Thursday, December 01, 2005

Maybe There Is Hope

This post goes out specifically to two of my close and very liberal friends, 4Ps and Macie. We have been having really energetic debates over email about the war in Iraq. I want to bring to their attention, and everyone else that wants a brief assessment of the war effort, to an article in today’s New York Times. The article gives reason to be optimistic about the situation while also pointing out the challenges that still lay ahead. I think this piece is very important because there seems to be some misunderstanding out the situation in Iraq, and rightly so. I definitely feel like we hear the very rosy picture from President Bush, something I have trouble believing, and the very negative picture from those on the left that want us out of there. Below are some important excerpts.

Now, American commanders say they believe they have a strategy that can win the war, if anything can. They have concentrated American forces for a series of offensives aimed at regaining control of strategic cities like Falluja - recaptured from the insurgents in a bloody offensive last November - and denying insurgent infiltrators safe havens in towns along the Syrian border. In Baghdad and other major cities, they have mounted a relentless campaign to track down, kill and capture Islamic militants whose bombing campaigns were killing as many as 600 Iraqis a month - and making headlines in the United States that eroded public support for the war.

Most important, the American commanders have poured resources into building up the Iraqi forces, with results Mr. Bush laid out Wednesday. From the single Iraqi battalion trained in the summer of 2004, there are nearly 120 army and police combat battalions deployed now. All major American-led offensives involve Iraqi troops, and more than 20 American bases, including Saddam Hussein's 1,000-acre palace complex in Tikrit, have been handed back to the Iraqis. The process of withdrawing American troops from the cities to more remote bases where they are less visible to Iraqis, but still available for rapid deployment when needed, has begun.

It really looks like American commanders have a reasonable plan that, if things go well, doesn’t involve a major American troop presence in Iraq indefinitely. I realize I am guilty of what I just accused Bush of, only providing the positive news. There are plenty of challenges ahead, most of which have to do with the capability of the Iraqi forces. They need to make a lot of progress, but if the American commanders can be optimistic, then so can I.