For my faithful readers, I leave you the weeked with something positive from Iraq.
Michael Yon is a former green beret and Iraq War veteran who is now working as an imbedded reporter. This latest post from him details the Battle of Baqubah, but more importantly it described what he senses is a new attitude among the Iraqis. American troops seem to have come full circle, once viewed as liberators, then occupiers, and now as something completely different. Michael Yon describes a new outlook. The Iraqi people may be looking at us differently, and this very well could mean victory in Iraq. I include his words because I hope as many people as possible read them. You won’t get this in the mainstream, and it’s a shame because this may be the truth about what’s really happening in Iraq. Here is a sample, and if it doesn’t make you proud to be an American then you should re-evaluate your patriotism.
“The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”
"I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.
Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don’t want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.”
And, on the heels of a renewed debate in Congress concerning a US retreat from Iraq, General Rick Lynch, commander of US forces in Baghdad, said this:
"Intensive combat operations are still necessary," he said, while underlining that US forces are also stepping up reconstruction work and economic development to take the heat out of the insurgency. “What I sense is a growing discontent (against insurgents) amongst the local communities, the tribes and their leaders, and we're benefiting from this discontent. What I believe is that Al-Qaeda has worn out its welcome."
This gives us hope. Hope that Iraq will not become another Vietnam. Hope that the Middle East can become a region of peace and democracy. Indeed, if the people of Iraq embrace their freedom and take charge of their lives and their government, the ripples will most certainly be felt throughout the region and the world. It may be a long shot, but our perseverance now appears to be taking effect.
We may be on the brink of failure, but we may also be on the brink of something extraordinary, which makes next year’s presidential election even that much more crucial. If America can pull this off, it will be an astounding accomplishment, ripping victory from the jaws of defeat. It will go down as perhaps one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of mankind, made even more remarkable by the fact the 70% of Americans had long since turned their back on the Iraqi people and on their own President who never gave up hope that the Iraqis do want to be free and peaceful.
If George Bush wants a legacy, this may very well be it. He would be remembered as the liberator of Iraq who never lost faith in them, even when his own people gave up. How truly amazing that would be. Here’s hoping that hope will become reality. Here’s hoping that the Iraqi people will one day realize their dream of freedom and peace. Here’s hoping that all Americans will see this as a good thing.