Sunday, June 08, 2008

Can Obama refuse Yon’s offer?

Iraq based independent journalist Michael Yon keeps getting it right on the war there. Many people have taken to calling him “the Ernie Pyle of the Iraq War.”
Yon’s just published An Open Offer to U. S. Senators.

Here are parts of it - - -

One of the biggest problems with the Iraq War is that politics has frequently triumphed over truth. For instance, we went into Iraq with shoddy intelligence (at best), no reconstruction plan, and perhaps half as many troops as were required. We refused to admit that an insurgency was growing, until the country collapsed into anarchy and civil war.

Now the truth is that Iraq is showing real progress on many fronts: Al Qaeda is being defeated and violence is down and continuing to decrease. As a result, the militias have lost their reason for existence and are getting beaten back or co-opted. Shia, Sunni and Kurds are coming together -- although with various stresses -- under the national government.

If progress continues at this rate, it is very possible that before 2008 is out, we can finally say "the war has ended." Yes, likely there still will be some American casualties, but if the violence continues to drop and the Iraqi government consolidates its gains, we will be able, in good conscience, to begin bringing more of our people home.

I will be paying very close attention to the words of Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, who is replacing General Petraeus as the overall commander in Iraq.
Whatever we do in Iraq from here forward, we must strive to make better decisions than those made between 2003 and 2006. And one way to achieve that is by making certain that our civilian leaders are fully informed. …

I hereby offer to accompany any Senator to Iraq, whether they are pro-or anti-war, Democrat or Republican.

I will make this offer personally to a few select Senators as well.

Our conversations during the visit would be on- or off-record, as they wish. Touring Iraq with me, as well as briefings by U.S. officers and meetings with Iraqis, would provide an accurate and nuanced account of the progress and challenges ahead, so that the Senators might have a highly informed perspective on this most critical issue.

Our civilian leaders need to make decisions based on the best information available.

The only way to learn what is really going on in Iraq is to go there and listen to our ground commanders, who know what they are doing. Generals Petraeus and Odierno have years of experience in Iraq, and vast knowledge of our efforts there.

But the young soldiers who have done multiple tours in Iraq also have unique and invaluable perspectives as well. These young soldiers have personally witnessed the trajectory of the war shift dramatically, and can articulate those changes in concrete and specific terms. …

Yon’s entire letter’s here.

I plan to comment further later today on Yon's offer.

The short of my comments: Yon's bang on.


Anonymous said...

BTW, Yon's book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, is great. I understand so much more about the political and military goings on over the last 3 years in Iraq after reading it. Check it out!

Anonymous said...

Does any serious observer of events think Mr. Obama is the least bit interested in facts that don't bolster his demogoguery?
Tarheel Hawkeye