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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Iraq Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths

MYTH: The security gains seen in Anbar Province and Iraq as a whole are not because of the surge.

  • FACT: The increased number of troops enabled U.S. Commanders on the ground to implement a more comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy based on local population security.
  • FACT: The surge provided a security umbrella and thereby demonstrated American commitment to Iraqis already standing up to terrorists – encouraging expansion of the Anbar Awakening and Sons of Iraq.
  • FACT: The surge allowed Iraqi Security Forces to grow in skill and number. More than 540,000 individuals serve in Iraqi Security Forces–an increase of more than 133,000 soldiers and police over the past 16 months.
  • FACT: Recent operations against Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City and al Qaeda in Mosul highlight improvements in the ability of the Iraqi Security Forces to clear and hold cities.
  • FACT: The Iraqi military recently stated that the number of "terrorist attacks" in June declined 85 percent from the same period one year ago.
  • FACT: Insurgent weapons caches are being found and cleared with increasing frequency as more civilians reassured by the new level of security become emboldened to come forward with information and tips. U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces found 3,146 weapons caches in Anbar last year versus 1,213 in 2006.

MYTH: The Sons of Iraq (SoI) existed prior to the surge.

  • FACT: While there had been some local demonstrations of commitment in places like Ramadi prior to the surge, it was the surge that emboldened Iraqis to stand up nationwide through organizations like the Sons of Iraq.

MYTH: President Bush has changed his position in recent weeks on supporting a timetable for withdrawal:

  • FACT: President Bush has consistently stated U.S. forces will return home based on when Iraq is capable of defending its new democracy based on conditions on the ground.

  • FACT: On July 17, 2008, President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki agreed that improving security conditions should allow for a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals and that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground, not an arbitrary date for withdrawal.
And THEM'S the facts, folks. Sent to me by my pal CJ - of A Soldier's Perspective here - who knows what he 's talking about... because is an active duty soldier AND blogger. Thank YOU, CJ! :)

*Cross-posted at MBVD and Tanker Bros from Assoluta Tranquillita*