November 24, 2007

"Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain"

Good piece by Ralph Peters in the NY Post, IRAQ: WHAT WENT RIGHT

....Attacks of every kind are down by at least half - in some cases by more than three-quarters. A wounded country's struggling back to health. And our mortal enemies, al Qaeda's terrorists, have suffered a defeat from which they may never fully recover: They've lost street cred.

Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain.What happened? How did this startling turnabout come to pass? Why does the good news continue to compound?

Some of the reasons are widely known, but others have been missed. Here are the "big five" reasons for the shift from near-failure to growing success:

We didn't quit: Even as some of us began to suspect that Iraqi society was hopelessly sick, our troops stood to and did their duty bravely. The tenacity of our soldiers and Marines in the face of mortal enemies in Iraq and blithe traitors at home is the No. 1 reason why Iraq has turned around.

Without their valor and sacrifice, nothing else would've mattered. Key leaders were courageous, too - men such as now-Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno. Big Ray was pilloried in our media for being too warlike, too aggressive and just too damned tough on our enemies.

Well, the Ray Odiernos, not the hearts-and-minds crowd, held the line against evil. Only by hammering our enemies year after year were we able to convince them that we couldn't - and wouldn't - be beaten. If the press wronged any single man or woman in uniform, it was Odierno - thank God he was promoted and stayed in the fight....

....The surge: While the increase in troop numbers was important, allowing us to consolidate gains in neighborhoods we'd rid of terrorists and insurgents, the psychological effect of the surge was crucial.

Pre-surge, our enemies were convinced they were winning - they monitored our media, which assured them that America would quit. Sorry, Muqtada - that's what you get for believing The New York Times. The message sent by the surge was that we not only wouldn't quit, but also were upping the ante. It stunned our enemies - while giving Sunni Arabs disenchanted with al Qaeda the confidence to flip to our side without fear of abandonment.....

You don't have to read much history to see that wars and battles tend to be most ferocious and deadly just before the end. The fact that casualties are rising and things are becoming more difficult does NOT mean that you are losing! Unfortunately it has been impossible to debate the Iraq Campaign rationally with peace-niks because (along with 999 other reasons), they won't make their position explicit on this point.

Oh well, since we can't win the debate, we must just go ahead and win the campaign.

I also get especially infuriated by the notion—never expressed clearly enough so one can debate it—that if in battle we seize a position, and then the enemy counter-attacks furiously, it means we've done something wrong! That's just so stupid. The opposite is almost always true. If we piss off our enemies, we are probably on the right track.

Remember Little Round Top, at the Battle of Gettysburg? A few men seizing that pile of rocks, and then both sides throwing more and more more men into the struggle for the hill. Hey, you Lefties out there, that was stupid, right? That was a "totally mismanaged" battle, right? I mean, what could be more mistaken, thousands dying over a hillock you wouldn't even notice as you drove by? Right?

Posted by John Weidner at November 24, 2007 8:06 AM
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