The Gray Lady Concedes – “We Are Finally Getting Somewhere In Iraq”

Loading

Yes, this article written in one of the most liberal, biased, newspapers in the country by two men from a center-left think tank is quite shocking.  Shocking because the writers now agree somewhat with what many of us conservatives have been saying.  We can win this war.  I’ve never doubted it.  Almost everyone on the left doubted it and even some on the right jumped on onto the defeatist bandwagon.  But now two lefties have come back with some optimism.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. 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.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

The authors even point out that one big reason things have changed is we now have a common enemy.  al-Qaeda:

In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.

But here is the rub.  The Democrats have too much invested in the "Bush was wrong, Iraq is a disaster" mantra to actually concede that sending Gen. Petraeus was a brilliant move on Bush’s part.  That his ability to recognize the fact that what he and his Generals had done earlier did not work was key to his decision to change course.  Many stubborn leaders would have trudged on in failure.  But not Bush.

They will not concede any of this.  So look out New York Times.  While I give you kudos for having the balls to print this article I have a feeling the nutroots will be at your door with pitchforks ready to burn any words that dare to say…

Bush was right.

UPDATE

It’s started.  This blogger believes that these two writers, who have worked in Democrat administrations in the past, should now be banned from ever working in another one because they have lost all credibility.

UPDATE II

Wretchard with his usual eloquence:

Interestingly, al-Qaeda chose to make Iraq its decisive arena of confrontation with the United States. The US came to Iraq primarily to topple Saddam Hussein and remove one "state sponsor of terrorism" but it was Al-Qaeda that rushed in to stake its reputation there. A networked insurgency with followers in many Muslim countries could have chosen to attack America elsewhere. But instead it decided to focus its efforts on driving the US from Iraq. For that purpose its leadership established al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and funneled recruits into it from all over the world. This force was tasked with the explicit political goal of creating a Islamic Caliphate that would provide a prototype for a future Islamic state after the hated Americans had been driven out. Therefore much of the post-Saddam violence was probably the consequence of al-Qaeda’s decision to flood all the resources of world terrorism into Iraq. Clearly Zarqawi’s clear intention from the Samarra mosque bombing onward was to incite as much violence as he could. Given that al-Qaeda made Iraq the center of its global efforts, O’Hanlon and Pollack’s admiration of MNF-I’s decision to focus against it seems perplexing. Surely Petraeus had no alternative? Surely he was simply picking up the gauntlet? But that would not quite be true. Through much of 2005 and 2006 a variety of lines were suggested. Some argued that the US should lash out against Syria or Iran for allowing "militants" to transit their borders. Some believed Shi’a militias should be the primary target operations. Until recently many argued — and still argue — that al-Qaeda didn’t exist in Iraq at all; so how could MNF-I focus against what was not there? So while taking on al-Qaeda now seems the obvious choice, in retrospect there were many other candidates vying for the title of Center of Gravity. Those bad guys still remain, but MNF-I saw al-Qaeda in Iraq as the key to the position and that choice, according to O’Hanlon and Pollack, appears to be the right one.

Time will tell. But if focusing on al-Qaeda in Iraq is the right choice the most interesting question is why. My own guess is that by attacking al-Qaeda, the US took engaged not only the most fanatical force in Iraq but the one with the most powerful narrative. And by shrewdly matching kinetic warfare with political warfare, organizing the victims of al-Qaeda’s depredations, it brought the myth down to earth. As long as al-Qaeda remained an "idea" it might be regarded as invincible, a mystical will o’ the wisp. But once this mystical force was forced to materialize in Iraq, it became embodied in the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his henchmen, who, viewed up close, turned out to be nothing more than brutal gangsters of the lowest and most sadistic type instead of latter day Companions of the Prophet. Even Zawahiri, despite his pretensions to refinement, could not avoid discrediting himself as he proved unable to resist threatening to gouge people’s eyes out if they did not follow his bidding. It is said that no man is a hero to his own valet. Familiarity with the genuine article brought disillusionment, contempt and finally hatred for al-Qaeda.

He also points out that the authors write in surprise how integrated the US and Iraqi military units are.  But this did not happen over night.  It took lots of work to build that trust, to weed out the bad.  Work that has been ongoing since the beginning and each year has built upon the success or the failure of the regime before it.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
11 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Posted on this article as well…to say I was shocked is a major understatement to have anything remotely positive coming from these two. Can you imagine how really good it must be going for them to make such statements! I can’t wait to get there next week and see for myself.

I guess you guys really dont get this (real) journalism thingie.

Despite the constant propaganda of the right, the fact is that institutions like the NYT are NOT like institutions of the right – they are NOT propaganda machines for a particular ideology.

