Associated Press Analysis: U.S. Winning Iraq War

This is great news and it comes, remarkably, from the AP (it must be good if the news media is picking it up). Burns is describing exactly what the purpose and strategy of the surge was – empowering the Iraqi people. It’s a remarkable turn of events and a huge win for all of our fine forces over there getting the job done. Good luck and Godspeed with the work still to be done.

[ht - gatewaypundit]

Pentagon calls ‘The Surge’ total success

I love good news.

Surge Successful By Any Measure

WASHINGTON — The surge in Iraq has been a success by any measure, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said during a news conference July 23. 

The policy, announced by President Bush in December 2006, pushed additional brigades in to Iraq to provide a security umbrella so the Iraqi military could build and the country’s government could grow.

The surge has allowed Iraq to make improvements from security, political and economic standpoints, Morrell said. The last of the five surge brigade combat teams recently left Iraq.

“By every metric that we measure violence in Iraq, there has been a dramatic improvement from where things were before the surge,” Morrell said. “I’ll just point to one, and that is [that] in July of last year, we had 79 U.S. [servicemembers killed in action] in Iraq. We have four thus far this month.”

The dramatic security gains have provided room for political and economic successes. “You name it, it is happening in Iraq,” Morrell said. “Do you want to talk about political gains? We’ve had basically all the major benchmark legislation passed.”

[...]

There were, of course, other factors at work in the security improvement, Morrell said, but the surge and the change in U.S. counterinsurgency strategy made all else possible. The “Anbar Awakening” that allied formerly insurgent Sunni Muslims with the coalition and influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s cease-fire were other factors, he said, but he noted they didn’t happen independently of other events.

“If we think that Sadr acted in a vacuum, I think we’re kidding ourselves,” Morrell said. “There clearly was political and military pressure which caused him to make a decision to have his troops stand down.

“But we benefitted from it, no doubt,” he continued. “There’s no question that the awakening in Anbar, the cease-fire by Sadr, simultaneous to the surge, has helped the overall security situation in Iraq.”

It is important to realize that the real success of The Surge wasn’t just about more troops, it was a shift in tactics and counterinsurgency strategy. (This is the key point in Michael Yon’s book Moment of Truth, by the way.) I think the media has kind of simplified the surge into a numbers game, making it seem like Bush was just throwing more soldiers over there to fix a blunder. In reality, the new strategy – outlined by General Petraeus – required more troops to pull off. The military deserves huge credit here for adapting, figuring out what would work, and getting the job done. 

Of course, there are a few people for whom this may not seem like good news:

Washington Post: [Afghanistan's] strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq. +Candidates on Iraq

Quite the editorial from the WaPo the other day (emphasis mine):

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has a history of tailoring his public statements for political purposes, made headlines by saying he would support a withdrawal of American forces by 2010. But an Iraqi government statement made clear that Mr. Maliki’s timetable would extend at least seven months beyond Mr. Obama’s. More significant, it would be “a timetable which Iraqis set” — not the Washington-imposed schedule that Mr. Obama has in mind. It would also be conditioned on the readiness of Iraqi forces, the same linkage that Gen. Petraeus seeks. As Mr. Obama put it, Mr. Maliki “wants some flexibility in terms of how that’s carried out.”

Other Iraqi leaders were more directly critical. As Mr. Obama acknowledged, Sunni leaders in Anbar province told him that American troops are essential to maintaining the peace among Iraq’s rival sects and said they were worried about a rapid drawdown.

[...]

Charels Krauthammer made the case about a year ago about the importance of Iraq. Yesterday, this Washington Post Editorial joins him.

Yet Mr. Obama’s account of his strategic vision remains eccentric. He insists that Afghanistan is “the central front” for the United States, along with the border areas of Pakistan. But there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and any additional U.S. forces sent there would not be able to operate in the Pakistani territories where Osama bin Laden is headquartered. While the United States has an interest in preventing the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban, the country’s strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq, which lies at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and contains some of the world’s largest oil reserves. If Mr. Obama’s antiwar stance has blinded him to those realities, that could prove far more debilitating to him as president than any particular timetable.

I can’t usually stand Couric – but she deserves a great deal of credit here for actually asking the candidates tough questions about the war on terror:

Obama continues to insist that Afghanistan (the good war) is where we should be investing troops. What he doesn’t explain is why that would make any sense.
Also, for some reason he simply has ‘no idea’ what would have happened if the US had followed his advice rather than the surge. I have an idea: Iraq would have become a disastrous bloodbath – which is exactly where it was headed before the surge. In fact – this is exactly why the Iraqis are saying that “American troops are essential to maintaining the peace.” How is this such a tough hypothetical?

I have to give McCain major props here for cutting out all the ‘hypothetical’, ‘too difficult to know’ bullcrap. If you want to hear more of McCain’s statement you can check it out here. I especially appreciate this line, as Obama’s main talking point has been that McCain is basically Bush part 2 and all he wants to do is stay in Iraq:

I know those wars. I know conflicts. And I hate war. No one hates war more than the veteran who feels most plainly the loss of a veteran. And I know how to win wars.

[...]

We have succeeded in Iraq. We are winning. We will be making additional withdrawals as everybody acknowledged. We may have an advisory capacity as even Sen. Obama agrees. And we may have security arrangements that are in the interest of both countries. But the fact is victory is being achieved now. A stable society. Secure environment. Functioning government. Functioning legal system. All of the trappings of a nation where people can feel secure in their future in a free and independent nation. And that’s what we’ve succeeded in the strategy which will then mean we are winning the war and bring our troops home.

