Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Transitioning For the Long Haul (and good news)

Here's yet another Iraqi story you won't get from the MSM:

Coalition training teams with Iraqi military units, police battalions and border guard units are making a tremendous difference in the performance and professionalism of the Iraqi security forces, said the commander of the Iraq Assistance Group on Monday. Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard told the Pentagon press corps in a video teleconference from Iraq that Iraqi forces are well-equipped, but require help in sustainment.
This is sort of like Vietnam in reverse. Its important to note that the Iraqi security force is finding its legs, starting to make its own decisions. I also find it heartening that their biggest problem is logistics (not deserters, low morale, equipment failure, recruiting or any one of a hundred problems that plague armies). Logistics can be taught, demonstrated, and learned. Morale and loyalty cannot.

This is the sort of thing that has to continue in Iraq. What people like Lamont don't understand is that our presence in Iraq is critical to avoiding the civil war that he so gleefully predicts.

In other good news:
DIWANIYAH, Iraq -- Iraqi Army and police forces successfully fended off an attack by a large group of terrorists in the Al Eufrat, Al Jumhuri and Al Nahda districts of Ad Diwaniyah after a 12-hour battle today that ended at approximately 3:00 p.m.
Iraqi security forces captured an improvised explosive device maker and IED cell leader Aug. 27 near Mussayib. The suspect is believed to have participated in multiple IED attacks on Coalition and Iraqi security forces, including one which took the lives of four U.S. servicemembers on May 5. This individual is also believed to be a supplier of IEDs to illegal armed groups inciting sectarian violence and government instability through kidnapping, murder and armed attacks.

The raid, conducted by Iraqi police with Coalition observers, occurred without incident and there were no civilian, Iraqi forces, or Coalition Force casualties.

Thats what I like to hear.


Matt said...

That's great news. Makes me a little more optimistic about Iraq's future. Although, these are isolated instances and the number of casualties on both sides continues to increase. Sunni's and Shi'ites suicide bombing each other IS a civil war, albeit a smaller scale one than what is normally defined as war. And it certainly isn't civil. Sectarian violence is a better phrase to use but to what scale would it have to be before you concerned it a civil war?

k2aggie07 said...

A civil war usually involves two or more distinct rival factions with (for the most part) de facto governments.

There is none of that here.

Incidentally, these incidents aren't few and far between. They're simply under-reported. The MSM wants blood, and they ignore everything else.

rightonq said...

Arguing over whether or not civil war is the proper term couldn't be more useless. Democrats are saying it is, Republicans are saying it isn't, but other than the political angle, it has no meaning.

What's more important is whether or not we and the Iraqis are making progress towards something more lasting. It's certainly hard to tell given the daily level of violence, but frankly this could go on for years and it still shouldn't deter us.

First, we are preparing - and have been - to create a situation where we can slowly draw down our troops. The more and more of the country that becomes stable and the more Iraqis can perform successful missions autonomously, the more we can start to do that.

I could see a situation where violence has not decreased significantly, but we can still start to bring some troops home because of the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police increased capabilities.

Further, people who are (understandably) pessimistic about the situation have very little sense of scale or patience. I'm reading quite a bit about our founding fathers at the moment and progress was measured over decades, not months or even years:
- revolution stirs in 1760s and 70s
- war begins in 1775
- declared indepedence 1776
- war officially over in 1783
- 1st state to ratify new constitution: 1787
- President Washington inaugurated 1789
- last state to ratify: 1790

15 years from the beginning of the war for independence to ratification of a new constitution. The partisanship today is no different or less vile than it was amongst Americans during those revolutionary years. Time scales are certainly different today than 200 years ago, but to expect Iraq to go from a dictatorship to a full fledged democracy in 3 years is a joke. When Bush said this was going to be a "long" haul - he should have been more clear, but in our "got have it now" society, that doesn't sell.

I don't know where Iraq will be in 2013, but I believe that it will be off the front page and a peaceful, stable, prosperous and at least somewhat democratic, friendly to the U.S. country. We can only hope.

3agsmom said...

Rightonq is absolutely correct. Our society has totally unrealistic expectations of the amount of time it will require to transition Iraq from a dictatorship to democracy. It's unfortunate that we are not reminded more often of how long it actually took us to get there.