American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commander of United States forces in Baghdad, also said that American troops had yet to clear some 13 percent of the city, including Sadr City and several other areas controlled by Shiite militias. But, he said, “there’s just no question” that violence had declined since a spike in June.
“Murder victims are down 80 percent from where they were at the peak,” and attacks involving improvised bombs are down 70 percent, he said.
The Corner points out why this is not on page one:
Obviously, this is not Page One material. That space is reserved for running down a full-employment economy (the Dow is apparently down to "only" thirteen thousand three hundred), a big picture of Rudy with that ol' Times fave Pat Robertson, the news that Bernie Kerik is about to be indicted, and cheers over a House vote in favor of "Broad Protections for Gay Workers."
Has someone told Pinch that the '08 election is next week?
Typical of our so called journalism today.
In the meantime I see some potent words for those that continue to close their eyes to the progress and pray that success will turn into failure, from an Iraqi.
I know those who are wedded to the idea of a failed Iraq are calling me a deluded idiot and worse. But things are improving slowly. My relatives in Baghdad say there's no comparison; things are much better than they were six months ago. They can visit friends in different areas and walk about the neighbourhood in the evening.
Frankly, I don't understand why so many mock us for wanting a future for Iraq. Is your hatred for George Bush so great that you prefer to see millions of civilians suffer just to prove him wrong?
It really comes down to this: you are determined to see Iraq become a permanent hellhole because you hate Bush. And we are determined to see Iraq become a success, because we want to live.
When you look into the mirror the next time, ask yourself if it is you he is speaking about.
This man and his family are the perfect examples of why we do what we do.......
I also see another news source finally acknowledge the tremendous success that is being seen in Iraq--- Spiegel Online:
First, there has been noticeable improvement on the Iraqi war front. Unless the Pentagon statistics Bush recited on Friday in a speech to soldiers at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, are made up, the new Iraq strategy appears to be working. The number of weekly bombing attacks on US troops has dropped by half, and the number of US military deaths is the lowest in a year and a half. At the same time, US forces are arresting or killing more than 1,500 terrorist "thugs," as Bush called them, each month. If the military successes continue, public opinion toward Bush and his Republicans could soon improve. Americans are not against war itself, they just don't like losing.
That story, from a media outlet that usually bashes Bush, is about how Bush is becoming stronger, not weaker and more popular.... guaranteed to make the blood pressure of every Bush hater rise.
There is a lot of work to be done in Iraq, and even more work to be done by the Iraqi politicians. A country needs to be rebuilt, reconstruction will be difficult and reconciliation has started but there is a long way to go there too.
Just because hard work is ahead though is no reason to ignore the work that has been done and the success and progress our wonderful troops, coalition and Iraqi Security forces have accomplished.
So, was Iraqi Pundit talking about you when he said:
Is your hatred for George Bush so great that you prefer to see millions of civilians suffer just to prove him wrong?
[Update] More good news that the NYT didn't see fit to print from MNF:
Iraqi Army, Volunteers, Cavalry Troops Celebrate Success in Ameriya
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, recently hosted a social gathering, including a cookout and soccer tournament, for Iraqi Army (IA) troops and a volunteer group from Ameriya, a neighborhood in the Mansour district of western Baghdad.
"Today is a chance for us to get together with our partners in Ameriya," said Huntsville, Ala., native Army Lt. Col. Dale Kuehl, commander of 1-5 Cav. His unit operates in Ameriya attached to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Those partners include 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Division IA, and the Forsan Al Rafadeen (FAR), which in Arabic means “Knights of the River”. FAR is a group of local volunteers who have come forward to work with security forces to provide safer conditions in Ameriya, Kuehl explained.
"Ameriya was a battlefield for most of the summer," Kuehl continued. "At this time, al-Qaida is defeated. We thought it was a good time to recognize that and get together and have a good time."
With three games in the morning, the soccer tournament was the main activity of the gathering. The 1-5 Cav. team played hard, but ended up being overtaken by both the IA team, 2-1, and the FAR team, 5-1. In the end, the FAR players were able to beat the IA team, 2-0.
While the round-robin tournament did have a competitive edge to it, most participants just seemed to want to have fun. "We came to enjoy ourselves and play a game, not to win," said IA Maj. Emad Kareen, commander of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, and their team coach. "Playing sports helps to build relationships in the field."
After the soccer tournament, trophies were handed out, and the Iraqis were then invited to the East Logistics Support Area mayor cell to join the cavalry troops in a cookout.
Being able to play a friendly game of soccer and eat steak and burgers with the Iraqis from Ameriya is quite a change from last year, when 1-5 Cav. was just getting here. "We just didn't have that close of a relationship with the community," Kuehl said. "Now we do, and I think that's a sign of progress not just for us, but for all of Baghdad."
One reason for this success in Ameriya seems to be the importance that 1-5 Cav. has placed on developing working relationships with the IA and the residents of Ameriya.
"Here, it's not so much how many doors you knock down, but how many neighbors you are able to end up with at the end of the day," said Bakersfield, Calif. native Army Command Sgt. Maj. Fidel Gomez, the unit's senior noncommissioned officer.
Much has changed in Ameriya since FAR volunteers began working with Coalition and Iraqi forces, Saad Abo Abid, the FAR commander said.
With enhanced security in the area, he said businesses are beginning to re-open, improving the economic future of the area.
Concerned Iraqi Citizens Help ‘Sledgehammer’ Brigade Smash Crime
Crime has been slashed by 50 percent in an area just outside Baghdad, thanks to Iraqi citizens partnering with Coalition soldiers who live among them, an American commander said yesterday.
“After seven months in the area of operation, the people know us, and they know who we are, and they know we’re here to help,” Army Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr. told online journalists and “bloggers” during a conference call from Iraq. “We do not drive or commute to work anymore. We live in the towns with the people that we are here to help.”
Grigsby commands 3rd Heavy “Sledgehammer” Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, which is on its third deployment to Iraq, this time patrolling the Madain Qada, an agrarian area southeast of Baghdad, as part of Multi-National Division-Center. Since they arrived in March, Hammer Soldiers have killed (113) insurgents and detained (364) others, including (15) “high value” targets, Grigsby said.
“The people know that when someone crosses the line against ‘the Hammer,’ we will come down on them hard,” he said. “They respect that; they see that; and they see that we are part of the solution.”
So far, Grigsby said, nearly (2,000) Iraqis, both Shiite and Sunni, have joined (17) Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) groups in the Madain Qada.
“We do not discriminate along sectarian lines when hunting destabilizing elements or recruiting allies,” Grigsby said. “It is very important to us that we ensure that all those wanting to participate come in with the right motivations and are committed like we are to stabilizing the area.”
With stability, the colonel explained, citizens of the Madain Qada can rebuild their lives and begin to thrive with assistance from a progressive local government.
“This is the grassroots government,” Grigsby said. “These Iraqis aren’t waiting for the national government; they’re acting locally, which we’re seeing every day.”
Keep up with the news yourself since the NYT and other media outlets won't do it for you.
[Update] All of the above and more makes this news even more insane on the part of the Democratic politicians.