Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Winning the War — At Home (w/update)

Despite the best efforts of Main Stream Media (MSM) to paint a picture of doom and gloom about the situation in Iraq, reports leak through that we are making significant progress.

Senator Elizabeth Dole writes this morning "We should reflect on our successes in war on terror":
America’s continued progress in the war on terror is critical to protecting our nation and our very way of life. As this year comes to an end, I hope Americans will reflect on the tireless commitment and good works of our troops and the progress that has been made, and that they will reject defeatist rhetoric and baseless partisan attacks.

It has been less than three years since Iraq was liberated, and in that time tremendous advancements toward democracy have occurred. A constitutional democracy is taking hold, and the Middle East is moving toward greater stability. It is integral to the continued progress in this region and to the overall war on terror that we not allow the cowardly acts of insurgents to derail our efforts.
Senator Joe Lieberman visited Iraq over Thanksgiving, and wrote a long Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld listed achievements at his Tuesday news conference:
  • More than 212,000 Iraqi security forces are fully trained and equipped, up from about 96,000 a year ago;
  • Ninety-five Iraqi army battalions are in the fight, compared to five in August 2004;
  • Iraq's army has seven operational brigades and 31 operational brigade headquarters, up from zero in July 2004;
  • Twenty-eight special police battalions are conducting operations, compared to zero in July 2004;
  • U.S. forces have turned over control of 29 military bases to the Iraqis;
  • Iraq forces have assumed responsibility for 87 square miles of Baghdad, an entire Iraqi province and 450 square miles of territory in other provinces; and
  • More than 5,000 Iraqi troops played a key role in recent operations in Tal Afar, where they helped liberate and secure a terrorist operational base.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, CENTCOM's deputy director of plans and strategy, spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Monday:
U.S. and coalition initiatives to create well-trained and -equipped Iraqi security forces are paying off, with Iraqis taking on more of the fight, a U.S. Central Command general said Nov. 28 at the Heritage Foundation here.

"Iraqi security forces are fighting hard. They're fighting well. They are not cracking under pressure, as you see in some armies, and they are making a tremendous contribution."
Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mary Laney observes "Our accomplishments in Iraq make for long list:"
The soldiers are putting their lives on the line daily, yet we don't hear from them or about them in the myriad reports coming out of Baghdad. The Marines are making certain schools are free of bombs and children can go inside to learn. Yet we don't hear from them. We only hear of the fatalities of the war -- not the victories of the war. We see pictures of the soldiers who have given their lives, but no pictures of the heroes who are, daily, making progress over there.
Major K (via Hugh Hewitt) has a couple of first-hand observations on developments in Iraq:
Firstly, the average Iraqi will often (not always) trust us more than other Iraqis outside of their family when it comes to fair and humane treatment. Secondly, for all of the people at home and in the media that think we are such a widely hated and mistrusted "occupying force," I would like to know why they think the Iraqis hate their honest broker. I have found that only the arhabi [terrorists] do.
(And discover why Christmas carols are popular in Iraq!)

If you hadn't heard, Iraq will have another round of elections on December 15 to elect a Parliament. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq is the official website.

[Updated 6:15 pm] Finally, President Bush gave a major speech at the Naval Academy today on the war effort:

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

To achieve victory over such enemies, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy -- how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we're doing to achieve it. So today, we're releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This is an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website -- whitehouse.gov. I urge all Americans to read it. [ed. hyperlinks added]

Non-MSM resources include: