Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Facts and Reality Change Minds About Iraq

Suddenly Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama can no longer promise their far-left base they’d make an immediate pull out from Iraq if elected President. In fact, they couldn’t even promise to have all our troops out by 2013 at the end of the term.

I guess sometimes the light of truth even penetrates the sand these two usually have their heads stuck in.

If you caught the most recent debate of Democratic Presidential hopefuls, several of the lead candidates could no longer answer in the affirmative that they’d immediately pull troops from Iraq.

Have they been listening to the counsel of President Bush about Iraq and the complexities of the Middle East?

Are they trying to distance themselves from the unhinged MoveOn crowd after public sentiment turned sharply against them following their attack on General Petraeus?

Did their internal polling finally move them from “dangerously weak” on national security to “absolutely unelectable?”

Or is it the fact that the surge is working and for them to deny this would illuminate their ignorance about the current situation in Iraq and reveal to the world how partisan and selfishly, politically ambitious they truly are? Neither good positions as more and more Americans see success in Iraq while paying attention to the politics of this Presidential race.

The fact is we continue to experience and achieve success in Iraq across many fronts as illustrated by several different metrics.

Living in small combat outposts in the villages and neighborhood and sharing risk with the Iraqi’s has protected them, gained their trust, and in turn given us the actionable intelligence to fight Al Qaeda.

Not only have we been able to take down many Al Qaeda cells in Iraq, last week we also killed Abu Osama al-Tunisi after earlier capturing several members of his immediate cell. Al-Tunisi was the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq, part of Al Qaeda’s leadership circle, and the man responsible for kidnapping, torturing, and killing three American soldiers last summer.

Brigadier General Joseph Anderson speaking from Iraq says that our efforts have isolated the terrorists into pockets which we can easily exploit. From personal experience, I know the information to locate these groups comes from Iraqi citizens who are increasingly secure and are then more and more willing to provide intelligence about these cells.

The value of taking the volatile Al Qaeda element out of the picture is immeasurable in its benefit to the safety of the Iraqi people, our troops, our national security, and the ability of political processes to move forward in Iraq.

The Iraqi Army continues to show more and more competence, is operating independently in many places, and providing promise for a drawdown of American forces replaced by skilled Iraqi forces. Just on the 30th alone, Reuters reported that Iraqi forces had killed 44 militants, arrested 52 others, and defused 3 roadside bombs in one 24 hour period.

In addition to the reconciliation and cooperation across religious and sectarian lines taking place between tribal sheiks and provincial leaders, the New York Times reported this week on increasing provincial government competency. At local levels schools, hospitals, and power plants are being built, factories reopened, and loans being made for small business ventures.

This is yet another indicator that Iraq is rebuilding itself from the bottom up, not from the top down as many big-government types in Washington believe must happen.

Also, the trend over the last few months has been toward fewer American and Iraqi deaths. Now the AP is reporting that the number of deaths actually reached their lowest levels in over a year. The troop surge and movement on the political front are having an undeniably positive impact.

Not to be overlooked among the successes being achieved in Iraq is the fact that the Anbar Awakening is a group of Sunni Arabs openly fighting against the radical, Wahabi teachings of other Sunni Arabs. The Iraqi’s have said “no” to the extreme version of Islam which gave birth to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Many of us have wondered where the Muslim voices have been to disapprove, disavow, and distance themselves from the ideology which brought us September 11. Well, Iraqi voices are doing just that, fighting against radical Islam, making a statement across Iraq, doing what we’d all hoped would happen in the fight against terrorists. They’re just having trouble being heard over all the defeatist bloviating coming from Washington D.C.

If they get loud enough, maybe even Barack and Hillary will hear their muffled voices through the sand.

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