Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Moment Of Truth In Iraq, Pt. II

Taking an American off the street and building him into a competent marine or soldier takes a long time. It's no different with Iraqis

I finished Michael Yon's book last night, and I have to say it may be one of, if not the, best books I've ever read. Again, I stress, everyone needs to go and buy this book. There are so many great stories of thing the troops are doing that you don't get from many media outlets. This book has changed my view of the war. Like most people, I thought the troops were just fighting terrorists and "building schools and hospitals". They are doing so much more. While they're out there trying to root out al-Qeada, they're also having to be diplomats building relationships with local tribe leaders to secure Iraq's future. I strongly recommend that EVERYONE get this book, but I think the people who will benefit the most from it are the people who want to start a withdrawal of troops, people who have claimed that Iraq is lost and those who want to stop funding the war. Read the last two chapters to find out why these are bad ideas.

What did I get out of reading this book? Well, I got a sense that despite what we see and hear in the news, the Iraqi people, for the most part, do want us there. Most feel safer around an American Soldier or Marine than they do they're own military or police. I got that yes, we did some pretty stupid and horrible things in the early parts of the war, but we're making up for it today. I got that with every one story you see on the nightly news about a bomb killing American troops and civilians, there are hundreds of stories of good things going on in Iraq that don't get reported. I got that the Iraqi people are standing up to al-Qaeda and have driven them out of just about every part of the country. Mosul is looking like it may be their last stand. I got that we need more troops and more money sent to Iraq. There's not enough of either. I got that we are winning this war and damn everyone who says otherwise. Before reading this book I was in the "let's give the Iraqi people an ultimatum. Stand up and fight, or we leave". No longer. They are standing up and helping the troops and to pull any out now, when winning this war is actually with in grasp, would be a horrible mistake.

Lack of restraint nearly cost us the war during the first couple of years. Leadership, character, and restraint are why we are winning the war in Iraq -- now