Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday's good news from Iraq

Another way to look at the most recent National Intelligence Estimate: "Growing Sunni opposition to al Qaeda and in some cases the perception that U.S. troops will leave the country are key factors behind recent and growing stability in Iraq, according to a major U.S. intelligence report based on findings from 16 agencies."

National Review points out political progress being made in Iraq. Quote: ""Now the surge has helped turn Sunni tribes against al Qaeda, advancing the goal that nearly everyone in the U.S. notionally shares of routing the terror group from Iraq. Democrats try to chalk up this progress generically to the courage and the adeptness of our troops...The new National Intelligence Estimate reports “measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation,” and says a shift from counterinsurgency operations to efforts simply to train Iraqis “would erode security gains achieved so far”... The surge has failed to enable legislative progress on the part of the central government (i.e., the benchmarks), but important political progress has been taking place in Iraq. The turn of the Sunni tribes away from al Qaeda and toward us is a crucial political development. If anyone had thought this was possible at the beginning of the year (it wasn’t even mentioned in the January 2007 NIE), it might have been included as a benchmark and considered the most important one. Are we really supposed to discount this political progress because it happened in a manner and on a timetable that no one would have predicted?...As we’ve seen in Anbar, the military and political dimensions of the war constantly interact. It would have been harder for the Sunni tribes to turn against al Qaeda absent our military help, and even if they had, they probably wouldn’t have been strong enough to beat back the terror group. Our military operations have been key to the political progress there and the political progress has, in turn, facilitated our military operations...But if the violence of 2006 had continued unabated, the Iraqi government might have fallen by now. The Democrats — of all people — shouldn’t forget that Iraq has been traumatized by a civil war; political reconciliation, if it happens, will take time and only happen in an environment of increasing security."

Meanwhile, the other day in Baghdad, a small battle between U.S. forces and terrorist insurgents ended with 18 enemy fighters dead.

American veterans of the fighting in Iraq speak out against negativism: "But we also know what's possible when even small portions of counterinsurgency strategy are applied. Insurgents are exposed, leaders stand up, and stability occurs. General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker understand the principles of counterinsurgency and are applying them up and down the chain of command. It's unfortunate that soldiers in the 82nd Airborne have not yet benefited from the new strategy, but it will ensure that their actions, and those of their fallen brethren, will not have been in vain."