Posted by Lex, on October 9, 2007
There are two must reads today on Iraq. The first is from the US News and World Report’s Fouad Ajami:
Beyond their pride, and the fury of their feuds, Iraqis of all stripes have now come to terms with their country’s desperate need of American protection and patronage. Ignore the pollsters who tell you that Iraqis have had their fill of the American presence. There is a realism that comes to men and women who know calamities, and this realism teaches Iraqis that this American project is their country’s chance for a way out of a history of grief and terror…
(The) American determination to see this war to a decent outcome, and the fatigue of the Iraqi protagonists, have transformed the landscape. We have been burned before, and progress has often vanished like a desert mirage, but there can be no denying the change that has come to Iraq… This is not a country at peace, and all its furies have not burned out, but a measure of order has begun to stick on the ground.
And then Rich Lowry, writing in the New York Post:
A war has probably never been so debated and so little understood as the one in Iraq. “The domestic political debate has nothing to do with what we’re doing here,” says one U.S. officer. It’s a representative comment – offered not in a spirit of bitterness, but of cold fact.
This is the lonely war. No one cares about it as much or understands it as well as the men and women here on the ground, who feel – understandably – that they’re the only ones even remotely engaged in the fight…
South of here in the rural Sunni area known as the “Triangle of Death,” there are 137 tribes and subtribes – what an officer of the 2nd Brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division calls “an archipelago of complex societal islands.” We have begun to master them. The tribes have produced thousands of volunteers to police the area, and violence has plummeted.
But the story hasn’t gotten out. Troops laugh about a reporter who refused to get off an aircraft upon learning that it had alighted in the dreaded Triangle of Death.
That kind of disconnect with press coverage and the debate back home is a constant theme. The Senate recently passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), calling for splitting Iraq in three. A colonel here scoffs that the Senate managed to agree on the one step that basically no one in Iraq wants to take.
But these are just the stories of soldiers with dusty boots and the Iraqi people they’re working beside.
What do they know?