Thursday, March 01, 2007


The Game's Underway

Several responders to my post earlier this week, objecting to Ralph Peters’ gratuitous slams against the military intelligence (MI) community. Several observed that Peters can be mercurial, and one remarked “every once in a while he goes nanners and takes a billy club to friend as well as foe…”

I often appreciate Peters and what he has to say, as well, as I do with his call today in the NY Post to keep faith with our military in Iraq. I think if Peters found Army contacts within the Intel community as experienced and savvy as those he touches for today’s column, we wouldn’t have seen the wobbly and misplaced wrath in his prior piece on Intel Failures. But I’ve beat that to death already, and he does a fine job today. Problem and solution is Peters’ introduction:

As Democrats, Iraqi insurgents and terrorists all struggle to prevent an American win, it's hard to get an accurate sense of Iraq nowadays.

When in doubt, ask a soldier.

Peters passes on many signs of tangible progress, In Baghdad in particular but across a wide front:

Ø      “Sectarian killings” are down “dropped from over 50 each night down to single digits.”

Much like the difficulties inherent in determining “civilian deaths,” I have to think determining whether a corpse is the product of a sectarian murder or execution, or even open warfare, could be problematic. But clearly, murders/deaths by violence are down, else some media outlet would be portraying unrelated violence as sectarian.

Ø      Increased security in neighborhoods is generating a “flood of intelligence tips: When citizens feel safe, they cooperate.”

Hardly enough anecdotal evidence for a stinging rebuke of a central tenet of anti-war mythology, but suggestive that US forces aren’t the “hated oppressors” the war’s detractors like to pretend. Not that audiences here are surprised.

Ø      Sunni sheiks and the tribes the represent are turning away in greater numbers from Jihadist perpetrators of terrorist, anti-Muslim (against Shia or Sunni) violence.

This is not news to those who follow MILBLOGS, nor those commentators who quite some time ago realized that Sunnis would be increasingly reluctant (like Europe or East Asia) to lose the US “security umbrella” in the face of Shia political dominance.

Ø      “Our security crackdown has already taken out two major Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) factories. And we took down a huge arms cache late last week.”

Leading to Peters other reported sign of improvement: the optimism of front line leaders of American military in Iraq. And oh, by the way, Peters doesn’t “know a single officer in-country who believes the reporting from Iraq gives an honest, balanced picture.” That was my experience when I was there, it would be my presumption now.

I’ll finish with how Peters concludes his piece:

THERE are no guarantees of success. The president's troop surge may not be enough to make a decisive difference; in the end, Iraq may collapse all around us. A sectarian bloodbath could be inevitable.

But our brave men and women in uniform have new coaches and a new playbook for Iraq. They believe they've got a reasonable chance to cross the goal line - and they've got more at risk than a sports celebrity's salary.

Yes, the Iraqis have to pick up the ball - but it would be an immoral act of strategic madness to fumble the ball on purpose.

In the end, we may not win. But you can't win if you walk off the field while the game's still under way. The clock may run out on hope for Iraq. But it hasn't yet.

I couldn’t agree more. Peters is right on target here.

LINK UPDATE: Linked by Consul-At-Arms and Thunder Run.

Labels: ,

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]