UPDATE: Ms. Munshi surfaces in the comments and Mr. Yon emailed. The new post with their and my COIN thoughts is here.
In yesterday's WashPo Kiki Munshi lets us know about conditions on the ground in Baqubah, Iraq while sunning in California.
The writer is a retired Foreign Service officer who returned to duty to lead the provincial reconstruction team in Baqubah, Iraq, from April 2006 until January 2007 JULIAN, Calif. --
Last year at this time, I traveled from Forward Operating Base Warhorse into the Iraqi town of Baqubah several times a week to meet with the governor, the provincial council chairman and other officials. Yes, it was dangerous. But it wasn't suicidal.
Today, though, such trips would be almost impossible. Baqubah is a battlefield, the site of a major push against al-Qaeda and other insurgents. The houses that haven't been destroyed are riddled with bullet holes. Many of the Iraqis I worked with are dead, and many others have fled.
And yet all last week Michael Yon, who is actually in Baqubah as this happens, is near boredom.
MICHAEL YON EMAILS: "Baqubah has gone quiet. Very little fighting. There might be more to come, but overall the people have turned against al Qaeda and are pointing them out day by day. The people are pointing out the bombs. Baqubah received its first food shipment in 10 months just a few days ago, even while light fighting was still on. I was there for the food distribution and am writing a dispatch on it. The primary object now is to start to restore a sense of normalcy in the city. Remember Ramadi? That crazy city of death and fighting? Writers hardly want to go there any more because it's quiet. I am very curious if Baqubah will go that way. So far so good. There are serious sectarian issues here in Diyala Province, but with al Qaeda on defense instead of offense, the people in Baqubah have a chance to do what those in Ramadi and other cities are doing: reclaim their lives."
From his report on 5 July, again from Baqubah
The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”
Mike is not saying it's a Shangri La, but Kiki made it seem suicidal to even be there.
Don't ever doubt that those against the war inhabit all our institutions and are willing to say what is needed to ensure our defeat and retreat from the world stage. Thankfully Mike, Bill Roggio, Bill Ardolino and many others are showing the real stories.