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March 2008

5 years on, Iraq as an ally?

One of the themes that Pete Hegseth has been pointing out is that while Iraqis have killed many US service members, Iraq is not our enemy. As a matter of fact we need to start looking at them as a developing ally. The left, and far too many who have drunk the poison being published and broadcast, focus on the casualties in Iraq and the fact that we have been there for 5 years as the salient facts. Sadly no, those factors certainly matter but they fail to take a strategic view of our relationship with that country and our role in that region.

The proper context is our relationships with Germany and Japan post WWII. We fought a vicious, bloody war against both and even made the only use of nuclear weapons in history against Japan. Yet today we have troops in both countries and they have been allies ever since. The post-war periods in both were difficult, but we managed to take occupations and turn them into alliances that benefit all. The situation in Iraq is more difficult because the Iraqi Army and state were never actually defeated in combat. When the Thunder Run rolled into Baghdad, the vast majority of Iraqi soldiers took off their uniforms and went home. This is a very different dynamic and we didn't adapt to it very well. Rumsfeld's plan to impose a national government and allow that to rebuild their society might have worked if the Sunni Baathists had stood their ground and been summarily defeated. Instead we disbanded the army and left tens of thousands of Saddam's thugs with no livelihood and the idea that they could run us back out of their country by terrorist acts.

When we regained the initiative by adopting a counter-insurgency strategy, we began the steps necessary to turn Iraq into an ally. Iran has designs on becoming the dominant force in the region and that would be detrimental to peace and stability. A free, democratic Iraq that considers the US a friend and feels grateful for being liberated from a tyrant would be a powerful counterpoint to Iran, which has been it's historic role. That may have seemed like a pipe dream even as late as 2006 but far too many people on the ground there now report that every day more Iraqis join forces with the US. And even more significantly the Iraqi security forces have made major strides toward providing their people the safe environment necessary for reconciliation and reconstruction.

The sticking point is the presence of US troops in the Middle East and that is a concern, but it is really a red herring used by the Islamists to justify their global jihad. If we took every US troop out of Iraq, they would complain about Kuwait, remove them and they will complain about McDonalds and Starbucks, burn those to the ground and satellite TV will become the rationale. These extremists want to rule the world under the iron sandal of Sharia law and we need to confront that not attempt to appease them. Although the presence of infidels in our ally Iraq would cause the jihadis tremendous consternation, a growing relationship between us and our new friend could show others in the area that we are not out to loot their oil. We helped rebuild most of Europe and also Japan after WWII and that gained us several solid allies, there is no reason not to follow that successful model and make Iraq our latest.


How Shall It End? ---

................................ With a whimper, in my opinion.

There are tons of opinion pieces out there today. Foaud Ajami at the Wall Street Journal has an opinion today, that the War in Iraq, five years on, has been necessary, stoically fought, and more successful than less. We are left with a better place for Iraqis and Americans in Iraq than what we faced 5 yrs ago.

Those of you whom are regulars know how I feel. It is due to the Dedication to Duty, extremely Honorable conduct, and supreme Commitment of the American Soldier to their mission that the War on Terror is being successfully prosecuted today, and every day since it began on September 11, 2001.

We owe these Men and Women much. Much more than we can ever repay. Our children and grandchildren will know greater Peace and Prosperity than would have been possible for many years, had we not fought this War at least as hard as we have fought it the previous 7 yrs all over the globe and the last 5 yrs in Iraq. It will not be over soon. Your opinions may vary.

But I don't really care. As one famous Man said,  "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Subsunk out.


Heroes Tour Update- Mark Finelli Interview

The Heroes Tour has made it from San Diego to LA, Phoenix, Tucson and now we are in San Antonio. The events have all been special and the reception very warm. It has been heartening to see good-sized groups of people eager to hear from the folks with the real deal from Iraq and Afghanistan. This tour serves multiple purposes starting with allowing Americans across the country a chance to see and hear about the battles we have fought and the progress we have made. But just as much it serves as a counter-narrative to the MSM portrayal of our efforts in Iraq as a failure.

