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Three Quick Hits

April 24, 2007

All from Instapundit today:

1) President of Iraqi relief organization calls on Dems to rethink withdrawals:

The president of the Iraqi Red Crescent, the only relief organization operating in Iraq, is calling on the Democratic-led Congress to rethink its troop withdrawal strategy and recognize that Iraq suffers from a worsening humanitarian crisis…

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society or Organization, as it is often referred to, is an auxiliary arm of the Iraqi government and is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Insisting that he is not a politician, Hakki — a U.S. citizen who spends most of his time in Iraq’s red zones — is pushing for a time-out in what he calls the “partisan squabble” over the U.S. troop withdrawal timetable.

“Let’s not talk about differences, but about what we can agree upon,” Hakki said. If Congress agrees that there is a humanitarian crisis, he asked, “is it justified to set a timetable and leave all those people in a dire position, worse than they were [before 2003]?”

2) Las Vegas reserves disagree with Reid

“Unfortunately, politics has taken a huge role in this war affecting our rules of engagement,” said Turkovich, a 2001 Palo Verde High School graduate. “This is a guerrilla war that we’re fighting, and they’re going to tie our hands.

“So it does make it a lot harder for us to fight the enemy, but we’re not losing this war,” he said.For the most part, the 50-plus soldiers from a detachment of the Army Reserve’s 314th Combat Service Support Battalion expressed similar views about Reid’s war-is-lost comments this week. They respectfully disagreed with the Democrat.

3) LA Times: Success in Ramadi

Ok, it’s by Max Boot. Think you can ignore it on that basis? He goes into more detail here with all appropriate caveats, like how Ramadi is improving, while other places have taken it’s place as “worst place in the world”.

Some parts of Iraq are in bad shape, but others are improving. I spent the first two weeks of April in Baghdad, with side trips to Baqubah, Ramadi, and Falluja. Along the way I talked to everyone from privates to generals, both American and Iraqi. I found that, while we may not yet be winning the war, our prospects are at least not deteriorating precipitously, as they were last year. When General David Petraeus took command in February, he called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today there are some glimmers of hope in the unlikeliest of places.

This is not sugar-coating.

4) Bonus corroboration by a Marine Captain:

We are winning over here in Al Anbar province. I don’t know about Baghdad, but Ramadi was considered THE hotspot in Al Anbar, the worse province, and it has been very quiet. The city is calm, the kids are playing in the streets, the local shops are open, the power is on at night, and daily commerce is the norm rather than the exception. There have been no complex attacks since March. That is HUGE progress. This quiet time is allowing the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police to establish themselves in the eyes of the people. The Iraqi people also want IA’s and IP’s in their areas. The Sunni Sheiks are behind us and giving us full support. This means that almost all Sunnis in Al Anbar are now committed to supporting the US and Iraqi forces. It also means that almost all insurgents left out here are AQ. FYI, the surge is just beginning. Gen Petraeus’ strategy is just getting started and we’re seeing huge gains here…

This war can be won. We just need the time to get the IA and IP operating on their own. Gen Petraeus is treating the war like a counter-insurgency rather than a stability operation. For non-military personnel, there is a HUGE difference between the two. What we’ve been doing in Iraq since Petraeus took over is completely different than what we were doing under Gen Casey. However, you don’t hear the press or the democrats say that. Most of them are too committed to saying we’ve lost to further their own political agendas that they cannot acknowledge we’re doing something totally different and it is working.

This is not the time to declare defeat. Shame on Harry Reid. Not even all the troops are in place yet.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim C permalink
    April 24, 2007 5:55 pm

    I think both Max Boot and the anonymous marine blogger should be even more cautious than they were about touting “success” in Rhamadi… calling it “once violent” now “enjoying relative calm…” or ” as the blogger painted: “it has been very quiet. The city is calm, the kids are playing in the streets.”

    …especially as today there was another truck bombing in Ramadi, killing 15 people in the explosion, wounding about 25.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6589441.stm

    To his credit, Max does admit in his article that on the week before he wrote the article there was similar suicide attack killing 12.
    He calls “such violence, once the norm, has become the exception.”

    2 major truck bombings in 15 days might argue against that point.

    I’m sure it is more stable than it was: but it was completely lawless before.
    Just as it’s critics shouldn’t oversell disaster, it’s supporters shouldn’t too oversell success in Iraq.

    As todays bombing shows, even “hopeful” news in Iraq is often 3 steps forward, 2 and a half steps back.

