Sunday, October 28, 2007

Iraq Veteran: Bush’s Surge Huge Success

I got the surprise of my life when I looked at the Sunday paper today. A Florida newspaper that is always a shill for Democrat propaganda and anti-Bush rhetoric actually published this piece. I can only guess that it is part of an attempt by Democrats to avoid being on the wrong side when America succeeds in the Iraq mission. At least they are moving in the right direction.

A Soldier Speaks and Sees Successes
October 28, 2007, Herald-Tribune, Joe Roche

Contrary to anti-war defeatists, our mission in Iraq is succeeding. Al-Qaida and Iran are facing strategic failure there, and our continued commitment to Iraq is the key to victory.I joined the Army in 2002, before we invaded, specifically to go to Iraq. I spent years in the Middle East studying the terrorist threat and never believed Afghanistan would achieve long-term success. Even before 9/11, Iraq was the key. Despite toppling the Taliban and evicting al-Qaida from Afghanistan, U.S. and Western standing in the Persian Gulf and Middle East was still collapsing. We had to go to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein's regime supported terrorists from all over the region.

After surviving the 1991 Gulf War, he constantly called for the overthrow of moderate Arab governments, undermined peace efforts, terrorized his people and organized annual gatherings of leading Islamic fundamentalists in Baghdad. Our air wars of attrition over the no-fly zones were failing, the containment of him was falling apart, and it was only a matter of time before Saddam broke out as an uncontrollable megalomaniac. Had we stopped after Afghanistan and limited ourselves to killing al-Qaida, this war would have been an aborted effort from the start.

President Bush was absolutely right to lead us into Iraq. My time there with the Army made this clear to me. Iraq borders on all the major powers of the region and contains the Arab world's most vigorous people. Had we fought this war any other way after 9/11, failure would have been unavoidable. Instead, though it is going to take years, victory is achievable through success in Iraq.

Prevailing against Democratic Party defeatism, Bush's surge policy is a huge success. Overall civilian casualties are down 70 percent since January, with none occurring last week in Anbar province, once the most violent of Iraq. U.S. casualties are down 40 percent with bombings cut nearly by half. According to Army Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock, other statistics include 59 percent reduction in Baghdad's violence, 65 percent drop in car bomb attacks, 80 percent drop in road side bomb injuries, and 77 percent decrease in victims from enemy attacks since June.

Osama bin Laden acknowledged failure on Monday. He basically apologized to the Iraqi people for "wrongdoings" and "mistakes," going so far as to chide jihadis in Iraq for "extremism." He accused his followers of being "tardy in performing" and lambasted Iraqis for fighting against terrorism, calling them "hypocrites.

"He said this because of the stunning reversal in Anbar where Sunnis who once invited in the jihadists are now joining together with us. This is a massive blow to al-Qaida. Bin Laden has said Iraq is the central front, with jihadists from all over going there. Their terror campaign is failing.

Even in 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's chief deputy, appealed to then al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for money. This was because the global al-Qaida effort is lost without Iraq. Had we not gone there, Saddam would be embroiling the whole region in war and turmoil, while al-Qaida would be free to focus on attacking us here in America and overthrowing Arab governments. Instead, the peace process might be restarted between Israel and the Palestinians, reforms are spreading throughout the Arab world, elections will take place in Lebanon, and no government faces being overthrown.

Iran now also faces strategic defeat via our mission in Iraq. Iranians threaten Israel and support global terrorism. However, their worst nightmare is an Iraq that can threaten Iran. They still suffer from the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. This is why Iran causes so much trouble with the Shiites in Iraq. They are terrified we might succeed.

The problem is that we are surrounding Iranians while their aggressiveness is making them more isolated each day. Their effort to get a nuclear bomb is desperation, and now Iran is in turmoil about how to avert the nightmare of U.S. success in Iraq.

Tehran thought we would retreat in defeat when the Democrats took over Congress last year, but Bush countered with the surge. Then Iran thought Gen. David Petraeus would call for retreat, but instead he affirmed our success.

Now Iranians are realizing that Bush is focusing on keeping them out of Iraq. So much has this thrown the Iranians into turmoil that key leaders are resigning in power struggles and factions are fighting over whether to negotiate with the United States or just pursue the bomb.

Al-Qaida faces defeat. This is why it is vital that we remain committed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iran is facing defeat there, al-Qaida is facing defeat there, and if any good over the long term for the whole region is going to be accomplished strategically, we must succeed there.

I saw fellow soldiers fall in Iraq, and I have visited many in hospitals in Germany and the United States after returning. I hate the human toll this takes, but this isn't the fault of Bush or our policies. This is the fault of past neglect and apathy that allowed the terrorist threat to emerge and for terrorist-supporting tyrannies to grow strong as they did for decades. However, I also know that our casualties in this war are nothing compared to past wars, and that calls from defeatists for retreat in the face of sacrifice are immoral and a betrayal.

No threat in human history has been ended by retreating while under attack. Surrendering Iraq to Iran and al-Qaida will not bring peace. We are doing the right thing there, and with the surge's success, I hope Americans will join me in supporting Bush against anti-war defeatism.

Joe Roche, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, is visiting Sarasota while on Individual Ready Reserve status. He served in Iraq from May 2003 to August 2004 as a combat engineer and in technical rescue. Later, he served in Washington, D.C., with the elite Rescue to Protect National Command Authority. He earned a bachelors degree in history from the University of Minnesota in 1998.

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At 8:05 PM, Blogger Dillon R. said...

Your argument is thought provoking, however, I disagree with your assumption that as Americans, we are the world police.

As Americans, we are allowed to have the dignity and rights of a democratic society. The idea that it is okay for us to impose these ideas on other nations is contradictory to the history and foundation of the U.S. as well as unethical. Futhermore, our aggressive foreign policies allowing such actions are slapping a "supreme nation" reputation across the face of our country.

In "The Daily Star" Rami G. Khouri observes in the article "Something to Consider Before Attacking" that "every single aspect of Washington's 'global war on terror' is perceived by the majority of people in the Arab-Asian region as reviving, reaffirming, expanding and accelerating all the negative Western policies that have devastated the people of the Middle East for nearly a century."

At 8:26 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

We have had to be the world's police since the end of World War II. Grow up, and forget the liberal mishmash.

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

You might be interested in The Wounded Warriors Project. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for U.S. troops severely wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. It really puts a face on the cost of this conflict. Here's a link:


At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's not interested in anything but his own reich wing rhetoric.



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