ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

H/T Gateway Jim

The AP is reporting yet more success in the War in Iraq

6,000 Sunnis join pact with US in Iraq

HAWIJA, Iraq - Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.

The new alliance — called the single largest volunteer mobilization since the war began — covers the "last gateway" for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias — mainly Sunnis — that had turned against al-Qaida and other groups.

Extremists have sought new footholds in northern areas once loyal to Saddam Hussein's Baath party as the U.S.-led gains have mounted across central regions. But their ability to strike near the capital remains.

A woman wearing an explosive-rigged belt blew herself up near an American patrol near Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, the military announced Wednesday. The blast on Tuesday — a rare attack by a female suicide bomber — wounded seven U.S. troops and five Iraqis, the statement said.

The ceremony to pledge the 6,000 new fighters was presided over by a dozen sheiks — each draped in black robes trimmed with gold braiding — who signed the contract on behalf of tribesmen at a small U.S. outpost in north-central Iraq.

For about $275 a month — nearly the salary for the typical Iraqi policeman — the tribesmen will man about 200 security checkpoints beginning Dec. 7, supplementing hundreds of Iraqi forces already in the area.

About 77,000 Iraqis nationwide, mostly Sunnis, have broken with the insurgents and joined U.S.-backed self-defense groups.
Now, many on the Left (Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Stupid Country, etc) will see such news and still ridiculously make the claim that the war is a failure.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, they remain in their bubble, refusing to admit the facts that military and political progress are being made at the local level throughout the country.

Regardless of everything, their response is the same:

"It. Is. A. Loss."

It's also important to know that, as outlined by David Kilcullen in his interview with Charlie Rose, a shift of 77,000 fighters from the insurgency to the Coalition side isn't a 77,000 loss for the insurgency.

It's a 144,000 man loss.

And, the ability of those 77,000 men is much greater than 77,000 US troops, since that number of US troops would only actually mean in approximately 20,000 rifles facing the enemy, whereas the Iraqi converts do not require such a logistical chain and come with the benefit of being more capable of obtaining intelligence in communities, developing community relations, etc.

Here's the video:

Memo to the Left: Keep your head in the sand, please. We'll win this war while you continue to push the idea that we're losing.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (8)
Stupid Country said...

I don't know how to feel about this. On one hand, I suddenly find myself in famous company, which is sort of flattering. But then I've been pretty critical of both Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton. So...can I say thanks, on balance?

Again, however, until there is some evidence that calming violence in parts of Iraq does what Bush always said it was supposed to do -- allow the Iraqi government to move forward with even the most basic political accords -- I'm going to stick with my premise that tactical military gains are fine but do not justify the mythical claim that "the surge is working." The term "working" implies that the Iraqis are experiencing a positive improvement in their status as a nation -- not just burying fewer beheaded relatives.

So far, all I see is a trend toward agreements between the US and Nouri al-Maliki, such as the recent attempts to delay the troop withdrawals; from the Iraqi side, the terms are only those that al-Maliki can impose by fiat, bypassing the Parliament entirely.

I foresee the Administration securing an array of edicts from al-Maliki (made without Parliamentary involvement and unenforceable in large chunks of the country) and holding them up as face-saving evidence of a working central government. If al-Maliki can only get things done by marginalizing the Parliament, we can't really say we've succeeded in creating a democratic model for the region, now, can we? I think even the Bush Administration has pretty much given up on seeing that by the end of 2008.

You have my word on this: When Parliamentary democracy shows the faintest sign of a pulse in Iraq, I'll allow that the surge is beginning to work.

But I'll still be asking whether any of this was worth the five-year bloodbath we have frog-marched the Iraqis through...whether they have any reason to be grateful to us for it...and whether the people of any other despotically ruled society would welcome an Iraq-style rescue by American troops. It frustrates me that no one ever asks that question in presidential debates.

St Wendeler said...

SC - That's an awfully long "yeah, but..."

Even John "Okinawa" Murtha is admitting that the surge is working.

