Custom Search

Monday, December 18, 2006

Progress in Ramadi, Iraq

Oliver North is on his 8th trip to Iraq, and has an article in the Washington times, called "Winning the war". Another article guaranteed to make heads explode across the blogosphere on the far left blogs.


"We're here to win." That's how a U.S. Marine corporal put it when I asked him what he was doing in Iraq. He spoke looking squarely into our TV camera -- a more intimidating experience for him than the rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire he had just faced on the streets of this beleaguered city. When I pressed this 20-year-old from America's heartland to tell me what "winning" meant to him, he was straightforward: "That's when these people don't need me to guard this street so their kids can go to school -- when they can do it themselves."

A brave thing to say and the bottomline to these brave soldiers. To get the Iraqi's to stand and secure their own territory. Not easy, but only when these provinces are stable can a political solution actually work.

Col. Jurney told the police if they would man a new security substation in the same block as the school, his Marines would "back-stop" the cops. Despite murderous threats from al Qaeda thugs, the police agreed. Aided by U.S. Navy Seabees, soldiers of the "Ready First" Combat Brigade of the 1st Armored Division and the Marines of 1/6, a police substation was constructed, literally overnight, in an abandoned building.

When the terror cell that had ruled this neighborhood for months attacked the new Iraqi police post, their battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jabbar Inad al Namrawee, led an all-Iraqi QRF -- quick reaction force -- into the battle. In the ensuing gunfight, Col. Jabbar was shot through the calf by an AK-47-wielding terrorist. By the time the battle was done, more than a dozen terrorists were dead and the police -- who call themselves "The sons of al Anbar" -- earned new respect from Ramadi's war-weary civilians.

Slowly, too slow for some, but surely, one step at a time, they ARE stepping up to the plate and taking control of their neighborhoods. They are fighting for democracy. They are winning.

Opening police stations and girls' schools on the mean streets of Ramadi may not seem great victories to the critics of this war. But they are precisely the kind of events that need to happen countless times for the U.S. to claim victory in Iraq. Maj. Scott Kish, who leads the Civil Affairs Group attached to 1st Battalion 6th Marines, notes that these actions "spawn success" because they "encourage Iraqis to take charge of their own destiny."

We can all sit on our butts at home and watch television and base our opinions on what we see there, but these soldiers are basing their opinions on "experience", tough, hard, long and tiring I am sure.... but they are winning in their eyes. Who are we to tell them differently when most of us haven't stepped foot on Iraq soil?

Despite reports in the U.S. media to the contrary -- the week we arrived in Ramadi a headline in The Washington Post blared, "Anbar picture grows clearer, and bleaker" -- the war here is being won. A predominantly Shia Army and the Sunni police now man a Joint Coordination Center with their U.S. Army and Marine counterparts. Terrorists who once engaged in hours-long gunfights with U.S. units have been reduced to planting improvised explosive devices -- IEDs -- and occasional sniper, rocket and mortar attacks. Ramadi is still a dangerous place but less so today than in any of our five previous trips to this city.

Now, if "success" is to be measured by a complete end to all violence, then we should focus our attention at home, because not one state here is violence free. But if success is, in fact, to be measured by the Iraqi's taking control of securing their own neighborhoods, then this small victory, is really bigger than it seems. The Iraqi's here are doing it....with help, yes, but THEY are taking the frontline in this instance and they won this battle. One battle at a time. Every victory spawns more confidence and another victory.

Thanks Ollie for going INTO the battlezone and showing us what our fine soldiers are accomplishing.

Others discussing this:
Power Line.
Washington Times.

Tracked back by:
North Korea Wants Sanctions Lifted from Rightwing Guy...