Another nail in the coffin of the naysayers...

Zaphod

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Link to article.

What I see every day in Iraq: locals turning against the insurgents
BY MICHAEL TOTTEN

Sunday, December 2nd 2007, 4:00 AM

FALLUJAH, IRAQ - In August, I wrote in these pages that it was too soon to judge Gen. David Petraeus' surge of troops in Iraq a success or a failure. It's not too soon anymore.

Baghdad, the most dangerous city in all of Iraq, is only half as violent as it was when I was there during the summer. And the fact that the capital is now the deadliest city is itself evidence of a tectonic shift on the ground.

In the spring of 2007, Ramadi was the most violent place in Iraq. But the insurgency there has been finished. The Taji area north of Baghdad, which was a catastrophe when I paid a visit in July, is now going the way of Ramadi.

I am writing these words from Fallujah, site of the most horrific battle of the entire war in November 2004, and the city thought to be the meanest in Iraq since at least the time of the British in Mesopotamia.

Almost everyone I know back home was sure I'd be shot at every day, that it's still a war zone out here. Based on the news reports - even the new, optimistic ones, could you blame them for thinking that?

But attacks against coalition forces in Fallujah are down by more than 90% since March of this year. Almost all attacks these days are single, ineffective pot shots rather than the lethal IEDs of last year.

There hasn't been a single firefight in this city for months. The Marines at Camp Fallujah haven't been shot at with a rocket or mortar since April. Not one Marine from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment has even been wounded since they rotated into the city two months ago. The only shots the Marines have fired have been practice rounds on the range.

There's a gigantic perception lag in America these days. The Iraq of the popular imagination and the Iraq of the real world are not the same country. It wouldn't be quite right to say Fallujah is safe. You do not want to come here on holiday. But I'm a lot safer here as an American than any terrorist or insurgent would be.

The Marines and Iraqi police find caches of weapons every day, thanks to tips called in by locals. No insurgent can plant an IED without getting turned in by war-weary civilians. Recently, an Al Qaeda cell from outside of town showed up and tried to distribute propaganda DVDs. They too were turned over to the police.

There are only 250 Marines in Fallujah, a city of about 350,000, right now. Last year, there were 3,000 Marines. Because the city is pacified, troops that were here can join the additional surge forces that are clearing and holding more volatile areas.

Everywhere I go in Fallujah, I am mobbed by smiling children who want me to take their picture. It wasn't always this way.

"I didn't see a single kid out here in 2005," one Marine told me. "If a kid popped out of the house, his parents yanked him right back inside." Women walk the streets by themselves now, as well, which I'm also told was unheard of not long ago.

I'm embedded with the Marines. They keep me safe. If I spent too long in the city alone and without armed protection, terrorists might eventually find me. But any insurgent who shows up and announces himself in public won't be rolled up "eventually." He'll be arrested by the Iraqi police within minutes. Even the Marines are softer on terrorists here than the local cops are.

Fallujah was once the backbone of the insurgency. Today, as First Lt. Barry Edwards put it, "They avoid Fallujah now like it's the plague. ... They're afraid of the Iraqis."

"Security is good now because the coalition, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi police all work together," said an Iraqi fruit stand owner. "One hand does not clap."

Another Iraqi who works as a money changer told me, "They are finished. It will be a shame on all of us if the terrorists ever come back."

Insurgents are having a rough time if the American military is more welcome in Fallujah than they are. How shattering it must be for them. Imagine if Iraqi insurgents were more welcome in New York City than the Marines.
I would post this over at the other place, but I'd most likely be banned again after someone complained of me posting hate speech. :rolleyes:

I would love to be able to peek into the mind of General Petraeus and be able to understand the tactics and strategy he has employed since his arrival. That book he wrote for the Army War College must be one seriously rivetting read. It obviously works, and I think all of us, doves and hawks alike, could learn a lot from it.

I'm not certain how much of what he's doing can be considered classified, but if he ever writes his memoirs of this incredible turnaround, I'll be first in line to buy a copy.

Somewhere right about now, Abraham Lincoln is smiling down on the White House and saying, "Well, it would seem this President finally found his own Ulysis S. Grant after going through many a George Meade. Takes a while, sometimes."

I hope that this trend will continue. In any case, God bless the Marine Corps! :thumb:



Imagine if Iraqi insurgents were more welcome in New York City than the Marines.
I'm sorry to have to be the one to say this, but in many places in New York, THEY ARE. :mad:

There's a gigantic perception lag in America these days. The Iraq of the popular imagination and the Iraq of the real world are not the same country.

Even the Marines are softer on terrorists here than the local cops are.
ARE YOU LISTENING, MURTHA, YOU BACKSTABBING TRAITOR? :mad:
 
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Antoinette

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Most of the articles I read indicate that the violence is down dramatically in Iraq but I have had to go outside the major media outlets to find these articles. I hope the diplomatic / State Department "surge" in Iraq will happen next.
 

LineInTheSand

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I talked to an Army officer from Army Congressional Affairs while I was in Washington DC, TAD at a CG unit. This has been reality well before the news was reporting it.
 

Just_A_Mom

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Occasionally while getting ready in the morning I will watch Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. Anyway - he has a segment where he talks about the headlines in the newspapers in major cities - on Monday he showed where many had headlines that violence was down markedly in Iraq and that the "troop surge" was working.
Kinda odd to have "good" news about the war on a major network - but hopeful.
 

USNA2012Dad

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This is the kind of info that Bush needs to be "boasting" about to the press. I do not believe that Bush has done a good job of getting out the good news like he should have. This is one of Bush's flaws the he should have taken care of about 6 years ago.
 

LineInTheSand

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He's been boasting about it. And then the Congress says no. And CNN covers it like its just another lie they're getting. Press didn't cover it when a general who was in command said it was working. Doom and gloom is what they shoot for. They're only reporting it now because it's TOO in their face. Can't force them to print it...this isn't Pakistan.
 

TacticalNuke

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This is the kind of info that Bush needs to be "boasting" about to the press. I do not believe that Bush has done a good job of getting out the good news like he should have. This is one of Bush's flaws the he should have taken care of about 6 years ago.
I agree with this an believe it's the main reason Bush hasn't been as popular as he could be. He should be talking about the positive things in Iraq as much as the press is reporting the negative. It's what people hear most that they believe.
 
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