In the vast flow of words and images, there is occasionally a paragraph or two that says something really important. This excerpt from Michael Yon is such :
By 2007, the Iraqis were doing most of the fighting. And…this is very important…they see our Army and Marines as serious allies, and in many cases as friends. Please let the potential implications of that sink in.
We now have a large number of American and British officers who can pick up a phone from Washington or London and call an Iraqi officer that he knows well — an Iraqi he has fought along side of — and talk. Same with untold numbers of Sheiks and government officials, most of whom do not deserve the caricatural disdain they get most often from pundits who have never set foot in Iraq. British and American forces have a personal relationship with Iraqi leaders of many stripes. The long-term intangible implications of the betrayal of that trust through the precipitous withdrawal of our troops could be enormous, because they would be the certain first casualties of renewed violence, and selling out the Iraqis who are making an honest-go would make the Bay of Pigs sellout seem inconsequential. The United States and Great Britain would hang their heads in shame for a century.
Alternately, in an equation in which the outcome is a stable Iraq for which they (Iraqi Police and Army officials) are stewards, the potential benefits are equally enormous. Because if Iraq were to settle down, and then a decade passes and we look back and even our most severe critics cannot deny that Iraq is a better place, a generation of Iraq’s most important leaders would have deep personal bonds with their counterparts in America and Great Britain. This could actually happen.
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