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Michael Totten’s latest report is a must-read
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If you seriously expect to know what's going on in Iraq, folks such as Michael Totten are essential reading. Totten's latest is here, and it's long, and you really, really ought to read it all. A couple of short extracts:
Ramadi has changed so drastically from the terrorist-infested pit that it was as recently as April 2007 that I could hardly believe what I saw was real. The sheer joy on the faces of these Iraqis was unmistakable. They weren’t sullen in the least, and it was pretty obvious that they were not just pretending to be friendly or going through the hospitality motions.

...

The Iraqis of Anbar Province turned against Al Qaeda and sided with the Americans in large part because Al Qaeda proved to be far more vicious than advertised. But it’s also because sustained contact with the American military – even in an explosively violent combat zone –convinced these Iraqis that Americans are very different people from what they had been led to believe. They finally figured out that the Americans truly want to help and are not there to oppress them or steal from them. And the Americans slowly learned how Iraqi culture works and how to blend in rather than barge in.

“We hand out care packages from the U.S. to Iraqis now that the area has been cleared of terrorists,” one Marine told me. “When we tell them that some of these packages aren’t from the military or the government, that they were donated by average American citizens in places like Kansas, people choke up and sometimes even cry. They just can’t comprehend it. It is so different from the lies they were told about us and how we’re supposed to be evil.”
As I've said before, in an Information War, you can help buy the ammunition. Totten is supported by folks like us. I've sent him money. Why haven't you?
 
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If you seriously expect to know what’s going on in Iraq, folks such as Michael Totten are essential reading.
I suppose, but something tells me that knowing a lot about Al Anbar - which is his beat - is alot like knowing a lot about Idaho. Knowing a lot about Idaho tells you a lot about Idaho. But it is a small window as to what is going on in America, just as what it going on in Al Anbar is a small window to what is going in Iraq.

And more to the point, if one were to spend a lot of time in Idaho, one might get the sense that there is little in America that might cause racial, religious, or other similar tensions.

Anbar is of course much more complicated than those who support - or oppose - the continued occupation Iraq think it is. But nothing that has happened there aids political reconciliation on a national level. Indeed, recent reports are to the contrary - the anti-Shia message sells very well in Anbar. The Sunnis have finally figured out that getting assitance from the US might aid their efforts in the civil war against the Shia.

At this point the occupation’s supporters have abandoned the analysis of Iraq on a national level. There is no realistic, likely and plausible scenario of national reconciliation that the right wing can offer up. Instead, the occupation’s supporters have been reduced to touting localized efforts to organize the sides in the escalating civil war.

The Shia are in charge. The Sunnis have lost, but don’t know it yet. Therefore, the Shia have no reason to reconcile. Why is this so hard to understand?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
MKUltra,

Anbar is not "his beat."

He embedded there along with several other locations in Iraq, including Shia areas.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Al Anbar - which is his beat - is alot like knowing a lot about Idaho.
Anbar’s also roughly a third of the entire country...so saying ’it’s much like Idaho’ is incorrect.

It’s more like saying ’Everything West of the rocky mountains is his beat, and therefore only a tiny sample of what’s going on in America.’
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Distilling down mkultra’s comment:

"Iraq is lost. Don’t you see, lost! Don’t believe anyone who’s been there, we leftists know when something is lost. This is lost. Lost. Lost. Lost. I’m telling you, it’s lost. And don’t forget that it’s lost."
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Not to mention it is evident mk didn’t read the post first, which addresses several of his points. Also, I suggest coupling it with Bill Roggio’s recent post which shows the "Awakening" spreading into Shia areas as well. Finally, there are mixed areas where the Shia and Sunni’s are cooperating in similar style in other parts of the country. So, while it may not stick or take a bad turn, some of your points mk, are just plain wrong for now.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
from Totten:
But it’s also because sustained contact with the American military - even in an explosively violent combat zone -convinced these Iraqis that Americans are very different people from what they had been led to believe. They finally figured out that the Americans truly want to help and are not there to oppress them or steal from them. And the Americans slowly learned how Iraqi culture works and how to blend in rather than barge in.
That’s it.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Not to mention it is evident mk didn’t read the post first, which addresses several of his points.
Yep, he completely missed that whole thing about the Shia helping the Sunnis:
“They’re not infiltrated here,” he said. “Most of the Iraqi Soldiers here are Shias.” Al Qaeda is exclusively Sunni and views Shias as infidels worthy only of slaughter. “They are Muslims, but very secular in their outlook. They are no more religious than Sunday Catholics. The Shias in the army work very well with the Sunnis in the army here. There isn’t any friction at all. It’s sort of like when the U.S. Army integrated black and white Americans. It breaks down bigotry. The Shia Soldiers helped rescue Sunni civilians from Sunni terrorists and reduced sectarian tensions on both sides.”
But, as Tom is so fond of saying, that doesn’t fit mk’s narrative: "The Sunnis hate the Shia, and vice versa, don’t you see? Iraq is irredeemably lost!"
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
It’s a great, heartwarming story.

But because i’m a miserable SOB, I still think that the US should withdraw. Reconciliation at a national level can only occur once the various factions are no longer angling for more help from Uncle Sugar.

And ever since the invasion, i keep reading stories about how we’re winning. It’s getting very hard to believe the story that this particular micro-success will result in overall success when it’s been said so many times and always been wrong.

Remember, too, that a democratic peaceful Iraq is extremely unlikely to be our ally in the GWOT. It’s far more likely to tilt toward Iran.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
It’s far more likely to tilt toward Iran.
Why?

I have my suspicions about why you think that they would tilt toward Iran, but before I point out you don’t know what you are talking about I would like to make sure I am not putting words in your mouth.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
But because i’m a miserable SOB
I can’t believe it. We must alert LGF and other such sites to be on the lookout for flying pigs. Francis made a point I can agree with!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
But because i’m a miserable SOB, I still think that the US should withdraw.
I suspect it is because you are more concearned with the domestic threat poised by Republicans than the extranal threat of terrorists.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I think Michael Totten would be an excellent candidate for a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant."

 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://

 
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