Anti-war activists who attack President Bush should consider that while he is the Commander-in-Chief, acting with the support of Congressional resoutions authorizing the use of military force in Iraq, the soldiers they claim to support are just as responsible for the decisions related to the ongoing military effort. Our soldiers are not robots, run by remote control, and this report indicates they are doing well at adapting and innovating to help the Iraqi Security Forces confront these threats. They can either criticize both, or support both, but criticism of one and not the other is intellectually dishonest.
The Present Crisis:
We are at the "knee of the curve." Two million+ troops of the smallest active Army force since WWII have served in the war zone. Some active units have served three, four, or even five combat deployments. We are now routinely extending nearly all combat units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. These combat units are being returned to action in some cases with only 7-12 months of stateside time to re-train and re-equip. The current deployment requirement of 20+ brigades to Iraq and 2+ brigades in Afghanistan is not sustainable.
Iraq’s neighbors are a problem--- not part of the solution (with the exception of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). They provide little positive political or economic support to the Maliki government.
Our allies are leaving to include the courageous and well equipped Brit’s—by January 2008 we will be largely on our own.
In summary, the US Armed Forces are in a position of strategic peril. A disaster in Iraq will in all likelihood result in awidened regional struggle which will endanger America’s strategic interests (oil) in the Mid-east for a generation. We will also produce another generation of soldiers who lack confidence in their American politicians, the media, and theirown senior military leadership.
Since the arrival of General David Petraeus in command of Multi-National Force Iraq--- the situation on the ground has clearly and measurably improved.
1st: The Maliki government has given the green light to prune out elements of the renegade Sadr organization in Baghdad. More than 600+ rogue leaders have been harvested by US and Iraqi special operations forces with the explicit or tacit consent of the government.
2nd: The US and Iraqi Forces have now dramatically changed their operational scheme ... The pre-operation planning and rehearsals were superb ... The Iraqi people are encouraged ---life is almost immediately springing back in many parts of the city. The murder rate has plummeted. IED attacks on US forces during their formerly vulnerable daily transits from huge US bases on the periphery of Baghdad are down.
3rd: The Iraqis have finally committed credible numbers of integrated Police and Army units to the battle of Baghdad ... The ISF formations are showing increased willingness to aggressively operate against insurgent/militia forces.
4th: There is a real and growing ground swell of Sunni tribal opposition to the Al Qaeda-in-Iraq terror formations. (90% Iraqi.) This counter-Al Qaeda movement in Anbar Province was fostered by brilliant US Marine leadership. There is now unmistakable evidence that the western Sunni tribes are increasingly convinced that they blundered badly by sitting out the political process.
5th: The equipment and resources for the Iraqi Security Forces has increased dramatically. The ISF has planned 2007 expenditures of more than $7.3 billion.
6th: There is a very sophisticated and carefully integrated approach by the Iraqi government and Coalition actors to defuse the armed violence from internal enemies and bring people into the political process. There are encouraging signs that the peace and participation message does resonate with many of the more moderate Sunni and Shia warring factions.
7th: US Combat forces are simply superb ... The joint integration of combat power is extremely effective ... These Marine and Army combat units rapidly employ synchronized air and ground combat power, use enormous fire discipline, are compassionate with vulnerable civilians, and move with explosive energy and courage when they pin a target.
8th: The US Tier One special operations capability is simply magic ... Some of these assault elements have done 200-300 takedown operations at platoon level ... We need to rethink how we view these forces. They are a national strategic system akin to a B1 bomber.
9th: The US Armed Forces logistic system is successfully providing 100% of required supplies, services, maintenance, medical support, and material for battle. Never in the history of warfare has a military force been more generously and effectively supported than in Iraq.
"The Way Ahead":