For the first time in a long time I feel real good about the future of Iraq. I always believed that left alone to do their mission the military would prevail. Political success will follow military success. What I was afraid of was Americans turning their backs on our allies and pulling out as we did when we cursed Indo China to the Killing Fields. I now sense a watershed has been reached and America will stay in Iraq till the Iraqis ask us to leave. Keep in mind that we are waiting for Japan, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia, Haiti, South Korea, Colombia, Yemen, Djibouti, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Qatar to ask us to leave. So far I think Saudi Arabia is the only country that has told us we were no longer needed, at least until another army shows up on its border.
What was the turning point? As predicted by Rush many weeks ago key Democrats have admitted that troops may have to stay in Iraq until the region is stable enough for Iraqis to take care of themselves. What Rush said was that no Democrat would saddle his or herself with a disastrous defeat in that region. The last Democrat debate proves him right.
Why the admission? Because Hillary has locked up the Democrat nomination and is now running in the center by playing tough for the national audience. Obama and Edwards followed suit so as not to kill VP possibilities.Patton once said, “America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.” After Petraeus gave his report the people decided they would continue toward victory. General Petraeus is responsible for this watershed in another way, he literaly wrote the book on COIN, Counterinsurgency Warfare. The 242 page manual on how to defeat an insurgency and win hearts and minds of the people, Iraqi and American, is now being implemented full scale in Iraq.
Michael Yon reports on how COIN is being successfully used by Marines like SSGT Lee.
From the counterinsurgency manual that every Marine and Soldier should read:1-119. The presence of the rule of law is a major factor in assuring voluntary acceptance of a government’s authority and therefore its legitimacy. A government’s respect for preexisting and impersonal legal rules can provide the key to gaining it widespread, enduring societal support. Such government respect for rules—ideally ones recorded in a constitution and in laws adopted through a credible, democratic process—is the essence of the rule of law. As such, it is a powerful potential tool for counterinsurgents.
Three suspects were detained. SSG Lee took two of the prisoners and the Iraqis took the other one elsewhere. The two taken by SSG Lee apparently truly were just shepherds. Their proximity had made them natural suspects,but SSG Lee wasn’t sure if they were involved. Seen here, their hands are not bound. They were blindfolded and told to keep their hands behind their backs. They were given water and treated respectfully.
SSG Lee made sure the Iraqis treated them well during transport, and when we returned to the tiny base, Captain Koury told the Marines not to leave any of the prisoners alone with the Iraqis. The Iraqis can be rough on prisoners—the culture can be rough—but mentoring seems to be working where it occurs. Back at the tiny base, the blindfolds on the shepherds were freaking out a puppy that someone had adopted. The puppy was growling and barking at the shepherds, but nobody paid attention until he got irritating. Then, someone picked him up and petted him and he finally shut up. The shepherds were released soon after.
The statements that SSG Lee had insisted that the police get from villagers led to the detainment of one “Mr. R,” and raids were planned based on information he provided.
Another factor supporting the watershed is that the Sunni tribes are turning from Al Qaeda.
Soon we met up with a group of 1920s men; I counted 19. They were outfitted with AKs and ammo pouches. Most did not want their photos taken, but this man wanted everyone to see, and he threw his arm around one of our soldiers and pointed to my camera. Our guys do not trust the 1920s, but the relationship is working when it comes to killing al Qaeda and reconstruction in Baqubah. Al Qaeda only knows how to kill and intimidate. 1920s are concerned about water projects and so forth, and they help with more than fighting. Their goals include returning Baqubah back into civilization.
A few months ago we called them terrorists. Today we call them Concerned Local Nationals. When we were in a good mood, we used to call them illegal or rogue militias. Now we call them Neighborhood Watches, or in this case, “Baqubah Guardians.” It’s truly working well. They do not have uniforms and most who wish to join have not been hired as policemen yet.
Finally this week Americans had a good look at Akmadinajad. While totally missing the point that the madman has no power he is nevertheless the face of Iran and the media portrayed him unchallenged as an evil enemy. While many of us have been saying for years we are at war with Iran that fact seems to have slowly seeped into the American psyche. It helps that commanders in the field are finally being heard, commanders who have seen first hand Iranian Quds units smuggling in the IED’s that are responsible for 70% of our casualties. It helps that the Bush administration is finally speaking out. The path is slowly being made to actually doing something about Iran. There will be setbacks; we might loose Lebanon to Syria. However our future, at least as it applies to Iran, no longer hangs on next November’s election.