The Iraq war has been very polarizing, especially this election year since the general consensus is Hillary lost because of her vote for the war. In fact, it’s been reasonably opined Obama would’ve never joined the race this year without that wedge. And of course, earlier in the GOP primaries John McCain stated the US might be in Iraq for 100 years or more. This topic will be in the forefront for the rest of this election cycle.
Strip away the polititicking and the reality on the ground is still going on right now. There are US soldiers in harms way, the mission to create a democratic Iraq from the rubble of Saddam’s oppressive rule continues and solutions to a very difficult position are being sought and tried out.
One solution that has been very effective is the “surge,” adding more boots on the ground. There is still much violence — it is a war zone — but in way we are beginning to win some of the “hearts and minds” battles that seemed to become lost in the haze of the insurgency, and a civil war among Muslim factions.
Here’s an interesting account by Kevin Ferris in the Philidelphia Inquirer on the topicthat features Michael Yon, the noted milblogger.
From the link:
As I rewatched the movie Obsession – Radical Islam’s War Against the West recently, a few things jumped out, including these quotes from various Arab media outlets:
“America is the foremost enemy of the Muslim nation . . .”
“They have come to fight the people of Iraq . . .”
“The Americans must understand that when they attack the holy places, they attack all the Muslims of the world.”
The film also showed propaganda videos from Iran, which included shots of U.S. forces kicking in doors, missiles being launched, Arab children crying, Muslims running with their wounded. Interspersed throughout were images of a smiling President Bush.
None of this was particularly original. What stood out, though, was the realization that since this movie was released in 2006, the United States had actually increased troop levels in Iraq, had redoubled efforts to rout al-Qaeda there. If anything, Bush had given propagandists more fuel to inflame the anti-American Arab street.
Rather than our forces’ driving Iraqis into the arms of the radicals, the reverse happened.
It seems Iraqis have decided that al-Qaeda, not America, is the “foremost enemy.” That al-Qaeda, not America, had come to fight the people of Iraq. That al-Qaeda, not America, was the enemy of Muslims and their holy places.
Does this mean Iraqis want America encamped there forever? Of course not. Or that innocent life hasn’t been lost as the result of U.S. actions? No.
But what irony. In the heart of the proposed capital of the radical Islamist caliphate, the antidote to jihadi propaganda has actually been exposure to the courage, decency and values of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.
Over the last five years, Iraqis have had the chance to see both sides in action: terrorists, extremists and militias that slaughter civilians at every opportunity vs. Americans who go out of their way to protect innocents, to help provide basic services, to rebuild communities.
(Hat tip: Millblogging.com)