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Truth on Iraq from Surprising Sources

  • Truth on Iraq from Surprising Sources

  • 5 August 2007 by 0 Comments

Truth on Iraq from Surprising Sources
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 08/05/07

Sometimes truth is substantiated by some of the most unlikely sources. The New York Times, maligned by the right as a purveyor of anti-American rhetoric, intractable criticism of anything related to the current President, and divulger of state secrets associated with the war on terror, this past week published a bombshell of an op-ed column on the Iraq conflict.

Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the left-leaning Brookings Institution wrote the piece titled “A War We Just Might Win.” And lest you think they are just a couple of conservative lackeys for the President, their bona fides are genuine liberal as one was a former Kerry campaign advisor and the other a former member of the Clinton administration.

After spending over a week in Iraq, they stated, “Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily ‘victory’ but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with. After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work,” and they were no doubt demoralized by the debate going on back here.

“Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference. But for now, things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq). In addition, far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion.””

I apologize for quoting so extensively from the column, but the observations of these two well-informed critics didn’t make it into print anywhere in Eastern Idaho that I could see yet certainly warrant acknowledgement even out here in the hinterland.

When these observations are juxtaposed with comments this week from the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the get-out-of-Iraq-at-whatever-cost crowd are obviously going to be facing some serious political conundrums. Petraeus called the “development of the grass-roots forces the most significant trend in Iraq of the last four months or so” and said that it “could help propel slow-moving efforts at national reconciliation among Iraq’s main religious sects and ethnic groups.” He said, “This is a very, very important component of reconciliation because it’s happening from the bottom up . The bottom-up piece is much farther along than any of us would have anticipated a few months back. It’s become the focus of a great deal of effort, as there is a sense that this can bear a lot of fruit.”

James Clyburn, who is the House Democratic whip, had an interview last week with the Washington Post. When asked what would happen if Petraeus’ report in September was very good, he replied,” I think then it would be a problem for us.” What a refreshing bit of truth from one of the majority leaders in Congress! After all, they are so totally invested in U.S. defeat in Iraq, if the September report is positive, they’re in real trouble.

They can’t provide a viable explanation as to how our national security is strengthened or our war against Islamo-fascism is augmented by a premature withdrawal from Iraq. It’s all political to them. If we pull out early, they see it as a defeat of President Bush’s policy, and an improved prospect for winning the White House in ’08. But if we’re winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, and from the bottom up are building alliances with tribal leaders and the population at large, their investment in defeat proves to be a bad investment.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC this week had an interview with David Ignatius, an associate editor at the Washington Post, Matthews asked Ignatius, “What good does this Iraq war do to reduce the threat of terrorism here?” Ignatius’ response, bucking the journalistic trend, was “These struggles are different fronts of the same war. The notion that, a defeat to the United States and its allies in Iraq is costless in terms of the larger war against Al-Qaeda, is just wrong. I mean, bin Laden said again and again, the Americans are weak; if you hit ’em hard, they’ll run away. They were hit hard in Beirut; they ran away. They were hit hard in Somalia; they ran away.”

Yes, indeed, the Iraq war against terrorists is part of the global war against terror! If some of the mainstream media types are starting to “get it,” there may be hope for us after all!

In this short montage of war coverage we find an admission that Iraq is part of the global war on terrorism, an in-dept analysis of “the surge” indicating that it is working very well, a statement by the top military officer in Iraq that the crucial grass-roots alignment with and support of the U.S. mission there is coalescing, and an admission by the 2nd highest Democrat in the House that if we’re winning there, that the Democrats are in trouble. Just when you don’t think you can handle any more of the one-sided reporting on Iraq, the mainstream media pulls a couple of fast ones and throws some truth at us. Wow! Will wonders never cease? Makes you wonder how much additional truth they have been withholding from us over the past six years.

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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