Monday, September 01, 2008

What if we won the war in Iraq, and no one reported it?

As the Labor Day holiday ends and political season finally kicks off in earnest, the media and the internet are buzzing with the story of Governor Sarah Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter being pregnant and the near miss of New Orleans by hurricane Gustav.

Sensational stories? You bet they are. Video of Bristol Palin and her high school, hockey star boyfriend - soon to be husband, along with the compulsory images of reporters bracing against hurricane force winds are on every news channel and taking up space on the frontpages of our newspapers. We are creatures of the 24-hour news cycle, what's new? what's now? what's next?

With all the sensational stories making headlines and with the Republican convention sucking up much of the media oxygen this week, one could easily miss this story from half a word away.
U.S. Hands Back a Quieter Anbar:

Two years ago, Anbar Province was the most lethal place for the Americans in Iraq, with a marine or a soldier dying here nearly every day. The provincial capital, Ramadi, was a moonscape of rubble and ruins. Islamic extremists controlled large pieces of territory, with some so ferocious in their personal views that they did not even allow the sale of bread.

A resident of Fallujah, in Iraq’s Anbar province, at the foot of the Fallujah Bridge on Monday. In March 2004, the bodies of American security contractors were hung from the bridge after they were ambushed.

On Monday, following a parade on a freshly paved street, American commanders formally returned responsibility for keeping order in Anbar Province, once the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, to the Iraqi Army and police force. The ceremony capped one of the starkest turnabouts in the country since the war began five and a half years ago.

In the past two years, the number of insurgent attacks against Iraqis and Americans in Anbar Province has dropped by more than 90 percent.

For everyone who doomed the 'Surge' strategy to failure even before it started, they all seem very quiet right now. The media has packed up and gone home, leaving a scant number of reporters to cover this successful turnabout in the war. Why is this? Why is it that winning the war garners far less media attention than car bombs and civilian casualties? I remember the network anchors were all waiting for their Walter Cronkite moment, waiting for the chance to declare the war officially lost. Some came breathtakingly close to doing just that, as if their opinion on the state of our military effort had any relevance what so ever.

All across Iraq, our soldiers have defeated al Qaeda and trained the Iraqi military to the point where in most parts of Iraq, they now control their own country, their own cities and their own streets.

When our outstanding young men and women in uniform perform their duty in a hostile place, under extreme conditions, away from friends and family and the comforts of home, one would think we could at least stop to recognize their accomplishment. This is similar to crushing an enemy and handing back an area almost five times the size of Belgium.

Not bad for a strategy doomed to failure?

The anti-war crowd may soon get their wish as US forces come home from Iraq, not in defeat, not with an enemy emboldened and in control of Iraq, but with heads held high, assured in the knowledge of what they did there and that the price they paid there, will not be forgotten.

God bless them.

1 comment:

TC said...

99.9% of those that predicted the surge would fail had no military experience, no war experience, no civil authority experience, no Middle East cultural experience, no Islamic experience but other than that they were expert. The anti-war effort was not restricted to just ignorant partesian criticism. SOTH Nancy Pelosi led a Democrat party effort to undermine the war effort by introducing legislation guaranteed to damage our relationship with Turkey, through which 75-80% of all military supplies transitted on the way to the troops. Pelosi and here ilk were willing to destroy a NATO relationship in order to make resupply of the troops more difficult and force a premature withdrawel. I am sure Pelosi's new friend, the President of terrorist Syria, was pleased with her efforts on behalf of her constituency.