To wit – this opinion piece was not, in any sense, a reflection of the views of the NYT. The notion of the “grey lady conceding” is absurd. This was an opinion piece that the Times published because it reflects what they consider to be a responsible perspective on the situation, irrespective of the extent that it agrees or disagrees with the position of the paper itself, or irresepctive of whether the Times thinks it is correct.

Its part of the striving for “objectivity” or fairness, or fostering the national debate in a responsible manner that is so alien to the right, so much an object of ridicule for the right.

When was the last time you saw an op-ed from a conservative who has turned against the war on the pages of the WSJ, or the Moonie Times?

Oh, and Wretchard is mind-numbingly wrong in his assessment.

” For that purpose its leadership established al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)”

Ah, no. The al-Q-in-Iraq group chose to ally itself with Al-Q central, and central accpeted to lend them their brand. The notion that the al-Q-in iraq originated from al-Q central is just plain wrong.

“Therefore much of the post-Saddam violence was probably the consequence of al-Qaeda’s decision to flood all the resources of world terrorism into Iraq.”

And this is total nonsense. 95% of the violence over the past 4 years has NOT been related whatsoever to al-Q.

These are straightforward facts that everyone understands. How can you sustain respect for people who just make up stuff like this?

Despite the constant propaganda of the right, the fact is that institutions like the NYT are NOT like institutions of the right – they are NOT propaganda machines for a particular ideology.

I almost fell outta my chair laughing after reading that. Wow, how naive.

Oh, and these leftist propaganda rags like the NYT’s do indeed decide which editorial to put up which best reflects their views of certain situations. You never see a conservative viewpoint in that piece of garbage newspaper, and for good reason, they are a liberal propaganda machine. This is the reason so many are shocked at this editorial.

Explain it away all you want. I know it will make you sleep better knowing your pink sky is still pink….but the fact remains that the NYT’s does not print differing view points, until know that is.

Ah, no. The al-Q-in-Iraq group chose to ally itself with Al-Q central, and central accpeted to lend them their brand. The notion that the al-Q-in iraq originated from al-Q central is just plain wrong.

Buzzzzz! Wrong again. al-Zarqawi was inside Iraq as early as 2002 to set this up with the full knowledge of Saddam. Please do some research outside of KOS and DummiesU propaganda before you spew such misinformation.

And this is total nonsense. 95% of the violence over the past 4 years has NOT been related whatsoever to al-Q.

/slaphead

Man, you really are dense.

“Yes, this article written in one of the most liberal, biased, newspapers in the country by two men from a center-left think tank is quite shocking.”

Oh, yes, quite shocking that two pro-Iraq-war analysts should come out saying the war might still be winnable. Those guys are not liberals and they are certainly not anti-war types. They have criticized Bush’s management of the occupation, but everybody has done that. The New York Times ran their article as an opinion piece, not an editorial from the Times. Nothing has changed whatsoever—except the Iraqi parliament went on vacation, and that effectively means the Surge is dead.

k5

…two pro-Iraq-war analysts…

Two guys from the left leaning Brookings Institute are “pro war analyists”.

LOL.

So O’Hanlon and Pollack’s piece just makes Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi look foolish for trying to strangle the surge even before General Petraeus submits his progress report in September. I previously thought that the best we could hope for is a few ambiguous signs that the surge is working, but certainly nothing that would quell Democratic screams to withdraw. I still think that’s the case – that no amount of evidence will convince the most ardent anti-war activists or reverse politicians like Reid, who has cast his lot with the nutroots and has a vested political interest in seeing the U.S. fail in Iraq, to support the war effort. But again, when two Brookings wonks say things like “there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008” you gotta think it has the Democrats really nervous.

And so it should. This certainly doesn’t portend well for the Democrats, who own defeat in Iraq. And that may be the real “quagmire.”

The first piece of good news (there’s been thousands) published by the NYSlimes and the dhimmi’s want to ban them from ‘being’ democrats. ROFL. I’ll wager that both of the writers have voted democrat only for years. Maybe the NYSlimes finally realized that 300 million people know they have been lying (only dim dhimmi’s would think different) like worthless dogs, so they decided to join the majority before they go down the drain as an organization. I think they’re a day late and a whole lot of dollars (readers) short. They’re still facing major cutbacks in employees and circulation.

both o’hanlon and pollack were for the war long before they were against it…their reputations take a shot in the arm if we somehow succeed…which NO ONE seems able to define. (by the way bill kristol has also criticized the prosecution of this thing…does that make him a democrat?) in addition their OPINION piece ignores a great deal in order to make it’s point. ok…so all well and good. almost 4000 soldiers and two trillion dollars later we are (arguably) beginning to make some progress. what will it cost us in lives and dollars to actually close the deal? the iraqi military and the iraqi government are no shows…how long do we wait? and on what planet does this cost-benefit analysis make sense? now…someone is going to make a personal attack on me because of my point of view(inevitable it seems), and claim in all seriousness (even though their predictions to date have been all wrong) that if we leave chaos will explode. so by that logic we are left with no other option but to pursue a course of action brought about by our own original course of action. which o’hanlon and pollack supported before they didn’t.

