Good News from Iraq: Calling Harry Reid, Harry Reid…
Never, never, never forget what the brilliant military strategist and village idiot from Searchlight, Nevada said about Iraq in his official capacity of the Senate majority leader:
“The war is lost”
Too bad he is more beholden to politics than reality and our military’s ability to do their jobs without his idiotic input.
Thankfully we have people like Micheal Yon who report the facts and don’t let their own mental illness get in the way of their mouths like Nevada’s senior senator and head assclown, ‘Dingey’ Harry Reid.
Down with Barriers, Up with Iraq
On November 13 I covered a mission in South Baghdad with soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division. General Petraeus once told me during the height of the fighting, back when violence was the lingua franca and victory was very much in question, that this area was the canary in the mineshaft. In his exact words regarding what Lieutenant Colonel Pat Frank had to deal with in one of the toughest places in Iraq, “SW Baghdad … has every challenge imaginable — AQI, JAM, micro fault lines, good/bad ISF partners, good/bad neighborhood leaders, and Route Irish! It will be the canary in the mineshaft; if they can pull it off, this will be doable.”
It is critical to point out that General Petraeus told me this in 2007 — just at the crest of the surge during some of the fiercest fighting in the war. Many people at home were saying the new strategy was a complete failure, but the coalition and Iraqi soldiers were not tapping out, not taking a break, giving no quarter to the enemy, and expecting none in return.
Today’s mission — observing the progress of the peace — makes for boring journalism, but it made me very happy. I was smiling all day. This victory, like all real triumphs, is monumental and historic — though our military will not be allowed to express their feelings of pride and sense of well-earned glory.
When the war was on full-steam there was so much to report that it was impossible to keep track. And now that peace is breaking out, it’s equally impossible to keep track of all the progress. There’s still focus on the attacks, most of which are directed against Iraqis, not us. And so this “mission” was more like an armed errand to remove some concrete barriers between neighborhoods.
When it comes to creating the conditions for peace in Iraq, details matter. Of course the surge and change of tactics were central to the change that flipped the situation, and the Anbar Awakening was critical. But it is important to understand the role of smaller, tactical improvements. Though they were heavily criticized at the time by observers, the installation of thousands of barriers around Baghdad is one of the most unrecognized tools of success in the restoration of peace in Iraq. In 2006, bombs were killing thousands of people. Al-Qaeda, in particular, was trying to foment civil war and they were succeeding. When they murdered large numbers of Shia, for instance, other Shia would pour out of their neighborhood and murder large numbers of Sunnis in a flash of revenge. The barriers thwarted these flows of vengeance and baffled the violence.
Installing the miles of ugly concrete barriers was like patching up the internal bleeding of Baghdad — the heart of Iraq. The barriers did not “solve” the problem any more than a bandage cures a bullet wound, yet bandages saved lives. Removing these concrete barriers will be like removing the bandages to allow real healing to take place. We are only starting now, and it may take years before they are all gone.
There are many untold details contributing to the growing success on the ground — including the United States’ decision to put the “Sons of Iraq” (SOI) on our payroll until they could be handled by the Iraqi government, which just this month began to pay the SOIs. This program, criticized for creating “militias,” gave former enemies a sense of purpose and allowed them to assist in the progress. Where are those who screamed about “America’s militias” now that Iraq has hired those same people and is absorbing many into the police and army?
Chalk another one up for the military leaders for standing their ground. When the barriers went up, it was a sign that we were trying to get a grip on the civil war, and it was “exciting news” to some in the “further evidence of failure” camp. But when I stood and watched some of the barriers being taken down, the only camera there was mine.
…Every sign I see, every little spot report like this, indicates the same thing: the war is over.
Much to the chagrin of people who said it was a failure and that we had lost – one of them being Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.