Friday, July 11, 2008

General Petraeus on The Hill

Originally Written 8 April

This week will have seen General Petraeus on Capitol Hill updating Congress on the totality of the situation in Iraq.

Liberals will have likely focused on what they believe was a defeat in Basra.

Regardless of the gains against Al Qaeda that have been achieved during the last year, they will have focused on Basra, as one of their last ditch efforts to force our defeat in this war.

Remember, things have been going so well in Iraq, that at the end of February when the Democrats in the Senate tried to push for debate and another vote to surrender, Republicans turned the table on them and voted for that motion to move forward. They wanted to have that debate. They wanted the news about Iraq’s incredible progress and the decimation of Al Qaeda in Iraq to receive the attention it deserved.

In response, Harry Reid changed the Senate’s agenda, dropping the debate and the vote. He couldn’t risk good news about Iraq being spread in the Senate or the national news.

So this week, liberals, like Reid did, will have continued to ignore the progress the Iraqi government made in the last year, the important legislation they passed, the continued reconciliation and cooperation, the growth and capabilities of Iraq’s military, and the dramatic drop in violence. They will have focused on what they believe is a negative, Basra.

So, let’s talk about Basra.

The British turned over this area of southern Iraq quite some time ago. It is an almost entirely Shiite area, which means it has been subjected to the ongoing feud between Muqtada al Sadr’s faction (JAM) and other Shiite factions, primarily the Badr organization, supported by Iran’s Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard.

Basra became the central battleground in the power struggle between these factions and was becoming lawless. Therefore, the Iraqi government was proactively planning a major offensive against all extremist Shiite factions causing trouble there. For some reason, not yet revealed, the Prime Minister launched the offensive early. As such, the fight didn’t go off without a hitch, making it historically similar to other military operations launched without proper preparation. But it was Iraqi initiated, fought, and led, which is significant.

So, how’s it going?

Hundreds of Shiite insurgents have been killed, captured, surrendered, or fled.

A few Iraqi units didn’t perform well or quit, but most of Iraq’s forces are fighting well, some quite ferociously. Less than a thousand non-Iraqi forces were called in to support the fight.

Iraq’s forces fought well enough to bring the battle to a point liberals should have loved, a politically negotiated solution. Representatives from Iraq met with Sadr’s representatives and the Quds force. Sadr’s Mahdi Army and the Badr organization agreed to stop their fighting in Basra. Iraqi forces now control most of the city and are only fighting splinter elements of the Shiite factions and other fringe extremists.

So who’s wining? The Iraqi’s, that’s who.

Why? Because despite how the battle’s been reported, the Iraqi government forces actually have the upper hand, have cut off much of the insurgents’ supplies, and inflicted heavy casualties against both the Quds supported and Mahdi Army forces. The Iraqi’s kept fighting and winning, forcing both major insurgent groups to negotiate a settlement.

I know it comes as a surprise to those who believe we should surrender a fight when we’re winning, but this battle is how it’s supposed to work. When you’re winning you keep fighting (like the Iraqi’s did) and when you’re losing (like JAM and the Iranian backed Badr forces were) you quit the fight. The winner gets to stay, the loser goes home.

Not only that, but pressure is now being brought to bear by the majority of the groups in Iraq to have Sadr disband his militia, which he is now actually considering. He has sought the guidance of Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric on the matter.

This week liberals will likely have been focused on the negative aspects of Basra and anything else they could scrounge up. General Petraeus will likely have reported on all the facts about Iraq, the vast majority of which are positive, facts which won’t support the call for us to surrender.

General Petraeus will also have reported on Basra, the facts about which will also not support a liberal desire for our defeat.

And sadly, all the facts General Petraeus brought with him will have only served as a big bucket of desert sand that the defeatists will have once again stuck their heads in.

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