In a must read article in the Wall Street Journal, we see news that isn't touted by our lame media that thrives on death tolls and refuses to report the news when the news coming from Iraq is good, and in fact, admits that they do not think the good news should be reported.
Here are some excerpts from the WSJ article, but I do suggest you go read the whole thing to get the big picture.
Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq?
The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.
These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead, and even those who believe that al Qaeda is crashing and burning in a death spiral on the Iraqi battlefields say that the surviving terrorists will still be able to kill coalition forces and Iraqis. But there is relative tranquility across vast areas of Iraq, even in places that had been all but given up for lost barely more than a year ago. It may well be that those who confidently declared the war definitively lost will have to reconsider.
Almost exactly 13 months ago, the top Marine intelligence officer in Iraq wrote that the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate unless an additional division was sent in, along with substantial economic aid. Today, Marine leaders are musing openly about clearing out of Anbar, not because it is a lost cause, but because we have defeated al Qaeda there.
In Fallujah, enlisted marines have complained to an officer of my acquaintance: "There's nobody to shoot here, sir. If it's just going to be building schools and hospitals, that's what the Army is for, isn't it?" Throughout the area, Sunni sheikhs have joined the Marines to drive out al Qaeda, and this template has spread to Diyala Province, and even to many neighborhoods in Baghdad itself, where Shiites are fighting their erstwhile heroes in the Mahdi Army.
British troops are on their way out of Basra, and it was widely expected that Iranian-backed Shiite militias would impose a brutal domination of the city, That hasn't happened. Lt. Col. Patrick Sanders, stationed near Basra, confirmed that violence in Basra has dropped precipitously in recent weeks. He gives most of the credit to the work of Iraqi soldiers and police.
The article goes on to show the political progress being made in Iraq as they quote an important Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim:
"Iraq does not belong to the Sunnis or the Shiites alone; nor does it belong to the Arabs or the Kurds and Turkomen.
Today, we must stand up and declare that Iraq is for all Iraqis."
The Turning Point:
The turnaround took place because we started to defeat the terrorists, at a time that roughly coincides with the surge. There is a tendency to treat the surge as a mere increase in numbers, but its most important component was the change in doctrine. Instead of keeping too many of our soldiers off the battlefield in remote and heavily fortified mega-bases, we put them into the field. Instead of reacting to the terrorists' initiatives, we went after them. No longer were we going to maintain the polite fiction that we were in Iraq to train the locals so that they could fight the war. Instead, we aggressively engaged our enemies. It was at that point that the Iraqi people placed their decisive bet.
Herschel Smith, of the blog Captain's Journal, puts it neatly in describing the events in Anbar: "There is no point in fighting forces (U.S. Marines) who will not be beaten and who will not go away." We were the stronger horse, and the Iraqis recognized it.
One of the last roadblocks: IRAN.
No doubt Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno know all this. It is, after all, their strategy that has produced the good news. Their reluctance to take credit for the defeat of al Qaeda and other terrorists in Iraq is due to the uncertain outcome of the big battle now being waged here at home. They, and our soldiers, fear that the political class in Washington may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They know that Iran and Syria still have a free shot at us across long borders, and Gen. Petraeus told Congress last month that it would not be possible to win in Iraq if our mission were restricted to that country.
Not a day goes by without one of our commanders shouting to the four winds that the Iranians are operating all over Iraq, and that virtually all the suicide terrorists are foreigners, sent in from Syria....
For now, much of this good news will continued to be ignored by our media and our Democratic politicians that hope if they ignore it, their supporters will too, but the Iraqi's have placed their bets and they are fighting beside us to take back their country.
As for Iran, this blog will address that issue another day, because they, alongside al-Qaeda are still a threat to Iraq.