The Corner

From a U.S. General in Iraq

Was, just this morning, real-time emailing with U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Dan Bolger, the commanding general of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq. Gen. Bolger is responsible for advising and assisting in the training and development of the Iraqi armed forces (include the Iraqi Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines). And he goes out on combat ops (raids, etc.) with them several teams each week. Anyway, when I asked him about the terrible news we’ve been hearing here lately–sectarian violence, summary executions, 85 killed in 24 hours, etc.–he said:

“I can assure you that the Iraqi Army continues to go out day and night across the country. They fight and they stay at it. Tonight [nearly 6:00 pm Baghdad time] as I write this almost 50 Iraqi battalions run their own areas, and cooperation with the people has been terrific.

“The average Iraqis have had it with the foreign terrorists and the home-grown criminals. They have fought back by providing information, by guiding Iraqi Soldiers and Police, and in some cases with their own weapons. Moreover, they will not be intimidated from going to work, school, and worship. Iraqis choose to gather freely, to debate openly, and to go about their daily routines, the greatest rebuke of all to these terrorists.

“I say this based on my own experiences out and about with Iraqi forces. The enemy used to attack us–that has gotten too dangerous. They used to hit Iraqi military and Police–now that is too hard. So they are now killing innocent civilians, including old folks, women, and children. This recent surge is a mark of desperation, I think.

“The summer Soldiers and sunshine patriots may shrink from the fight, but the many, many good people–ours and Iraqis, the vast majority–are hanging in there to see this through. And we will.”

A former U.S. Marine infantry leader, W. Thomas Smith Jr. writes about military issues. He has covered war in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and in Lebanon. ...

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