   

Since we sent the extra troops and changed our strategy to counter-insurgency (COIN), the results could hardly be more startling. That is one of the more compelling stories being told on the tour. Pete Hegseth talks about his time in Doura when it served as AQI HQ in Baghdad and was essentially a no-go zone, and contrasting that with his trip to the same neighborhood 2 weeks ago where kids played in the streets and he didn't hear a single shot in three days out with patrols. Or Jeremiah Workman, who fought his way through 2 dozen insurgents in a single house in Fallujah earning the Navy Cross in '04, describe the utter normality of life when he went back last September. We are winning and so are the Iraqis. The losers are the MSM and the Defeatocrats.

Americans hate losers and they will not side with those who seek to stop our troops from finishing the job we set them to. It hurts the left deep in their souls to contemplate the willful slaughter of innocents they have attempted to portray as the result of our freeing the Iraqi people from a tyrant. They cannot fathom that peace could come from the barrel of a gun. Yet all peace worth having has been born of conflict. Our own liberation from tyranny was not negotiated by diplomats and pacifists, it was bought with the blood of patriots. The slave trade was ended when the US and British Navies said no more, and it was eradicated in the US when the Armies of the North refused to allow the South to continue the barbaric practice. World War II saw the military might of the free world prevail against Italian and German fascism and Japanese Imperialism and the combination of US and NATO defense spending and resolve bankrupted the Soviet Union and laid low one more evil empire.

Well we face another global threat and although it's real threat to the West is demographic, poses a direct threat to innocent civilians. The jihadists can't defeat us in combat, as a matter of fact they have died in bunches every time they try, but they can sow chaos and fear and make life miserable for many. They also have powerful, moneyed interests like the Saudi Wahabbists who fund radical Madrassas and help spread the message of Submission to all of Dar al Harb (That's all you non-submitted or dhimmified westerners).


No Worse Enemy....

And not in line to be "no better friend" either....

Because, if this is true , the jihadis/Psalmists/Al-Qeada et. al. are in for a wild, and short ride...

The Russians have played this game before, and they have a much more focused and "kinetic" strategy (to borrow a phrase from our books).  In fact, when they fought in Chechnya, they fought for awhile in the house to house method that we used to clear Al Fallujah,  but, after awhile, and quite a few young Russian soldiers had been wounded or killed, they decided on a much different course to "pacify" the city of Grozny.

The fired artillery into the city at an average rate of 4,000 rounds an hour, 24 hours a day, for 30 days.

Continue reading "No Worse Enemy...." »


I never liked Obama nohow

SCRANTON, Pa. - Democrat Barack Obama on Monday promised Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans help with their grievances — save one. "I know it drives you nuts. But I'm not going to lower the drinking age," the presidential candidate said.

Army veteran Ernest Johnson, 23, of Connecticut, said one of the things that peeved him before he turned 21 was that he couldn't come home and drink a beer — even though he was old enough to serve in the armed services and die for his country. Obama told Johnson he sympathized, but that setting the legal drinking age at 21 had helped reduce drunken driving incidents and should remain.

Bite me Barack you nanny state, racist church-attending, non-military-supporting, professional wanking device.


"Outside the Wire" - Get Your Copy Now

    "Hopefully they'll grow some balls and just bound on us and try to overrun us, but they don't want to die that quickly." - Paratrooper of Blackfoot Company, "Outside the Wire"

The "Outside the Wire" DVD is now available.  Here is the trailer for the documentary about Iraq:

I was honored to be asked provide voice over comments for the Extras section on the 'Danger Close' episode (Blackfoot Company Paratroopers at OP Omar in Iraq) on the DVD.  J.D. Johannes, there with a video camera, was almost killed twice with the paratroopers (I don't know if it made the cut on the DVD because we did two takes, but I did ask him, "J.D., WTF were you thinking?"). 

The paratroopers were actually complaining about the lack of action when AQI decided to launch an attack to wipe them out - the quote at top of this post was made hours before the attack...and, at the time, one patrol was outside the wire and a Staff Sergeant had to figure out whether to try to make it back to the tiny fort, stay outside and fight to support the fort, or hunker down and hope to avoid detection.

You also hear the guys throw around quotes from "Full Metal Jacket" while engaging Al Qaeda. 

I'll just say this.  If my children ever end up in the military, I hope their sergeants and officers are like the men in Blackfoot Company.  Smart, Hilarious, Courageous, Faithful and Fierce - you can be proud of our paratroopers today (as always).

