March 7, 2006

Worth noting...

Ralph Peters of the NY Post, is in Iraq, and writes:

AMONG the many positive stories you aren't being told about Iraq, the media ignored another big one last week: In the wake of the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, it was the Iraqi army that kept the peace in the streets.

It's routinely declared a failure by those who yearn for the new Iraq to fail. But an increasingly capable Iraqi military has been developing while reporters (who never really investigated the issue) wrote it off as hopeless.

What actually happened last week, as the prophets of doom in the media prematurely declared civil war?

* The Iraqi army deployed over 100,000 soldiers to maintain public order. U.S. Forces remained available as a backup, but Iraqi soldiers controlled the streets.

* Iraqi forces behaved with discipline and restraint - as the local sectarian outbreaks fizzled, not one civilian had been killed by an Iraqi soldier.

* Time and again, Iraqi military officers were able to defuse potential confrontations and frustrate terrorist hopes of igniting a religious war.

* Forty-seven battalions drawn from all 10 of Iraq's army divisions took part in an operation that, above all, aimed at reassuring the public. The effort worked - from the luxury districts to the slums, the Iraqis were proud of their army.....

If you've studied much military history, you will know that creating an army is extremely difficult. Creating an Arab army that can come close to Western standards, especially US and Israeli standards has never been done. This is actually a huge rebuke to those who think that the Arab world is incapable of change, and are doomed to be our enemies, all of them.

And yes, yes, I know that lots of things can still go wrong. But if I had said a couple of years ago that a major upheaval in Iraq in early 2006 would be dealt with without the need for US intervention, and without any (that I've heard of) failures or mistakes by the Iraqi Army, most people would have called me a crazy dreamer.

Posted by John Weidner at March 7, 2006 8:15 AM
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