Yon on Iraq - We won! Posted by: McQ
on Friday, November 14, 2008
Insty just had a phone call from Michael Yon who is back in Iraq checking it all out and writes:
"THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:" Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. I've been walking my feet off and haven't seen anything. I've been asking Iraqis, 'do you thin the violence will kick up again,' but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they're usually dour." There's a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that's a threat to the general situation. Plus, not only the Iraqi Army, but even the National Police are well thought of by the populace. Training from U.S. troops has paid off, he says, in building a rapport.
He says the big problem everybody is talking about now is corruption. But hey, we have that here, too. He'll be heading to Afghanistan next week. "Afghanistan is a bad situation, but on Iraq I can't believe things have turned out so well."
He thinks that Obama will be able to pull troops out, and send some to Afghanistan, without creating problems in Iraq. Michael will be reporting from Afghanistan soon, and sending back video, so stay tuned. Things aren't going swimmingly there.
The reason I give the assessment from Yon more credibility than just about anyones is a) he's there, he's been there and he's seen this whole war from just about the beginning and b) he's reported the good, the bad and the ugly. He was the first guy I heard saying Iraq was headed into civil war and we were losing there after the mosque explosion.
And he's been super cautious about saying the fight is won. He'd say we were doing better, things were looking up or progress was being made - but "won", he was never really quite ready to make that claim. So when others tut-tut this, as they will, consider who has been there, seen it all and reported it honestly as opposed to those who will just refuse to accept the fact that we actually overcame the horrendous difficulties we faced there (granted - many of our own making) and are victorious.
Let the withdrawal begin as conditions continue to allow (those conditions being dictated by the final 5 provinces we need to turn over plus the state of the Iraqi security forces).
To those to whom this comes as a huge disappointment, there's always Afghanistan to root against.
If i were GWB, id have my face on the TV a few days before changing powers proclaiming victory. Even if it somehow gets flipped....how much face could he possibly lose? But i wouldnt give Barack or the dems the satisfaction of "following through" with the promise to run away from Iraq. Hell forget GW, get Petreaus oh the TV, give him all the credit her deserves.
I think GWB ought don a flight suit one last time and fly out there and thank the troops...just to give the Kos Kids a coronary. Then again, he’s probably got other things on his mind like show trials.
While some people are patting themselves on the back, a lot of people behind the scenes are setting the table for a massive redistribution program on a global scale, with Obama’s US as the Santa Claus, and the rest of the world the recipient of US taxpayer’s hard work. Meanwhile a lot of others are preparing to shut down half the US energy supply out of fear of plant food-carbon dioxide.
I know you want to congratulate yourselves and all, but there’s really no time. Turn around, face the present and the future. Otherwise while you’re facing the past you are going to get b*tt f*c%@d. Comprende?
As I’ve said in other comments, nothing the right claims counts in the long run. We wise leftists have already established the narrative on Iraq. It was the worst foreign policy disaster the US has ever had, and it will never be worth the blood, treasure, deaths, and looks down the nose from wise Europeans that we have suffered.
All to see the Iranians as the ultimate winners. Forget this temporary peace-like state in Iraq. The Iraqis are just straining at the bit to turn their lives and fortunes over to the Iranians. I decree it. Iran won, Iran won, Iran won! Don’t you see, you dense righties? It was all for naught. Leftist, post-modernist political science decrees it. You thick righties don’t get a vote, and neither do the Iraqis. Disaster, I tell you, absolute disaster.
Plus, as I’ve already told you, we were just like the Nazis when we went into Iraq. Nazis, I tell you! Don’t you get it? Bush is evil, just like the Nazis, and such a man can’t possibly do anything good and noble such as liberating millions of people. Therefore, they’re not really liberated. QED.
And this Yon fellow, what does he know? I’ll rely on experts like Juan Cole, who constantly appear on CNN, to tell me what’s happening in Iraq. Oh, I’ll skim over Yon’s accounts, mostly to find things to nitpick and doubt, but how can we really trust anyone who doesn’t have the holy blessing of the mainstream media?
How can you dense righties continue to doubt my godlike powers of political science. Look at all the things I’ve been absolutely right about. For example, Jimmy Carter is a great man, John Kerry is a stainless warrior and all fifty of the Swift Boat guys are complete liars. No one has ever refuted me on those points. I don’t care that some of you think you refuted me. By the holy principles of post-modern leftist political science, you cannot possibly be correct. Don’t you see?
So forget this stuff about how I’ll come back and admit that I was wrong. I’ve never said that I’m always right, but as post-modernism proves, there are multiple truths, so I can always cling to the one that myself and all my other enlightened colleagues in the faculty lounge have decided is the one that must, ultimately, be accepted. Suck on it, righties.
