||Give Peace A Chance
by Richard S. Lowry [author] 3/14/07
Daily, we hear pundits in the government and the media call for America’s withdrawal from Iraq. They claim that the country is spiraling into civil war and that the violence unnecessarily continues to take American lives. They claim that the Iraqis are not stepping up to the plate to secure their own blessing of liberty. And, they bristle that last November’s elections prove that the American people have had enough.
Democratic presidential candidates claim that President Bush is unresponsive, yet they have not come up with any plan other than setting a date to remove our troops or threats of withdrawing funds for Iraq.
Late last year, the President realized that a change of course was necessary in Iraq. He read and considered the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. He also asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to produce a new plan for success in Iraq. After significant consideration of many views, President Bush decided to act. Donald Rumsfeld was replaced, as well as all the top commanders in Iraq.
“New blood” was brought in and a dramatically new strategy was adopted. General David Petraeus was given command of the Multi-National Force Iraq and he brought in a brain trust of battle-tested commanders to sit on his staff.
Petraeus, former commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and author of the newly-released field manual on Counterinsurgency (FM3-24), holds a PhD in International Affairs from Princeton University. His commanders and advisors include Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, Major General Joseph Fil Jr (current commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division), Brigadier General Joseph Anderson and Colonel H.R. McMaster (Desert Storm Hero and world-renowned author of “Dereliction of Duty”). These men will be running the American show in Baghdad over the coming months.
More importantly, the Iraqis themselves will be running the security operation in Baghdad, led by Lieutenant General Abbud Gambar. Gambar is a former Iraqi Army General who served under Saddam Hussein and is one of the few Shiites who managed to rise to a position of power in the Iraqi Army. He is a capable man and he is dedicated to the new Iraq. A Middle Eastern author recently said he is the right man in the right place at the right time. You will all hear much more about General Gambar in the coming years.
With little more than a month under his belt, General Petraeus gave a press conference last week. The media highlighted only a few sound bites. They needed to televise the entire news conference. General Petraeus did a great job of describing the current situation and his overall plan to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Baghdad. Take a few minutes and read the entire manuscript of his press conference.
General Petraeus has adopted a completely new strategy to win in Iraq. He wants to implement a counterinsurgency war. You will find that military operations will only be a small component of his plan. He wants to establish security so Iraqi children can go to school and their parents can work to support their families, in peace.
To do this, the Multi-National Force-Iraq will move in and clear neighborhoods and then stay. They will establish 32 Local Security Stations throughout the City. These neighborhood police stations will be manned by American and Iraqi Army troops, as well as Iraqi Police - 24/7. Once a modicum of security has been established, the Iraqi government is going to move in and conduct SWET operations, with the help of the American forces.
SWET stands for Sewers, Water, Electricity and Trash Collection. In addition, the Iraqi government is preparing to pour megabucks into local construction projects. The “Surge” is much more than a military plan to kill all the bad guys.
According to modern counterinsurgent doctrine, our forces will not go looking for a fight (they will defend themselves and they will defeat insurgent attacks) but their primary goal will be to bring peace and prosperity to the people of Baghdad. In my opinion, the security forces WILL NOT go after Sadr. They will work to marginalize his position and show the people of Baghdad that Sadr’s methods will only bring more violence and unrest.
What do you think the new plan’s end-state will be? If the plan succeeds, Iraqi police will be established in all the neighborhoods of Baghdad. They will be trained so that they can maintain the peace and American forces can leave. General Petraeus is working to make Iraq a better place for the Iraqis. We all need to give him our support. Let’s all hope and pray for his success in Iraq. It will save American and Iraqi lives. And, a peaceful Iraq will naturally lead to our troops coming home.
Yet Hillary recently announced that she is going to vote for the democrat proposal to bring troops home by the end of the year. I propose that she and her colleagues’ positioning for the 2008 elections will become totally irrelevant in the next several months when General Petraeus’s plan works.
There are many indications that the conditions in Iraq are already improving. This is a new day in Iraq and I believe we are finally on the right track toward peace and stability in that war-torn country. I think that is what we all want.
Don’t take my word for it. Just sit back and watch what is about to unfold. In one short month since Petraeus took over, murders and bombings have drastically decreased, American casualties have decreased dramatically, a regional conference of 200 diplomats has been held in Baghdad, hundreds of insurgents have been detained, dozens of weapons caches have been uncovered removing the explosives for hundreds of IEDs from the hands of those who would use them and the people of Baghdad are inviting American foot soldiers in for tea.
Another encouraging development is that the multi-national force uncovered two bomb making facilities which had stockpiles of chemicals for mixing explosives. This is encouraging in that it shows that the enemy is running out of military-grade explosive devices. They are being forced to “roll their own” IEDs.
And, Operation Fard al-Qanum is just starting.
I realize that we have all been through four years of frustration in Iraq. I realize that many Americans believe that this war was unnecessary, or worse. For better or worse, we are there and we have an obligation to leave the people of Iraq with a government that can keep the peace. It has been a long hard road getting the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police back on their feet. They are nearly ready to take over and they are certainly willing to fight to make Iraq a better place for their families.
Give peace in Iraq one last chance.
2007 Richard S. Lowry