    (PS. Amazing bit in Max’s story is that — not counting the truck bombings — you can qualify as “one of the safest” cities in Iraq while still seeing ONLY “two to four attacks a day.” )

  2. Tim C. permalink
    April 27, 2007 2:32 pm

    Off topic, but in reaching back to one of our first discussions on the Iraq war and just war theory, we discussed that according to that basic philosophy, war had to be both a “Last Resort”

    (ie. “Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted.”)

    Don’t mean to just dig up a literally 3 or 4 year old argument, but a bit of news showed up this week that seemed relevant.

    In George Tenent’s new book, he specifically addresses the “last resort” issue:

    “There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment that is likely to be debated for many years. Nor, he adds, “was there ever a significant discussion” about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/27/washington/27intel.html?ex=1335326400&en=e6f2a5232d75afb5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

    Whether or not you’d think containment to be a good idea, it wasn’t even DISCUSSED, much less really thoroughly explored.

  3. April 27, 2007 10:46 pm

    So Mr. Slam Dunk decided to cash in on the bush-bash craze. Good for him. I’m sure he is a totally disinterested party with no self-serving motives.

    I won’t bothe to re-hash the arguments made on behalf of the invasion since they seem to not have sunk in after all these years.

    Yours is a very legalistic and I think simplistic understanding of just war theory. Not that I am an expert. I don’t need a theory to tell me that ridding the world of Sadaam was a good and moral thing to do.

    There’s a good article in First Things by George Weigel last month. Maybe I’ll send you a PDF, or better yet, subscribe! Suffice it to say, I have no qualms about the War being within Just War Theory bounds. What is of utmost importance now is the resolution of the war. Your party seems utterly indifferent to the suffering that their withdrawl will inflict on the innocent, the brave and the good people who have stood with us against evil, or at the very least tried to get on with their lives in a decent moral way. They will all be slaughtered as the Democrats celebrate their new found power to enact gay marriage, raise taxes and make our nation less safe. I know that sounds harsh, but that’s the way I feel. I don’t think you or most ordinary Dems INTEND for some of these things, but that will be the result if they get their way. I watch this debate with a heavy heart.

  4. Tim C. permalink
    April 28, 2007 9:31 am

    Dave:

    I’m not sure you made your case as to HOW it’s legalistic or simplistic to say that classical just war theory requires you to say that “all serious alternatives to war must be seriously explored first” and if Tenet’s view is accurate, they weren’t even seriously discussed, much less explored.

    Here is this idea as written into Catholic catechisms:

    (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in section 2309
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm)

    “all other means of putting an end to it [the cause of war] must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective…”

    And the principle of “last resort” is no trivial vestigial piece of the overall theory of what makes a war just or unjust.

    “…won’t bother to re-hash arguments made on behalf of the invasion since they seem to not have sunk in after all these years.”

    Well, they don’t seem to apply to this particular question.

    And I’d love to see Weigel’s bit as a pdf, promise I’d read it with an open mind…

    And as to your dark view of Dem leaders, let me only point out again, that I don’t think you could come up with a more demonizing picture of them if you tried.

  5. May 1, 2007 1:56 pm

    …food for thought…

  6. Tim C. permalink
    May 7, 2007 11:02 am

    Saddened to see Ramadi hit by another twin car bomb attack today, killing another 20 or more people, injuring and additional 30 or so… sad news…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6631663.stm

  7. Rob A. permalink
    May 14, 2007 11:08 am

    Good stuff, Dave. Now if you can only do something about these defeatist pinkos who are running for prez, like this guy below:

    >>Veteran newsman Mike Wallace asked [Mitt] Romney why the Democrats are suddenly in charge. “Well, because of Iraq,” the former Massachusetts governor replied.
    “You mean the president screwed up in Iraq?” Wallace asked.
    “I think the administration made a number of errors,” Romney said.
    Pressed to describe the errors, he continued, “Well, I don’t think we were adequately prepared for what occurred. I don’t think we had done enough planning. I don’t think we’d considered the various downsides and risks.”
    Responding again to Wallace, he said President Bush is where the buck stops, but “it’s the whole administration, … and we’re paying for those mistakes.”

  8. May 28, 2007 5:47 am

    they weren’t even seriously discussed, much less explored.

    The 12 years or so of continuous deployments, spanning 3 administrations, sitting on Saddam not withstanding of course.

  9. Tim C. permalink
    May 28, 2007 11:38 am

    Exactly, they did not discuss the idea that the previous 12 years of containment might have actually worked, nor the possibility that it could continue working.

    Just War’s require that EVERY other possible option be tried, and this one, if Tenet’s book is accurate, wasn’t even DISCUSSED.

    Nor did they give inspectors time to discover the truth — which was how well the containment strategy had worked, neutering Saddam from developing any WMD program and keeping him safely boxed in and weakening as a threat.

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