November 26, 2008

Positivity: Michael Yon — ‘Iraq’s New Dawn; Victory Across the Board’

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 1:30 pm

From Baghdad:

Victory Across the Board
By MICHAEL YON

The Iraq War is over.

Flames still burst from various sources and wild cards remain, such as the potential that Muqtada al-Sadr might stomp his feet and encourage his diminished militias to attack us. Yet support for Sadr among Shia is hardly monolithic. In fact, many Shia view him as a simpleton whose influence derives strictly from respect for his father. Others cite the threat from Iran, but the Iranian participation in the fighting here remains overstated.

Nobody knows what the future will bring, but the civil war has completely ended.

The Iraqi army and police grow stronger by the month, and even the National Police (NP) are gaining a degree of respect and credibility.

As recently as last year, the NPs were considered nothing more than militia members in uniform who murdered with impunity. To go on patrol with NPs was to invite attack. But the Americans worked to help alleviate the disdain.

On one occasion, US soldiers peacefully disarmed a local militia that was apparently about to ambush NPs who had harassed it the same morning, and the soldiers sent the NPs to their station and later gave the locals back their guns. The next day, we were at the NP station as the US commander, Lt-Col. James Crider, gave professional instruction to the NP commanders.

Over time, the extremely frustrating process of mentoring the NPs worked. Last week, I went on foot patrol with US forces and NPs in the same Baghdad neighborhood. Kids were coming up to say hello. And the same people who used to tell me they hated the NPs were actually greeting them.

Similar dynamics have occurred in places like Anbar, Diyala and Nineveh. Tour after tour of US soldiers carried the ball successively, further down the field.

Through time, trust and bonds have been built between the US and Iraqi soldiers, police and citizens. The United States has a new ally in Iraq. And if both sides continue to nurture this bond, it will create a permanent partnership of mutual benefit. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.

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