Yup, just like we won in Vietnam in 1973. You know who won in Iraq — Iran did. They have massive influence, there is no stable democracy, the country is really divided in three, with Islamic law dominant in much of the country. To say we "won" is ridiculous. We’re managing to get out of there with our tails between our legs, thankful that we found a way to slip out without having to admit the utter failure on our part. But what comes next? I suspect the pro-war crowd to continue their dishonesty in admitting the mistake of going to war and ignoring the impact of what conditions in post-war Iraq will be — already are!
Luckily, the next generation will learn in schools and colleges the truth. You guys can try to continue to spread your propaganda. This war was a waste of lives, money, and has hastened America’s decline. Families are torn apart by multiple deployments, soldiers suffering severe mental disorders — for what? A fantasy of "spreading democracy?" No, the Iraq syndrome will be more powerful and more long lasting than the Vietnam syndrome, because nearly everyone recognizes the war was a huge and deadly error. The only good that has come out of it is that the country has repudiated the policies of the last decade, and Obama and the Democrats are about to take the country in a completely different direction. You guys lost at every level. Unfortunately there are also broken families and a lot of death here and in Iraq that represents loss as well. The Iranians are celebrating though!
I got back from Iraq three months ago. I arrived there in June 2007 before the surge and we have been all over a good part of the country (something like 7 of the 18 governates), and our sister companies and battalion have been to a lot of different areas as well.
I’ve said it on here before: just as the surge actually had reached its peak—meaning it had just started at full capacity—when the anti-war component was already screaming it failed, on the ground, where we were getting daily intelligence summaries with respect to a large chunk of the most heavily populated part of the country, it was obvious that the surge had at the least caused a major about-face in the amount of violent attacks directed against coalition forces. The fact that literally overnight, attacks in our areas of interest went from several serious ones per day to ZERO and then a very slow trickle of mostly none-too-serious incidents was evidence to us that something major had occurred.
As for Iran, I spent a good part of the tour along the Iranian border. I can attest that ’malign Iranian influence’ is certainly very real. I can also attest that the Iraqis want to squash it, and their military and security forces, with PM Al-Maliki’s direct support, have gone after those elements very hard. Mr. Al-Maliki at least as much as, if not more than anoyone else has ’won’ this war. He’s shown himself to be intolerant of violent elements regardless of what ethnic or religious faction they belong to.
Mr. Erb: I never saw anything to support the assertion that "Islamic law [is] dominant in much of the country". In fact, when we went into areas controlled by insurgent Shi’a factions that was the case, with people being intimidated and murdered and women afraid to wear Western dress. But that didn’t last long once we arrived alongside the Iraqi security forces, and much to the collective relief of the entire civilian population. I have seen before my very eyes the phenomenon shown in that video about Doura district of Baghdad in other cities in Iraq.
The Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi Army and to a lesser extent the Iraqi National Police, whom we worked with extremely closely, are both competent, stable, mostly well-led organizations. We worked with some extremely competent and professional Iraqi Army battalions in executing the full spectrum of combat operations. We were there in support of them, and they were ready, willing, and very eager to do the job, and did not shrink from it or want the Americans to do it for them or help them in any major way. What they wanted was help coordinating air support and to a much lesser extent some help with logistics. From what I have seen of the Iraqi units I have worked with, they are more than capable of handling things with some minimal American advisory support.
As for Vietnam (and although it’s clearly a red herring, I’ll go ahead and bite)... Mr. Erb, I know the revisionist version of American history popularly taught in our school system would never admit it, but if you do honest research into the matter, I think it’s clear that in 1973 the stage had indeed been set for South Vietnam to succeed, and had we been honorable enough to honor our promises made during the Paris Peace Accords, it would still exist as a nation today. The insurgency composed of local communist sympathizers, the Viet Cong, had been absolutely decimated by that time, especially during the ill advised Tet offensives (see A Better War by Lewis Sorley for an in-depth analysis of how we won the insurgency in Vietnam). In fact, after Tet ’68, almost none of the fighting was done by the VC, but rather the conventional NVA, because it virtually ceased to exist as a combat effective organization. The South Vietnamese army, ARVN, had survived and contained the massive conventional Easter Offensive by the North Vietnamese. The real reason South Vietnam fell three years later, is because the anti-war front had, rightly or wrongly, made the issue so anathema politically that Congress refused to provide airpower in support of the South Vietnamese in 1975 as had been promised during the Paris Peace Accords. The fact that we completely turned our backs then and betrayed an American ally is an indelible dark spot on the reputation of our nation that I hope is never repeated.
Also, Mr. Erb, you say we "manage to slip out of there avoiding admitting the utter failure on our part." May I ask with respect to what task exactly did we ’fail’?
To find weapons of mass destruction? If they did not exist, then we did not fail in finding them. To establish a democratic, representative government in Iraq? It’s there, not a perfect system by any means, but it’s on the way. And we do not need to keep a large amount of conventional military forces there until that is complete, it was our stated intention to set the conditions for establishment of a stable government by improving the security situation. That has been done, and to great effect.