Secondly, I'll continue to point out that the Sunni awakening and the reversal in manpower from insurgency to the Iraqi government isn't merely a tactical military gain - it's a political gain. (As Clausewitz points out, war is an extension of politics, and to be sure, the number of supporters that have switched from the insurgency to the Iraqi government forces is an indication of a political change.)

In addition, while laws regarding the distribution of oil revenues are still pending, revenues are being distributed to the provinces for reconstruction. And, no... there isn't a de-Baathification law on the books. But if you think that the Sunni's are leaving the insurgency and joining the government in a variety of positions, isn't that a form of de-Baathification?

You can continue to look for the flaws, but you have to admit that the alternative to attempting the Surge would not have produced such results. Much blood would've been shed had the US been redeployed to Okinawa as Jack Murtha hilariously suggested.

Stupid Country said...

Much less blood would have been shed if we'd never launched this idiotic crusade in the first place. But I suppose that's spilled milk.

You're really impressed with that 77,000 figure, arentcha? Quick reminder: It isn't news that Iraqis hate the foreign fighters, for the same reason they hate us. They don't want outsiders imposing their solutions to Iraqi problems or blowing holes in Iraqis who don't go along with the program. Opponents of the Bush policy have been saying all along that the foreigners, including this Jordanian-born gang that insists on calling itself al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, were unwelcome even among Sunnis and that the locals would turn on them.

The fact that this is really happening actually undercuts the neocon rationalization for the war, that Iraq was ever in danger of becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda. That always was absurd. Anyway, THAT's what most of the 77,000 are buying into. Sorry, that's just the inevitable, after 4 years of anarchy, finally happening.

OK, let's agree that you'll go with your definition of "politics" and I'll go with mine.

Yeah, I can be long-winded. Sorry about that.

Stupid Country said...

And by the way...

I don't purport to speak for anyone but myself, and certainly not Jack Murtha. But here's Lindsay Graham from the same article you linked to:

"To be fair, Murtha has pointed out that there has been a lack of poltical progress within Iraq to bring about permanent reconciliation between competing Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions, despite the decreased violence within the country following Bush's decision to send 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq. Even vocal war supporters like Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who is just back from a trip from Iraq himself, has complained about that situation as well, and Graham warned this week that unless there is tangible political progress within Iraq within the next two months, the United States may be forced to withdraw its support for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."

Just, y'know, so we're on the same page.

St Wendeler said...

I think that Graham will learn in a few months that the passage of a national law regarding this or that will have very little meaning if actions by the people are surpassing the inaction of the legislature.

Just because Lindsey is trying to earn his "Maverick Merit Badge" doesn't mean he knows what the heck he's talking about.

Stupid Country said...

Just so I'm clear on this, you agree with Lindsey that nothing is getting done in the Iraqi Parliament, but are suggesting it doesn't matter because the people are seizing their own destiny, right? And which people would these be? Shi'ites? Sunnis? Or are they one big happy debaathified Iraqi family now?

OR...are you really saying that you're right, and everything's coming along swimmingly in Iraqi politics, and Lindsey Graham (who, unlike you or I, has actually been to Iraq) is just wrong?

Just want to be clear on where you stand on this.

St Wendeler said...

I'm saying that if I had to choose between a law being passed by the national government that's not followed and action at the local level (that's ultimate achieving the same ends) without a national government law, I'd choose the latter.

Stupid Country said...

I'm saying it's not about A law, or a handful of laws, or any number of disgusted Iraqis signing onto counterinsurgency efforts instead of fragging Americans (typically for the same sort of wages the police are getting -- in effect, accepting security jobs from the only folks that're hiring).

It's about cobbling together a functioning country that won't fly into three mutually hostile shards as soon as the occupation ends. On that, I'm saying there's no material progress at the Parliamentary level, and I can't agree that this localized quieting of the guns is achieving the same ends -- even if the reduction in violence holds as US troops are drawn down, which is far from assured.