Monday, April 07, 2008

Iraq News & Commentary via Mike Williams

Blog friend Mike Williams sent on an electronic letter today. I want to share it all with you. But keep it to yourselves. If Speaker Pelosi reads it, her day will be ruined.



Tomorrow General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testify to Congress on Iraq. Speaker Pelosi has already informed them that the Dems aren’t interested in any good news. Saturday the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Biden (D-DE), declared the Surge a failure. The MSM is already spinning away on the Dem party line.

So today Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Graham (R-SC)take them all on in the WSJ Online. Some excerpts:

As late as last September, advocates of retreat insisted that the surge would fail to bring about any meaningful reduction in violence in Iraq. accused Gen. Petraeus of "cooking the books," while others claimed that his testimony, offering evidence of early progress, required "the willing suspension of disbelief."

Gen. Petraeus will be the first to acknowledge that the gains in Iraq have come at a heavy price in blood and treasure. We mourn the loss and pain of the civilians and service members who have been killed and wounded in Iraq, but adamantly believe these losses have served a noble cause.

No one can deny the dramatic improvements in security in Iraq achieved by Gen. Petraeus, the brave troops under his command, and the Iraqi Security Forces. From June 2007 through February 2008, deaths from ethno-sectarian violence in Baghdad have fallen approximately 90%. American casualties have also fallen sharply, down by 70%.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has been swept from its former strongholds in Anbar province and Baghdad….

In the past seven months, the other main argument offered by critics of the Petraeus strategy has also begun to collapse: namely, the alleged lack of Iraqi political progress.

Antiwar forces last September latched onto the Iraqi government's failure to pass "benchmark" legislation, relentlessly hammering Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as hopelessly sectarian and unwilling to confront Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Here as well, however, the critics in Washington have been proven wrong.

In recent months, the Iraqi government, encouraged by our Ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, has passed benchmark legislation on such politically difficult issues as de-Baathification, amnesty, the budget and provincial elections. After boycotting the last round of elections, Sunnis now stand ready to vote by the millions in the provincial elections this autumn. The Iraqi economy is growing at a brisk 7% and inflation is down dramatically.

And, in launching the recent offensive in Basra, Mr. Maliki has demonstrated that he has the political will to take on the Shiite militias and criminal gangs, which he recently condemned as "worse than al Qaeda."

And this:

Unable to make the case that the surge has failed, antiwar forces have adopted a new set of talking points, emphasizing the "costs" of our involvement in Iraq, hoping to exploit Americans' current economic anxieties.

Today's antiwar politicians have effectively turned John F. Kennedy's inaugural address on its head, urging Americans to refuse to pay any price, or bear any burden, to assure the survival of liberty. This is wrong. The fact is that America's prosperity at home and security abroad are bound together. We will not fare well in a world in which al Qaeda and Iran can claim that they have defeated us in Iraq and are ascendant….

Speaking of meeting legislative benchmarks, Randy Ketner at Red State compares Iraq to the 110th Congress:

Iraqi Government: 4 completed, 2 partially completed, 1 not completed.

U.S. Congress: 0 completed, 1 partially completed, 6 not completed.***

You might want to read this one if you have some time. And even better:

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr will consult senior religious leaders and disband his Mehdi Army militia if they instruct him to, a senior aide said on Monday.

The surprise announcement came on the day Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, in a television interview, ordered the Mehdi Army to disband or Sadr's followers would be excluded from Iraqi political life….

Ed Morrissey comments at Hot Air:

Moqtada al-Sadr has found himself increasingly isolated in Iraqi political circles. Once considered a kingmaker when Nouri al-Maliki ascended to the Prime Minister post, he has managed to bring unity to the various sectarian factions in Iraq in a unique manner. He has everyone looking to kick him and his Mahdis out of the next election….

The move against Sadr in Basra clearly had a lot more support from Iraqis than previously thought. Even Shi’ites have had enough of the militia leader and want to see security and control managed from the elected government. The military phase was only the start; the political phase has just begun. And this time, unlike in 2004, the central government has increased the stakes. They now demand that Sadr disband the Mahdi Army entirely, not just stand them down.

Undoubtedly, Sadr’s Iranian support has prompted the isolationist coalition within the Iraqi government. Sadr has flaunted his Iranian backing a little too publicly. Even Maliki, who wants good relations with Iran, cannot abide foreign troops abetting an insurrection in his second-largest city. It has given Shi’ites, Sunnis, and Kurds a common focus and a point on which unity naturally arises.

Now even Sadr’s political supporters have acknowledged that the end of the road may have come….

Via Hugh Hewitt, let’s give John McCain the last word for now:

Today John McCain delivered a speech rebuking --again-- the proponents of defeat in Iraq. The campaign made these excerpts available, and the contrast between McCain's realism and resolve and Obama's eagerness to retreat could not be more stark….

Hugh has the excerpts at the link.


Message to Mike: Great work.


Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in Joe Biden. I considered him to be articulate, bright, and clean. I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

John -

The news from Iraq seems a little confused, to say the least. Michael Goldfarb's blog on the Weekly Standard paints a fairly rosy picture (at

and scroll down to: Iraqi Government Moves to Ban Sadrists

On the other hand, on the same Weekly Standard site, Fred and Kimberly Kagan have a somewhat more sober view of events. That site is at:

Fred Kagan has a solo piece on National Review Online about why winning in Iraq matters. I have not read the entire piece through thus far, will tomorrow. You can find it at:

Also, don't be too surprised if there is some kind of demonstration by Sadirists on Wednesday in Baghdad (possibly in an attempt to embarrass Gen. Petraeus in front of his Democrat inquisitors.

Jack in Silver Spring

mac said...
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