Other Opinons

Published 3:32 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2007

By Staff
Iraqi surge categorically working
The much-maligned U.S. troop surge that was implemented nearly nine months ago in Iraq is categorically working – to the dismay of President Bush's critics, I might add. Couched in that assessment is my belief that some would prefer the surge to fail rather than give the president his due.
As hard as it is for me to say it, I believe that to be the case.
Remember just a short time ago when two oversight committees, one from the Senate and one from the House, combined to hold hearings in what appeared to be an attempt to embarrass the President and the architect of the strategy, General David Petraeus, regarding the surge? It was considered by some Democrats at the time that taking an opposing position on the surge would play to their advantage in upcoming elections. In fact, many on the committee flatly predicted that the strategy was doomed to failure before the first boots ever hit the ground. As the hearings drew to a close, it became clear to me and other objective observers that the hearings produced nothing more than a shameful display of politics trumping a national security issue.
As the facts now show, those committee members who took issue with the surge strategy could not have been more wrong.
According to Major General Rick Lynch, commanding officer in Baghdad, October was the second consecutive month where US military and Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly lower. Lynch attributes the reduction to the surge strategy and a groundswell of support coming from ordinary Iraqi citizens who seem to be tired of the death and destruction dealt to them by al-Qaeda terrorists living in their midst.
As the troop numbers increased, the surge appears to have given the Iraqis a new hope for the future, inspiring more than 20,000 volunteers to sign up for military service in Baghdad alone over the last four months.
But, the real benefit from the surge, in addition to killing and capturing large numbers of al-Qaeda operatives, appears to be a new-found cooperation between Iraqi citizens and US military personnel. To be sure, Iraqi citizens have always wanted the protection that our young soldiers guaranteed while patrolling the streets of Baghdad. But, now those same citizens (Sunni and Shiite) are providing volumes of intelligence to those same soldiers as to whom the bad guys are and, more importantly, where they can be found.
Consequently, pre-emptive strikes carried out by Coalition Forces have seriously eroded many of the al-Qaeda cells which previously operated with impunity.
With Sunnis and Shiites finally working together in many neighborhoods and al-Qaeda seemingly on the run, civilian deaths are down 59 percent. Roadside bombings that once targeted mostly US military personnel have plummeted nearly 80 percent.
Meanwhile, the turn-a-round in Anbar Province, once the most violent piece of real estate in Iraq, has been nothing short of spectacular. Sunni and Shiite factions have come together to all but eliminate the al-Qaeda element.
However, as the news from the war zone rapidly improves, it still hasn't prevented Democratic Congressman Pete Starke and others from continued criticism of Bush's Iraq policy. Starke went to the house floor where he chided the Commander in Chief for sending our young soldiers to Iraq &#8220to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement.”
That's pretty heavy stuff, if you ask me.
Charlie Brown
Andalusia Star News
Or, how about several lawmakers in the California delegation, including Senator Barbara Boxer, suggesting in no uncertain terms that the current firestorm now racing across the southern part of the state might have been limited or eliminated had Bush not sent most of the National Guard equipment to Iraq.
That prompts me to ask the question. Are these people nuts – or what?