Monday, July 30, 2007

From New York Times: Iraq - A War We Just Might Win

See Win New York Times Op/Ed piece published July 30, 2007
A War We Just Might Win by Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack

· “As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration … we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce … a sustainable stability”
· “administration’s critics … seem unaware of the significant changes taking place”
· “The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.”
· “civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began”
· “In Ramadi … the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda — who were now competing to secure [US] friendship”
· Baghdad “street slowly coming back to life with stores and shoppers” “genuinely happy with the American soldiers and a mostly Kurdish Iraqi Army company patrolling the street”
· “northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul … American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate”
· “A local mayor told us his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq”
· “things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed”
· “far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion”
· “General Petraeus’s determination to hold areas … no more whack-a-mole, with insurgents popping back up after the Americans leave”
· “outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and … as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army” “in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help”
· “Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor”
· “there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort”


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