LeRoy Collins Commentary 130

Commentary #130
15 January 2008

THE SURGE: AT ONE YEAR -- FORLORN HOPE, A BIG SUCCESS

Friends, were it not for you, I would be very inadequately informed. The Mainstream Media is so preoccupied with the trivia of Presidential Campaign 2008 and Anna Nicole Smith, while major issues like National security, illegal immigration, a balanced budget, earmark spending, etc. languish from inattention.

Fortunately for me, some of you know of my intense interest in substantive issues and keep me supplied with relevant info such as the following article from Ralph Peters. I am sharing with you because I think it is true, timely, and encouraging for America and all other peoples who cherish or seek freedom for their future.

/s/ LeRoy Collins

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THE SURGE: AT ONE YEAR--  FORLORN HOPE, A BIG SUCCESS.

  By Ralph Peters.

  January 11, 2008. As you read these lines, our troops are in the midst of Operation Phantom Phoenix, a "mini-surge" to squeeze al Qaeda and its fast-dwindling band of allies out of their few remaining safe havens in Iraq.

Iraqi troops fight beside us against a common enemy. Vast swaths of the country enjoy a newborn peace. Commerce thrives again. At the provincial and local levels, the political progress has been remarkable.

As for Operation Phantom Phoenix, our commanders expected terrorist dead-enders to put up a fight. Instead, they ran, leaving behind only booby traps and disgust among the Iraqis they tormented far too long.

Well, they can run, but they can't hide. We dropped 20 tons of bombs on 40 terrorist targets yesterday, including safe houses, weapons caches and IED factories. In a late-afternoon exchange with The Post, Gen. David Petraeus characterized our current ops as "executing aggressively, pursuing tenaciously."

The headlines at home? "Nine American Soldiers Killed." No mention of progress or a fleeing enemy on the front pages-- just dead soldiers.  Determined to elect a Democrat president, the "mainstream" media simply won't accept our "Impartial" journalists find a dark cloud in every silver lining in Iraq. And the would-be candidates themselves  continue to insist that we should abandon Iraq immediately - as if time had stood still for the past year - while hoping desperately for a catastrophe in Baghdad before November.

These are the politicos who insisted that the surge didn't have a chance. And nobody calls 'em on it. Meanwhile, "Happy Birthday, Surge!"

One year ago, "the surge" kicked off as a forlorn hope, our last chance to get it right. The odds were against us. Terrorist violence was out of control. Baghdad was a toxic wreck. Militias ruled, with ethnic cleansing rampant. And, Iraq's leaders couldn't even agree about which day of the week it was.

We had never applied a coherent military or political policy in Iraq.  Dithering leaders, civilian and in uniform, squandered American and Iraqi lives. A unique opportunity to jumpstart change in the Middle East had collapsed amid ideological fantasies, a looting orgy for well-connected contractors and Washington's simple unwillingness to really fight.

 Even the new US jefe maximo for Iraq, Petraeus, was a dark horse. He'd just signed off on a counterinsurgency manual suggesting that the key to defeating terrorists is to learn to pronounce “Salaam aleikum” (Peace be with you) properly.

And then it all went right. Confounding Democrats who expected him to preside over a retreat, Petraeus took the fight to the enemy like a rat terrier on meth. Jettisoning all the p.c. dogma, he turned out to be the first true warrior we put in command in Iraq.

 Luck turned our way, too - and luck matters in war. Al Qaeda had managed to alienate its erstwhile Sunni Arab allies in record time. Former insurgents decided that the Great Satan America made a better dancing partner than Osama & Co.

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/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.


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