Thursday, April 05, 2007
RE: Max Boot from Baghdad [W. Thomas Smith Jr.]
I am convinced things are getting better in Iraq, and with perseverance we — and the Iraqi people — will come out of this in a far better position than Al Qaeda in Iraq (and the insurgents whom AQI has thus far successfully pitted against one other through mosque bombings and the fomenting of other factional violence, etc.).
But we must not kid ourselves into believing that Baghdad is now safe. Safer, perhaps, in one or more sectors than in the past (And I say "perhaps" because there are bombings and shootings every single day and night without fail in Baghdad, some days far worse than others.). But the insurgents are constantly shifting fronts and moving, keeping the terror pressure on whenever and wherever possible.
And a lot of this, though clearly understood by the U.S. military, is not understood by most Americans. For instance, last Sunday, hours after Senator McCain was touring what seemed like a semi-peaceful Baghdad, there was a very spirited gunbattle in the city that was never reported. I know this for a fact because I was there and read nothing about it the next day. And several explosions and smaller firefights were heard the previous day. And we're just talking about one quarter of Baghdad.
Also, fighting south of Baghdad (whereas many of the latest problems have been experienced by coalition forces and civilian contractors up north) may be heating up. Just today, the AP is reporting
a U.S. helicopter was downed in one instance; and in another, four British soldiers and a Kuwaiti interpreter were ambushed and killed. Both incidences in the south of Iraq.
I do agree with Boot's assessment here:
McCain "made an important point with his visit. Actually, two points: first, that the situation in Baghdad is improving; second, that the news media are more intent on ridiculing rather than reporting the first bits of good news to come out of Iraq in quite a long time."
But to me, some of the really good underreported news is that our tactical intelligence is improving dramatically thanks to the Iraqi people; and that increasing numbers of Iraqis, sick of the fighting, do not blame the U.S. In fact, they want the U.S. to get tougher with their own government, and they are terribly afraid that we are going to withdraw before the work is completed.
Editor’s note: Please see this note.
04/05 01:11 PMShare