Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

The op-ed page, Editorial:

Iraq and the next president

An unprecedented op-ed piece in the Chicago Tribune today? I have never seen such a thing before. The year in Iraq subsequent to the “surge”! What has been done? Success is at hand when before it was felt the situation was dire?

“The Big Picture?. . . There are tremendously encouraging signs, though, that Iraq has come through the worst”:

* "Violence is down sharply."

* "The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is gaining strength."

* "Progress by the Iraqi military has allowed the government gain confidence."

* "Iraq is riding an oil Bonanza."

* "A phenomenally successful decision [the “surge” of forces]."

* "The gains of the last year have largely been ignored in the U.S. political discourse."

In the various areas of Iraq, progress can be seen?

* Kirkuk - - “Iraq’s oil exports are now above prewar levels . . . the Kurdish area north of this city is thriving and peaceful.”

* Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra - - “The Al Qaeda bombing of this holiest of shrine in 2006 exposed the insurgents strategy . . . Today, the reconstruction of the shrine is going at full speed, with scores of architects, engineers and laborers working 16-hour shifts seven days a week.”

* Abu Ghraib - - “The infamous prison was tuned over to the Iraqis in 2006.”

* Sadr City - - “This Baghdad enclave is the stronghold of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr [“Mookie”] and his Mahdi militia . . . Sadr negotiated a truce that allowed Iraqi troops into Sadr City but barred American soldiers - – a huge victory for Nouri al-Maliki.”

* Basra - - “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s decision to confront Shiite militias this spring has convinced many Sunnis in Iraq that the central government isn’t hostage to Shiite influence . . . Now, the Iraqi army is firmly in control. ‘The circle of fear is broken.’”

* The Baghdad Airport Road - - “the airport vicinity is much safer than it used to be.”

* Fallujah - - “This was once considered the most dangerous place in Iraq . . . Violence is so low that weeks can go by without Marines firing a shot . . . Fallujah is an example of progress - - and peril.”

* Ramadi - - “This is the birthplace of the ‘Anbar Awakening,’ a key turning point in the war. . . . Ramadi is relatively peaceful. Now it needs reconstruction.”

* Al Qaim - - “on the Syrian Border. Once called ‘the Wild West” of Iraq, known for its lawlessness and violence . . . Al Qaim is now thriving and markets full of people and new homes being built.”

* Mosul - - “the number of insurgent attack has been cut in half.“

A lot of adages apply here? “Don’t hold your breath!” “I’ll believe it when I see it!” "Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" My own innate pessimism makes me very suspicious at all this?

If this is all so, and it is almost all over except for the cheering, General Petraeus will have been said to have snatched the proverbial victory from the jaws of defeat? Only time will tell!




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