There are three components to "Outside the Wire":

'Danger Close' (discussed above, also) is an up-close, in-depth look at a complex attack by Al Qaida on small, distant U.S. Army outpost on the edge of the Euphrates river valley. JD Johannes was the only reporter to witness the attack and followed the US Army paratroopers into combat--nearly getting himself killed.

'Anbar Awkens' shows the greatest turn-around of the Iraq War--the tribes of Al Anbar province joining with the coalition to fight Al Qaida--from the perspective of the Jumayli tribe. The Jumayli tribe--with no prompting from the Coalition--turned on Al Qaida and engaged in a serious gun-battle with Al Qaida before formally joining with the coalition.

'Baghdad Surge' is a look at the surge from asphalt level. This episode follows a U.S. Army infantry Captain through a 'day-of-the-surge' and the modern three-block-war.

Get the DVD today.

[The episodes are available separately too.]


Ian Malone - Irish Guard in Life, Uniter in Death

Sandstorms settled in the south
of that sour place,
and terror-men opened wide a mouth
etched in a hate-filled face.

The rifle-spit struck down Malone
and he in a moment gave
a life well-lived, alone,
to set men free of the grave.

In later days men drew down
statues from on high;
they struck Iraqi ground
so dust and cheer could fly.

What, one Irish fighting man
to free millions from cold chains?
Not noble words, not gracious plan
could make real such gains.

Or--Is our time so coy,
so wild and free a thing?
Not Harvey nor Kelly, boy
of Killarn, not the Brian King

Freedom bought at such a cost,
where glory's priced so steep:
Where the name of each good man lost
Can memory's Herald keep.
-Poem by Grim, April 10th, 2003, in honor of Ian Malone

LancecplianmaloneThis is an annual Someone You Should Know (St. Patrick's Day Edition) post to celebrate an Irish soldier's sacrifice.  Below is the story of Ian Malone - a young Irishman who bridged the divide between Ireland and England in life and death.

Ian died during the invasion of Iraq in April of 2003 doing what he wanted to do - Soldiering for his country.  Below is his story, told expertly by Philip Watson of the Telegraph:

Ian's death brought people together
By Philip Watson

Lance Corporal Ian Malone died in an ambush on the streets of Basra in April last year. Throughout a long, hot Sunday, he and his armoured brigade had been pushing through the southern suburbs of Iraq's second city, flushing out enemy soldiers. While most of the regular Iraqi Army had fled, the streets and houses contained pockets of determined Fedayeen fighters, paramilitaries who remained loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Having reached the edge of the old city and achieved their objective of securing a university campus, Ian Malone and his colleagues had left their Warrior armoured personnel carrier, and were regrouping. They had scoured the area and, in the dusty shade of dusk, all seemed safe.

In an instant, however, two Fedayeen in civilian clothes broke cover and sprayed the crew with automatic fire. Four soldiers were hit. Ian Malone took two bullets - one through the neck, the other in the head - and died instantly, becoming one of 55 British soldiers killed in Iraq in the past year.

What made the 28-year-old Lance Corporal remarkable, though, apart from the peerless qualities that all who knew him instantly recognised - he was a thinker and philosopher; courteous and religious; a talented chess player and musician; an exceptional soldier; and, as his school chaplain said at his funeral, not macho but manly - was that Ian Malone was an Irishman fighting for the British Army.

Many have found in Ian Malone's life and death something profoundly symbolic: the notion that he represents the continuing spirit of progress and reconciliation between Britain and Ireland...

Continue reading "Ian Malone - Irish Guard in Life, Uniter in Death" »


We need more men like this kid

Ethan_moyer_courtesy_rmn Thanks to many of you out there who wrote to the author of the RMN piece this past weekend.  Now, she brings us a fantastic story of a kid, Ethan Moyer, 9, that wanted his Make-A-Wish to be what he wants to be more than anything in the world-

A Soldier.

Yep, more than going to Disney.  More than going to Hawaii.  Wanted them to build a base in his back yard so he could be a soldier all the time.

But since the Army couldnt' come to Ethan, they brought Ethan to the Army, for a day.  Read about it at this link.  Another big 'awwwww' factor here.

-Wolf

Continue reading "We need more men like this kid" »