As for families being "torn apart" by deployments and soldiers suffering from "sever mental disorders". Certainly this has happened and the worst cases of it are tragic, but the scale to which people believe it occurs is completely out of bounds with reality. This is not a pandemic in the Army as it would seem through a disproportional amount of coverage. I don’t blame the media for it, although I question their motivations, I applaud the fact that it has brought the issues to attention, because they are both have always existed, but are finally being recognized. Post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury has existed as long as warfare, but now have been addressed and we can begin to deal with its effects.
"He was the first guy I heard saying Iraq was headed into civil war and we were losing there after the mosque explosion."
Then you were ignoring a hell of a lot of people for a hell of a long time. Seriously, that must have taken some effort.
I can remember Michael Yon declaring that there was a civil war on. It was the point at which the right-wing blogosphere was forced by a favourite source to accept what everyone else already had long before.
Meanwhile, Michael Yon’s been saying you’ve been winning in Iraq for years. Apart from Iraq forcing the US to set a deadline for withdrawal, what else has happened recently that would prompt this assessment if the obvious reason for it isn’t going to be acknowledged ?
TomD - Woot, it only took a trillion of our dollars to liberate those poor ragheads we were supposed to hate. Now that’s altruism!
Yep. And we didn’t even steal their oil. What other country would knock off a dictatorship and then spend a billion of its own money and lose thousands of its own men to give another country a shot at peace, liberty, and prosperity?
Scott Erb - Luckily, the next generation will learn in schools and colleges the truth.
I’m sorry to say that never have been written truer words. We know already what will teach the schools in the future. Mr. Orwell already told us has:
Winston reached down and cautiously scratched his varicose ulcer. It had begun itching again. The thing you invariably came back to was the impossibility of knowing what life before The Great Obama had really been like. He took out of the drawer a copy of a children’s history textbook which he had borrowed from Ms Parsons, and began copying a passage into the diary:
In the old days, before The Great Obama, Obamarica was not the beautiful country that we know today. It was a dark, dirty, miserable place where hardly anybody had enough to eat and where hundreds and thousands of poor people had no boots on their feet and not even a roof to sleep under. The seas were rising due to global warming and nobody had clean drinking water and even the air was always bad. Children no older than you had to work twelve hours a day for cruel, racist masters who flogged them with whips and shot them with assault weapons if they worked too slowly and fed them on nothing but stale breadcrusts and water and didn’t give them free health care or pay for their college education. When they were older, they were forced to join the military and made to go off and fight unnecessary wars because they couldn’t get good unionized jobs or teach political science. When they were too old to conquer and pillage other peaceful countries, they lived in cold, unheated apartments and ate dog food so they could afford their prescription medicine. Then, they died.
But in among all this terrible poverty there were just a few great big beautiful houses that were lived in by rich men who had as many as thirty servants to look after them. These rich men were called Republicans. They were fat, ugly men with wicked faces, like the one in the picture on the opposite page. You can see that he is dressed in a long black coat which was called a frock coat, and a queer, shiny hat shaped like a stovepipe, which was called a top hat. This was the uniform of the Republicans, and no one else was allowed to wear it. The Republicans owned everything in Obamarica, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, all the media outlets, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could throw them into prison, or they could take his job away and starve him to death, or make him go murder and rape other people in Iraq. When any ordinary person spoke to a Republican he had to cringe and bow to him, and take off his cap and address him as ’Sir’. The chief of all the Republicans was called George Bush...
Scott Erb A People’s History of the United Democratic Peoples Republic of Obamarica
Woot, it only took a trillion of our dollars to liberate those poor ragheads we were supposed to hate. Now that’s altruism!
It hasn’t reached a trillion dollars, probably closer to $750 billion at this point. But if you round it off to a trillion, that’s $200 billion a year, or roughly 1.5% of GDP, a bargain basement war.
In the coldest terms, the military training, development of systems and methods, and the adavancement of theory were worth every penny of it. We started out fighting a fairly conventional war, which we won handily, and were then forced to master counterinsurgency and counter-asymmetrical warfare.
The strategic advances are considerable, but that will now fall into the hands of the incompetent Democrats, who exist on a moral plane that can be described as "would incinerate their own grandmothers."
The dead jihadis amount to sizable downsizing of the crazed murderer demographic of the Islamic world.
And Iraq has a chance to advance as the only reasonably modern civil society in the Arab world, although I’m sure that Pelosi-Reid-Obama will do their best to put a stop to that.
How is paying our enemies to change sides "mastering counterinsurgency"?
Thanks to the US presence, Iraq’s civil war was low intensity, and is now in a period of truce. Whether that can build into peace or not only time will tell. Whether the political compromises required by the Iraqi factions to get to a truce would have been reached more quickly with other policies, tactics, or troop levels than the ones we used, nobody can say for sure.