Agam's Gecko
Monday, November 24, 2008

en days ago, one of the very best correspondents working in Iraq -- blogger Michael Yon -- telephoned his friend Glenn Reynolds with a security update from Baghdad. Michael has truly seen it all over there (I've linked to his work quite often during this blog's lifetime), but it seems there won't be much more for him to do in Saddam's former playground. "The war is over and we won."
"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 think the violence will kick up again,' but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they're usually dour."
* In an emailed correction, he says NONE of the 10th MD have fired weapons in combat during this tour; around half of them are Iraq and/or Afghanistan combat veterans.

There is of course still some terrorist violence here and there, but nothing that constitutes a threat to the progress achieved. Training by the US troops has succeeded in the establishment of an Iraqi Army and an Iraqi National Police which are well thought of by the population, says Michael. A couple of years ago, the police were not trusted by the people, but even that has now changed.

More Americans were shot to death over the summer in Chicago than were killed during the same period in Iraq, where casualties are now the lowest since 2003. Michael Yon will now be focusing on Afghanistan, where much work remains to be done. Here's his latest Happy Ending story from Iraq.

I've read many other accounts from people who are very familiar with Iraq since 2003, and without exception they are amazed at the changes they see today. Here's a graphic illustration:

The scenes were recorded at the same location in the al Doura district of Baghdad. Even more remarkable, the full-of-life scene was recorded at night.
The 2007 video was shot April 29, 2007 with the 1/4 Cav., 4th IBCT.

The 2008 video was shot October 26, 2008 with the 7/10 Cav. 1st IBCT.
Before the "Surge" and after. Some people *cough*harryreid*cough* proclaimed defeat before it started. Others *cough*obama*cough* said the reinforcement could never work, while still others *cough*toomanytomention*cough* declared Gen. David Petraeus a traitor, and took out a NYT full page ad to say so.

So, no thanks to any of them, the courage and perseverance of the majority of the Iraqi people has paid off. Sure, Moqtada can still put a few thousand supporters into the streets for a Code Pink protest, but he's irrelevant now. And al Qaeda in Iraq is now even more irrelevant -- the good citizens of Iraq want nothing to do with the vile thugs.

And if the next president of the US had had his way, all American forces would have been completely out of the country eight months ago. The above second scene at al Doura district would still remain a distant hope for life-loving Iraqis. Had that been the case, a video recorded less than a month ago would likely have looked much worse than the one eighteen months earlier.
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
- President John F. Kennedy
President Bush's detractors will never get that, and there's no point in waiting for them to get it. He knew what needed to be done, and he saw it through to success. History will record that, whether or not the current "media" sees fit to acknowledge it.

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