Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making sense of Iraq and the WOT

Like many of you, I’ve read a lot in the MSM about the Iraq War and the War on Terror that’s been wrong, foolish and sometimes so defeatist I’ve wondered whose side the reporters and news organizations were on.

On the other hand, two great independent reporters, Michael Totten and Michael Yon, have time after time gotten it right on the Iraq War and much else.

Today Totten at posts Is the War Over? Here’s the start of Totten’s post with my comments below the star line:

Independent reporter Michael Yon has spent more time in Iraq embedded with combat soldiers than any other journalist in the world, and a few days ago he boldly declared the war over:

Barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it's time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.

I’m reluctant to say “the war has ended,” as [Yon] did, but everything else he wrote is undoubtedly true. The war in Iraq is all but over right now, and it will be officially over if the current trends in violence continue their downward slide. That is a mathematical fact.

If you doubt it, look at the data.

Security incidents, or attacks, are at their lowest level in four years. Civilian deaths are down by almost 90 percent since General Petraeus’ counterinsurgency “surge” strategy went into effect. High profile attacks, or explosions, are down by 80 percent in the same time period. American and Iraqi soldiers suffer far fewer casualties than they have for years. Ethno-sectarian deaths from Iraq’s civil war plunged all the way down to zero in May and June 2008.

Yon is braver than the rest of us for declaring the war over, but it’s important to understand that there are no final battles in counterinsurgencies and it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact dates when wars like this end. The anti-Iraqi insurgency – a war-within-a-war – really is effectively over. As long as another such war-within-a-war doesn’t break out, Yon will appear more perceptive than the rest of us in hindsight when the currently low levels of violence finally do taper off into relative insignificance.

None of this means terrorism and violence in Iraq are over. Violence is never over in the Middle East, and Islamist terrorism will be with us for years, if not decades. ….

The rest of Totten’s post’s here.



I’ll also say some more about the post later tonight.

Right now I just want to call it to your attention and say I’ll sign on to everything Totten says.

How about you?


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, Obama declared that the surge hurt U.S. interests. Hoo Boy! He also announced he would actually visit Iraq, then proceeded to outline his "Plan for Iraq" in the Times BEFORE the announced visit, BEFORE actually sitting down, face to face with General Petreaus to find out how things actually are on the ground there. Truly Frightening! Steve in New Mexico

Anonymous said...

So glad that Totten and Yon can read the writing on the wall - of course "Barring any major and unexpected [ha ha] developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow)"

I think I just heard a ratchet somewhere - you hear that? Sounds like ratcheting up. . . not down. . . There it goes again!

July 08, 2008 10:08 AM
Iraq demands pullout timetable in US defence pact talks

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will for the first time set a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign forces as part of a framework for a US troop presence into next year.

The White House, however, said no "hard date" for the withdrawal of US forces was contemplated and US officials suggested that any timetable would be dependent on conditions on the ground.

Nevertheless, it was the first time that Baghdad's Shiite-led government has made a timetable for a US pullout a condition for a promised new agreement with the United States for a troop presence into 2009.

"The direction we are taking is to have a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or to have a timetable for their withdrawal," a statement from Maliki's office quoted him as telling Arab ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates.

"The negotiations are still continuing with the American side, but in any case the basis for the agreement will be respect for the sovereignty of Iraq," he added.

US President George W. Bush has repeatedly refused to set a timetable for a US withdrawal, and administration officials linked any change to conditions on the ground.

"It is important to understand that these are not talks on a hard date for a withdrawal," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzell.

"As Ambassador Crocker has said, we are looking at conditions, and not calendars -- and both sides are in agreement on this point," he added.

Asked about Maliki's comments, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters: "With respect to timetables I would say the same thing I would say (with respect) to the security situation -- it is dependent on conditions on the ground."

Read the rest:

Anonymous said...

The Bush hatred derangement syndrome has driven the doctrinaire Democrats to the point of destroying whatever accomplishments we have made in Iraq just so they can point at "Bush's failure." The blood of countless Iraquis and thousands of Americans has been shed in the hope of giving the Iraqis a stable and democratic government. It is arguable whether it is the proper role of the
U.S. military to engage in nation-building; what isn't arguable is the basic truth that we must win in Iraq AND Afghanistan. So long as the Democrats have control of congress, we will never accomplish that goal simply because they would rather lose than allow George Bush to claim victory. Despicable and irresponsible behavior is what I have come to expect from the likes of Harry Reid, Teddy Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and their ilk. To believe that Mr. Obama is any different is to whistle past the graveyard.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Archer05 said...

The Democrats don’t want the war to be over while President Bush is in office. I think they despise any progress being made.

The old MSM doesn’t want the war to turn out well either until after the election. They have worked overtime to make President Bush look bad.

It is one thing to want to win an election, but it is despicable to bash our troops and President almost daily.

When it comes to the media on Iraq, success equals silence. How corrupt have some news outlets become? Totally! That is why watching their demise is reassuring me that justice does prevail in the end.

Anonymous said...

John -

It was the summer of 1864, it looked like the Democrat candidate for President, George McClellan, would beat Lincoln. McClellan's program to end the war was not through victory, but to let the Southern sisters go their way (so today, North Carolina would be part of the Confederate States of America). Two great generals (from the Union's perspective) Grant and Sherman, squashed McClellan's hopes.

Today we see a somewhat parallel scene. The Democrats, with St. Barack as their standard bearer, would end the war in Iraq not with victory but by walking out of Iraq. Two great generals, one of whom is Petraeus, may have put the kabbosh on the Democrats' hopes, that is if Senator McCain can deliver the message that the war is close to won.

Dittos to anon at 4:41 PM and to TH.

Jack in Silver Spring