More and more of the smart minds are calling what many of us have felt through the summer. Knowing from cautious minds is always a lot better then though by the overcaffinated.
The war I witnessed for more than five years in Iraq is over. In July, there were five American fatalities in Iraq, the lowest since the war began in March 2003. In Mosul recently, I chatted with shopkeepers on the same corner where last January a Humvee was blown apart in front of me. In the Baghdad district of Ghazilia -- where last January snipers controlled streets awash in human waste -- I saw clean streets and soccer games. In Basra, the local British colonel was dining at a restaurant in the center of the bustling city.I KNOW this is a fact.
For the first time in 15 trips across the country, I didn't hear one shot or a single blast from a roadside bomb. In Anbar Province, scene of the fiercest fighting during the war, the tribal sheiks insisted to Barack Obama on his recent visit that the U.S. Marines had to stay because they were the most trusted force.
Yet the progress in Iraq is most threatened by a political promise in the U.S. to remove all American combat brigades, against the advice of our military commanders. Iraqi volunteers working for a nonsectarian political party in Baghdad asked me, "Is America giving up its goals?" It's an unsettling question.He has a note here that Skippy, Stephen, and other smart, proud, patriotic, but slightly blinded by BDS folks should read and accept. If you lose your argument but your nation wins, you still win.
The problem is not American force levels in Iraq. It is divisiveness at home. While our military has adapted, our society has disconnected from its martial values. I was standing beside an Iraqi colonel one day in war-torn Fallujah when a tough Marine patrol walked by. "You Americans," he said, "are the strongest tribe."Amen.
But we cast aspersions on ourselves. The success of our military should not be begrudged to gain transitory political advantage.
In 1991, our nation held a parade after our military liberated Kuwait. Over the course of more than five hard years, our troops have brought stability and freedom to 25 million Iraqis, while crushing al Qaeda in Iraq. Regardless of disagreement about initiating the war back in 2003, Americans should unite to applaud the success of our troops in 2008.
A stable Iraq keeps faith with the million American soldiers who fought there, sets back Iran's aggression, and makes our enemies in Afghanistan and elsewhere fear us.
It's time we stopped debating about yesterday and displayed national pride in our soldiers.