I thank this writer for his service in 2003, and for finally admitting that death tolls are dropping in Iraq (for the fifth month in a row, I might add) but since he hasn't been there since 2003 and has no firsthand knowledge of the success and progress in Iraq since the surge, his long ass analysis really doesn't mean diddly.
Long and short of it, in this mans opinion, the decline is solely because al-Sadr is some sort of God and because he called a cease fire that is the only reason things are going so well.
That is the only reason the Iraqi citizens have turned against al-Qaeda.
That is the only reason the Iraqi citizens are lining up by the hundreds to join the fight against al-Qaeda.
That is the only reason the tribal leaders and uniting and working with the American soldiers.
That is the only reason the Iraqi's are declaring al-Qaeda defeated.
That is the only reason the businesses and shops are now bustling with people and are thriving.
That is the only reason 5 million school children have been able to go back to school.
That is the only reason that bottom up reconciliation is happening at such a rapid pace.
That is the only reason their is a decline in Iranian linked weapons being found in Iraq.
WOW. I wonder if this writer prays to Sadr every night. I mean, he talks about him as if he is the Supreme Being Himself.
None of the credit should go to our soldiers for their hard work in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
None of the credit should go to General Petraues implementing counterinsurgency strategies in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
None of the credit should go to the new tactics of clearing and hold which were changed from the old clear and move on, in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
None of the credit should go to the fact that our soldiers now live with the Iraqi's in the neighborhoods they have cleared and have won the hearts and minds, in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
None of the credit should go to the surge which has allowed the tribal sheiks the ability to fight back against al-Qaeda, in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
None of the credit belongs to the incursions Britain's SAS into Iran to stop the weapons from entering Iraq, in this mans opinion, even though he hasn't been there since 2003 personally.
OH, did I mention... this man hasn't been there since 2003?
I did...good, just making sure everyone understands that those that are there and have been since before the surge and since it began, are quite adamant that the surge has allowed for the majority of progress we have been seeing.
Then again, those that wished for failure in Iraq have to somehow backpedal and come up with excuses of why they were wrong and George Bush was right about the "surge".
CBS tells us how the "surge" has crippled al-Qaeda.
Now lets see what the men who are there, Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, and the man who is responsible for the formulation of general defense policy and policy related to all matters of direct concern to the Department of Defense, and for the execution of approved policy, Robert Gates, Defense Secretary, have to say:
Lieutenant General Ray Odierno says coalition casualties declined in October for the fifth consecutive month to 50 killed in action. He says attacks by the insurgents' deadliest weapons, hidden bombs, are also down. The general also says Iraqi civilian deaths declined for the fourth consecutive month to fewer than 1,000, but Iraqi government statistics reported Thursday indicate a slight increase from September to October.
Speaking later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the security improvements in Iraq are a direct result of the surge of U.S. forces earlier this year.
"It is due in the first instance to the surge, and then the consequences of the surge, and some of the things the surge has led to in al-Anbar and some of the areas around Baghdad at this point," he said.
General Odierno, speaking via satellite from Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon, the surge of U.S. forces earlier this year significantly degraded the ability of al-Qaida in Iraq and Shi'ite militants to carry out attacks.
At the same time, he reports, the Iraqi security forces have continued to improve their capability, and more Iraqis are cooperating with the government and the coalition, rather than with the militants. The general believes the United States will be able to end the surge as planned, reducing its troop presence by 25 percent within a year, without causing a resurgence of violence.
"I believe that we will be able to move forward with the progress, based on the progress we have made against the enemy, based on the continued improvement of the Iraqi security forces, and continued on the support of the population we are now receiving, I feel that we will be able to continue to hold on to the gains that we have," he said.
It looks like those who are there and "in the know" are quite aware of how much the "surge" with the new counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) has had the desired effect.
More, from someone who is actually there.
Good news continues to flow from Baghdad
• Northwest Baghdad has seen an 85% reduction in violence since
May of this year. Of 95 neighborhoods in the area, 58 of them are now
considered under control. Thirty-three remain in a clearing status, with
violence continuing to go down, and only four remain in a disrupted
• Murders are down from a peak of over 161 reported per week a
year ago to less than five per week now, and efforts to defeat sectarian
expansion continue to drive these numbers down.
• IED and small arms attacks are down from a peak of 50 per week
in June to less than five per week since the end of August. VBIED
attacks are down nearly 85% due to combined efforts to defeat the Karkh
VBIED and IED networks --which has had a tremendous impact on insurgents'
ability to instruct and employ those types of weapons effectively.
Source - Colonel JB Burton, commanding forces in Baghdad
The question then becomes, who is in a better position to be able to accurately attribute what our success and progress is from.. someone who hasn't been there since 2003 or people that are there now and have been since before the surge began?
Kind of a no brainer huh?
Others discussing this:
Little Green Footballs, politburo diktat 2.0, Hot Air, Sister Toldjah, Agence France Presse and BLACKFIVE