Catching Up with miscellaneous Stuff
We've got Mike Yon's report on the surge thus far.
"Well, you know, al Qaeda’s not been wiped out of Iraq by any means, and there’s still some serious fighting to do. But what we have seen is if you give al Qaeda time, they will alienate the local population for us. So I mean, they almost prep it for us to get rid of them. You know, a lot of them that were not killed or captured here in Baquba in the last three weeks did move out to other places. So they’re not gone. I mean, so there’s some truth to what Mick Ware says. However, there are fewer and fewer hiding places for them to go. They can’t go to the south in Basra. They’re not welcome there. They can’t, there’s only a few places they can go to in Anbar, and those are drying up. There’s fewer places in Diyala, and what is left is drying up. They certainly cannot go to the Kurdish regions, because they will be killed. So they can still go to Nineveh, but the ISF in Nineveh is up where Mosul is the capitol. They can go up there, but the ISF, or the Iraqi Security Forces up there are pretty well advanced, and they can hold their own now, and I saw them doing it again earlier this year when I was back in Nineveh. You know, I spent a good part of 2005 up there. So you know, I’ve seen tremendous progress in different parts of Iraq, but this is not going to be solved in six months or a year. We’ve just got to settle in for the long haul, but you know, if you’ve been here long enough, you can see that progress is being made."
Dadmanly discusses the editorial in the Washington Post, which questions whether we can judge the progress of the war as quickly after changing strategy as certain critters in Congress wish to. Of course, we already know what the verdict would be if the media got their way. Just ask the US News and World Report. If half of the benchmarks aren't met, then half of them are, right?
Of course, these 'benchmarks' are questionable anyway, as the Wall Street Journal reminds us. After all, we don't have to live with the consequences of withdrawal.
"You can't build a whole policy on a fear of a negative, but, boy, you've really got to account for it," he said. "In the States, it's like we're in the last half of the third reel of a three-reel movie, and all we have to do is decide we're done here . . . and we leave the theater and go on to something else. Whereas out here, you're just getting into the first reel of five reels, and ugly as the first reel has been, the other four and a half are going to be way, way worse."
Jules Crittenden takes the media to task for their portrayal of events on the ground. Most notable is the AP, which writes about Buqabah in a manner described thusly:
"The story is all about failure. The failure to control this village. The failure of Iraqi forces to provide follow-on security in areas U.S. troops have cleared. It tells us, “Fleeing insurgents appear to be trying to capture more territory farther north in Diyala, where Iraqi security forces are fewer.”
"It doesn’t say why. Because they have been run out of Baquba, after being run out of Baghdad and Anbar. The three-week operation to clear Baquba has been highly successful, with the loss of one soldier, according to Michael Yon. Can this possibly be true? One soldier killed in three weeks of what is routinely described as bitter fighting in Baquba, fighting that has run al-Qaeda out of the much-vaunted IED-saturated stronghold where al-Qaeda was executing people in the city square. How is that not a screaming headline?"
J.D. Johannes has another report on the Surge. He's of an opinion with Mike Yon and others regarding ground reality. Of course, it doesn't seem to matter much what we do.
"According to Pew Research, the percentage of Americans who opine that America's military operations are "going well" slid from 38% in May '07 to 34% in June; those who believe our military operations are "not going well" increased from 57% of respondents to 61%.
"The same Pew poll found that only 30% of the public could identify General David Patraeus and only 27% could identify Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 59% of respondents were unaware that Shi'ites constitute the majority religious group in Iraq. Precise knowledge of the war's progress is obviously scarce. Yet 95% of respondents have defined opinions on the success of our arms."
Pardon me while I vomit heavily.
"The Media Research Center defined as "optimistic" coverage that "reported on achievements or victories" for coalition forces. It defined as "pessimistic" reports that emphasized "setbacks, misdeeds or pessimism about [coalition] progress in Iraq."
"The MRC report, "The Iraq War on Cable TV," concluded the following:
Ø On Fox, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 3-to-2;
Ø On MSNBC, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 4-to-1; and
Ø On CNN, pessimistic coverage outweighed optimistic coverage 6-to-1."In fact, what American mainstream media most strongly resembles is a propaganda machine for the enemy. In past wars, the enemy had to put out their own propaganda. This is no longer the case.
And it ain't just the media! Congress gets in on the act, too. Of course, no one wants to listen to either the professionals nor those most involved in the question.
The Army Lawyer is one of the few people I read with an opinion of Congresscritters almost as bad as mine. He's right.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, the Taliban/al-Qaeda loons are getting stronger. I thought the deal was that we don't press for removal of Pakistan's Islamist dictator on the ground that he fights terrorism. Not with the understanding that he could concede huge chunks of his nation to them as a safe haven. I could be wrong.The Grey Dog, a long-time reader (as I am of his) has a modest proposal for how to fix this mess, or at least guarantee that no Democrat could get elected in 2008.
The Navy has decided to join the war in Iraq in serious force. Navy advisors have been present in Iraq attached to Army units for reasons I can't discuss. Seabees have also been a big part of the construction effort in Iraq on FOBs. But this is new.
On the lighter side, the Brits provide a case of the least subtle method of terrorist infiltration, ever.
The Iranians have taken stern measures to prevent Western infiltration of their homeland. One wonders when the latest detainees will be paraded on TV.
You want to know how to screw the morale of a Soldier or Marine and embarrass him for life? Write a whiny, self-pitying letter to the editor. Get over yourself, honey. Your Son is a Marine. He volunteered, he's a grown man. He isn't the kid you knew ten or twenty years ago, and all this nonsense is a pathetic attempt to garner sympathy. All you're doing is embarrassing him.
And finally, Military Motivator gets it right once again.