“their reputations take a shot in the arm if we somehow succeed…”

…or if we fail. Basically these authors are right (& wrong) either way. And that’s what makes touting this as any kinda revelation or revolution in liberal thought so silly.
Yes, they are moderate Democrats from a moderate think tank. But they argued in favor of the invasion and in favor of the surge. I’m not so shocked that they think it’s all working out, or that they’re suggesting another F.U. or two, to see that it does.

That isn’t to say that what they say in the op-ed is false… Maybe the surge is working, and the new general & new head of defense deserve a lot of credit. I hope it is, because I want this war to end.

But touting it as any kinda change in mainstream liberal thinking is just false advertising.

Last fall…about A YEAR AGO…Democratic party leaders, and leaders of the politically farthest left, all told us that America wanted a New Direction in Iraq. Ok. Then the Democrats got elected into office, demanded the President send more troops to Iraq, and he did. The very day the order was leaked, those same politicians who had called for more troops to get sent to Iraq flip flopped, went back on their pre-election promise not to demand withdrawal from Iraq, and demanded withdrawal despite the fact that the President was changing direction in Iraq. Then polls showed something else…something that the left chooses to ignore. The polls showed that while Americans didn’t like the war in Iraq, they did NOT and have NEVER supported withdrawal. The New Direction that the American people had been told they’d get, the one they’d been promised, the one they expected, the one they hoped for, and the one they were never given by Democrats…was a new direction towards success.

Meanwhile, flushed with glee that they’d misled the American people into giving them control of both houses of Congress, Democratic party leaders and their controllers began to openly, freely, and eagerly parrot the enemy’s objectives and even their rhetoric-often verbatim. The problem is that even months before the President’s New Direction in Iraq was halfway started, it was already meeting with success. Now, after all the troops are in place it’s meeting with even greater success. Those Democratic party leaders and their controllers don’t see it because they’ve convinced themselves that the generals (honorable men as opposed to career lawyer politicians who advocate American defeat as a policy) are the liars.

What got me about the NYT article was other similar articles that popped up within days as well…articles that show support among the American people for the invasion of Iraq as well as for the war there now…is rising. Why? Could it be that the people who have been crying, “The sky is falling, the army is broken, we can’t continue for another 4 months, the enemy is getting stronger, it’s a civil war, Al Queda’s not even in Iraq, etc” those people-the political leaders, their controllers, and the media parrots have all been revealed as the worst liars, manipulators, and the most misleading element in the war?

Think about it

The politicians who promised a new direction for success, admitted they never even formed a committee to brainstorm ideas before being elected. Then they called for more troops, but when the President did what they demanded, they flip flopped. Then to form their promised new direction plan, they went to Syria and met with one of the biggest sponsors of the insurgency, and following those 12/06 to 2/07 meetings the politicians took up the enemy’s objective, the enemy’s rhetoric, and the enemy’s propaganda as their own by declaring the war a lost cause, and advocating defeat as a policy.

Those who control the politicians have completely gone off the deep end since the election last year. Check out the far left websites and it’s impossible to ignore that most people posting there, the party’s contributors in money and effort, have come to hate Republicans, the Bush Administration, and anyone who disagrees with their policies more than they hate the enemy. In most cases they don’t even recognize the enemy!

And the msm. Yep, after years of telling Americans and the world that all is lost, they’ve been proven so wrong for so long that more and more American people have come to realize that the NYT and other left-leaning media outlets just aren’t reliable. Thanks to the internet and direct, real time emailing from soldiers at the front as well other alternative information sources, people are now realizing that the war is not being reported on accurately at all by most traditional media sources. If there is a single constant in the entire Iraq War it’s that the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have been to Iraq all come home and tell their families that the war is not being reported on accurately.

Four years after hearing the war is hopeless, Americans now see that the voices carrying that message aren’t being truthful, and so…support for the war is rising. It’s not that people “like” the war. It’s that people realize it’s the only option. Doubt it? Well, sorry, but even Chris Matthews and others have now come to that same conclusion. The NYT article demonstrates this.
The polls of the American people’s lack of desire to withdraw show this.
Chris Matthews and his leftist panel agree too
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/07/29/shocking-chris-matthews-discussion-maybe-we-shouldn-t-leave-iraq

Democrats
Their controllers
and the msm

all have been proven liars, misleaders, and defeatist, and the American people are seeing through it now. As a result, the support for those Democratic party leaders has become as non-binding as their faux opposition to the war in Iraq. When the Democrats took Congress, their approval was over 50%. Now it’s clinging near 14%. That’s hardly binding support.

A War We Just Might Win

If that is what it looks like to two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration, just think what it looks like to a really objective reporter.