You can debate whether or not getting into Iraq was a good idea, but in my opinion – that will ultimately be determined by how we get out of Iraq. McCain thinks that victory there is possible, and that it is important not to leave until we reach that point. Obama thinks victory is impossible, and that we should get out ASAP.

We get to decide whose strategy would be best for America this fall.

Obama: Rather loose a war, than loose an election?

Q: If you had to do it over again, knowing what you know now, would you support the surge?

A: No, because, keep in mind that…

Q: You wouldn’t?

A: Keep in mind… These kinds of hypotheticals are very difficult. Hindsight is 20/20. But I think that, what I’m absolutely convinced of, is that at that time we had to change the political debate because the view of the Bush administration at that time was one that I just disagreed with.

So, something that has brought down violence 80% and American troop deaths from 78 to 5 per month – he would still oppose…because he disagreed with President Bush…? Is he saying he would still oppose something that has empowered Iraqis and saved American (and Iraqi) lives simply for political reasons?

Is this a gaffe, distraction, or a moment of clarity?

Obama and McCain on Iraq [audio + video]

Here are two recent speeches from John McCain and Barack Obama. The audio is from conservative commentator Dennis Prager’s radio show. Obviously, he favors McCain, but I think he presents both candidates view fairly and accurately and asks some very valid questions that need to be answered (which will not be asked by the media who, in my view, love Obama) and understood by anyone who is concerned about the situation in Iraq and national security. You, of course, can make your own judgements, but if you are interested in what conservatives think – this should be helpful. If nothing else, watch the video at the bottom.

Since I’ve gone on and on about Barack lately, why don’t we start with John McCain:

-McCain and Obama had totally opposite views of the surge.

-McCain points out that Obama laid down his Iraq policy before meeting with Petraeus, visiting Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.
-Question: Why is Obama going to Iraq, if he already knows what he is going to do?

-Obama opposed the tactics of the surge – which are the exact counter insurgency tactics we need to use in Afghanistan.

-John McCain’s was critical of Bush and supported the surge long before it was popular.

Now – Obama’s speech that his just gave before leaving for Iraq (in one big chunk – 12 minutes or so):

-Obama claims that Bush and McCain don’t have a strategy for success in Iraq, rather a strategy for staying in Iraq.

If you made it through all that, here is a little break down of some of Obama’s statements on Iraq, the surge, and other national security concerns:

In my opinion, John McCain’s plan, at least makes some sense. I don’t have a clue what Obama actually believes about national security. Do you?

Obama should campaign on ‘Focus’ amidst all the ‘Distractions’

I mentioned this story last night about the uncontrollable glee of our wonderful and totally non-biased media to meet with Obama in Iraq. He is guaranteeing to bring ‘hope’ and ‘change,’ after all. If that’s the case, why is he such a total downer on America? Listen to him talk about our need to ‘redeploy’ in Iraq, where we are finally (again) finally starting to hear some good news (no thanks to our media). Remember – this speech was given just the other day BEFORE his trip to Iraq:

Exactly! Redeploy to what?!? That’s exactly what the surge was – a redeployment.

More Obama (the host, Marl Levin is pretty harsh in this clip, but he’s making a great point):

Oh, again with the ‘Distractions.’ I’m surprised Obama is campaigning on ‘Change’ rather than something like ‘Focus’. Everything Obama has opposed or disliked he has called a ‘distraction.’

The fact that people were concerned about his 20 years hanging out with Jeremiah Wright who he described as, ‘like a father’… Distraction.

Launching his campaign at unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers house:

"...led a violent rampaging protest in Chicago, and took credit for numerous bombings around the United States. ... Ayers insists he has no regrets. "I acted appropriately in the context of those times,""

"...led a violent rampaging protest in Chicago, and took credit for numerous bombings around the United States. ... Ayers insists he has no regrets. "I acted appropriately in the context of those times,""

Just a distraction….

I don’t think it’s a distraction to ask questions about legitimate concerns. John McCain has years and years on the record serving this country. Obama does not. Thus, it is important to learn what the guy really believes. I don’t think that’s a ‘distraction’ from anything.

Here’s audio of an Obama voter who trusts that Obama will cause change.

Not to mention, Is Obama’s plan for withdrawal even possible? ABC doesn’t think so:

Facts on the ground…also Distractions?

My point is, ‘Change’ and ‘Hope’ are the real distractions from what Obama actual policy suggestions. What do you think? The presidential race is basically just one huge job interview. What qualities does Obama have that qualify him to be your president?

Surprise: Media Stars Will Accompany Obama Overseas

What do they mean by, ‘Media stars will accompany?” That’s exactly what Obama is: a media star.

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain’s trip to Iraq last March was a low-key affair: With a small retinue of reporters chasing him abroad, the NBC News anchor Brian Williams reported on Mr. McCain’s visit there from New York, including it in the “in other political news” portion of his newscast.

But when Senator Barack Obama heads for Iraq and other places overseas this summer, Mr. Williams is planning to catch up with him in person, as are the other two network evening news anchors, Charles Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS, who, like Mr. Williams, are far along in discussions to interview Mr. Obama on successive nights.

And while the anchors are jockeying for interviews with Mr. Obama at stops along his route, the regulars on the Obama campaign plane will have new seatmates: star political reporters from the major newspapers and magazines who are flocking to catch Mr. Obama’s first overseas trip since becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee. A “Meet the Press” interview is also being planned.

Read Full Story from the NYT

John McCain goes to Iraq to figure out what the heck is going on… Yawn from the press.

I for one think it’s great they’ll be there with Obama. Perhaps then someone will ask him why he praised the success of the surge, while opposing it.

…Not holding my breath though.

Much more on this tomorrow…

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