American Elephants


The Iraq War is Over. by The Elephant's Child
November 24, 2008, 4:58 pm
Filed under: History, Iraq, Military, Terrorism | Tags: , , ,

That’s what Michael Yon reports today in the New York Post.  Michael Yon has been reporting on the War on Terror since December 2004 at Michaelyon-online.com. His latest book is  Moment of Truth in Iraq , and I highly recommend it.  The civil war, he says, is completely over. Muqtada al-Sadr has lost a lot of support among the Shia.  Many view him as one whose influence derives solely from respect for his father.

The Iraqi Army continues to grow stronger and more professional by the month. Even the National Police, who last year were thought of as militia members in uniform and drew attacks, are slowly gaining acceptance and respect.  U.S. soldiers’ mentoring is working, and bonds of trust are being built between U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens.  “The United States”, says Yon, “has a new ally in Iraq.  And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit.”

Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.

Do read the whole short article. The media have lost interest in Iraq, and prefer to think of it, if they think of it at all, as Bush’s failed war.  It is instead, a great Bush success.  It’s hard now to remember what an awful situation Iraq was in 2003.

I remember the Iraqis voting for the first time. We all remember the purple fingers. U.S. soldiers guarding the Iraqis lined up to enter the polling place noted a very pregnant Iraqi woman in line.  She went into labor while she waited in line, and a U.S. Medic came to her aid, delivered the baby, and the woman planted the baby in the soldier’s arms, and went in to vote.
Do not belittle Iraqi democracy. A people who endured the torture, the terror and brutality of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein could teach us a few things about the importance of the right to vote.



Is The Iraq War Over? by The Elephant's Child

From Michael Yon, outstanding correspondent:

The war continues to abate in Iraq. Violence is still present, but, of course, Iraq was a relatively violent place long before Coalition forces moved in. I would go so far as to say that barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What’s left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it’s time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over.

From Abe Greenwald, at Commentary’s blog, Contentions:

The corkscrew landing is a rite of passage for travelers to Iraq, who feel the pull of gravity as their airplane make a rapid, spiraling descent to avoid ground fire.

So it was a surprise to one periodic visitor last week when the Royal Jordanian Airlines aircraft from Amman descended into Baghdad International Airport with the same lack of drama as any commuter flight anywhere. No sudden plunge, no tight rotation, no straightening out the flight path just before the runway.

It didn’t feel like flying into a war zone anymore.

And another example:

Alcohol is openly for sale once more in Baghdad. All over the Iraqi capital, drink stores, which closed their doors in early 2006 when sectarian strife was raging, have slowly begin to reopen. Two years ago, al-Qa’ida militants were burning down liquor stores and shooting their owners. Now around Saadoun Street, in the centre of the city, at least 50 stores are advertising that they have alcohol for sale.

The fear of being seen drinking in public is also subsiding.,. Young men openly drink beer in some, if not all, streets. A favourite spot where drinkers traditionally gathered is al-Jadriya bridge, which has fine views up and down the Tigris river. Two years ago even serious drunks decided that boozing on the bridge was too dangerous. But in the past three months they have returned, a sign that militant gunmen no longer decide what people in Baghdad do at night.

An excerpt from a correspondent on active duty in Iraq on David Frum’s Diary at NRO:

Best experience of my life, even for the days when I was praying pretty hard.

Have a lot of folks over here that, believe me, will, I think, remember the US the way that (the immediate) post-war Germans and French remembered us.

Hope so, anyway. They’re good people. Been through quite a bit (understatement of the last three decades). Still, trying to work things out and I think (hope) they can and will.

Anecdotal, but indicative.



Drunk on Bias! by American Elephant

From the “Are you freaking kidding me?” department:

“However you feel about her politics, I feel that Sen. Clinton received some of the most unfair, hostile coverage I’ve ever seen.”

- Katie Couric

Hmm, let’s see if I can think of anyone who has gotten more unfairor hostilecoverage.

Have you got any nominations? (h/t Instapundit)



Only Because Obama Hasn’t TALKED to Them Yet! by Emerald City Elephant

Obama's Childish Foreign Policy

From the Washington Post:

THREADED through the reports of progress in Iraq by Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker last week was the story of a larger failure: the inability of the United States and its allies to contain the growing aggressiveness of Iran. Since Gen. Petraeus and Mr. Crocker last reported to Congress seven months ago, Iranian-backed militias and “special groups” in Iraq have evolved from a shadow force into the largest remaining threat to U.S. forces and the Iraqi government. It was Iranian-supplied rockets that slammed into the Green Zone in recent days and Iranian-trained militants who stiffened the resistance to Iraqi government forces trying to gain control over the southern city of Basra. [read more]

Never fear! HOPE is here! If only Obama would TALK to them!

Good thing al Qaeda isn’t in Iraq!



Iraqis Continue Putting Democrats to Shame by American Elephant

Democrats finally gave up their “The War is Lost” and “The Surge is a Failure!” mantras once it became undeniable that the Surge has been a great success. They have since adapted the argument that there has been no political progress in Iraq. Of course that’s complete horsehockey as well. Iraqi leaders have come together to pass many very difficult, contentious laws that required a great deal of cooperation, compromise and trust.

I think Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman said it best (echoing our observations) when questioning General Petraeus on Capitol Hill last week:

“Hey, let’s be honest about this: The Iraqi political leadership has achieved a lot more political reconciliation and progress since September than the American political leadership has.”

Now we learn that Iraqis are continuing that progress, heedless of Democrats dishonest claims to the contrary:

At the same time, Iraq’s Cabinet ratcheted up the pressure on anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr by approving draft legislation barring political parties with militias from participating in upcoming provincial elections.

Al-Sadr, who heads the country’s biggest militia, the Mahdi Army, has been under intense pressure from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, also a Shiite, to disband the Mahdi Army or face political isolation.

Al-Sadr’s followers are eager to take part in the local elections because they believe they can take power away from rival Shiite parties in the vast, oil-rich Shiite heartland of southern Iraq.

And in a new move to stem the flow of money to armed groups, the government ordered a crackdown on militiamen controlling state-run and private gas stations, refineries and oil distribution centers.

It is believed that gas stations and distribution centers, especially in eastern Baghdad and some southern provinces, are covertly controlled by Shiite militiamen dominated by the Mahdi Army.

Can someone please explain how Democrats can fault Iraqis for being more willing to compromise and making more political progress than they have themselves?

(Hat tip: Rich Lowry at The Corner)




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