Let's cover a little progress in Iraq on the political, economic, and security fronts:
Since the liberation of Iraq in April of 2003. We Established a Governing Council in July 2003, Formed the First Cabinet in September 2003, Announced Deadlines for Sovereignty and Transitional Administrative Law in November of 2003, Developed Transitional Administrative Law by March of 2004, Announced the Interim Government on June 1, 2004, Transferred Sovereignty (the Interim Government Assumed Power) on June 30, 2004, and Convened a National Conference and established the National Council in July of 2004. Then, in January 2005, Democratic Elections were held and a Transitional Government was elected. These elections (which were held on schedule) saw 8 million vote. Sunni Arabs (formerly comprising Saddam's Ba'ath party) boycotted the elections only to express regret afterwards. A little under 100 attacks occurred nation-wide. Then in October 2005 a vote was taken of the Iraqi people and their Constitution was Ratified. These elections (which were also held on schedule) saw 10 million vote. Some Sunni Arabs (formerly comprimising Saddam's Ba'ath party) defied foriegn terrorists' call for Sunni Arabs to boycott this election as well creating a rift between the two camps of Iraq's insurgency. This time there were only 19 attacks on polling places. The Constitution was ratified by 80 percent of voters. There is a logical trend to follow here. The Sunni Arabs start out determined to oppose Iraqs new Government (perhaps because they thought that a Ba'athist controlled Iraq could re-emerge with the help of al Qaeda and leftists the world over), but as the majority of Iraqis eagerly take part in the democratic process, these home grown Iraqi insurgents end up marginalizing themselves in the political process and waring with their fellow citizens. Now they have a choice. They can continue down this dark path or they can seek a truce with their fellow citizens and particpate in a system of self determination. This is the situation we have created in Iraq.
According to the Brookings Institution - the standard of living in Iraq has doubled since 2003, and the Iraqi economy is projected to grow by 16.8 percent next year. This might be the first time you've heard about this, as it is indicative of great progress in Iraq and the Democrat Media can not perpetuate "Quagmire" while informing viewers of such facts.
In The Past Year, Iraqi Security Forces Have Made Real Progress. This time last year, there were only a handful of combat-ready Iraqi battalions. Now, there are over 120 Iraqi Army and Police combat battalions in the fight - typically comprised of between 350 to 800 Iraqi forces. Of these, about 80 battalions are fighting alongside Coalition forces. About 40 other battalions are taking the lead, and most are controlling their own battle space and conducting their own operations with some Coalition support.
Iraqi Forces Are Taking The Lead. This progress is especially clear when comparing last year's assault in Fallujah and recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar. In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine Coalition battalions - with six Iraqi battalions supporting. The Iraqis fought and sustained casualties but were primarily limited to protecting the flanks of Coalition forces and securing ground already cleared. This year in Tal Afar, the assault was primarily led by 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five Coalition battalions. Many Iraqi units conducted their own anti-terrorist operations and controlled their own battle space. Many Iraqi forces have stayed behind to ensure the city's safety and move ahead with reconstruction projects. In October, the citizens of Tal Afar were able to vote on the constitutional referendum.
Iraqi Forces Are Taking Control Of More Territory. Today, over 30 Iraqi Army battalions have assumed primary control of their own areas of responsibility. In Baghdad, Iraqi battalions have taken over major sectors - including some of the city's toughest neighborhoods. Iraqi troops are securing the area around Baghdad's Haifa street, and roughly ninety square miles of Baghdad province. Across the country, Iraqi battalions are making similar strides, taking responsibility of areas in South-Central, Southeast, Western, and North-Central Iraq. As Iraqi forces take control of more territory, Coalition forces can concentrate on training Iraqis and hunting down high-value terrorist targets.
Coalition Bases Are Being Transferred To Iraqi Control. As Iraqi forces take over more territory, the Coalition is transferring forward operating bases to Iraqi control. Over a dozen bases have been handed over to the Iraqi government - including Saddam Hussein's former palace in Tikrit. From many of these bases, the Iraqi Security Forces are planning and executing their own operations against the terrorists.
By Any Reasonable Standard, The Iraqi Security Forces Are Making Progress. Some critics point to the fact that only one Iraqi battalion has achieved complete independence from the Coalition. To achieve complete independence, an Iraqi battalion must not only fight the enemy on its own but also provide its own support elements, including logistics, airlift, intelligence, and command and control through their ministries. There are some battalions from NATO militaries would not be able to meet this standard. But not every Iraqi unit has to meet this level of capability for the Iraqi Security Forces to take the lead in the fight against the terrorists.
Progress Has Resulted Because Of Changes Made In Helping Train Iraqi Troops. Learning from earlier experiences, the Coalition has changed its approach to training. Now, Iraqi Army recruits receive about the same length of basic training as new U.S. Army recruits. With Coalition help, Iraqis have established schools for the Iraqi military services, an Iraqi military academy, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) academy, a military police school, and a bomb disposal school. NATO has established an Iraqi Joint Staff College as well. There is also an increased focus on leadership training, including professional development for Iraqi squad leaders, platoon sergeants, warrant officers, and sergeants-major. A new generation of Iraqi officers is being trained to lead their forces with skill, defeat the terrorists, and secure their freedom.
Changes Have Been Made To Iraqi Police Training. At first, Iraqi police recruits spent too much time in classroom lectures and received limited small-arms training. Now, recruits spend more of their time outside the classroom with intensive hands-on training in anti-terrorism operations and learning real-world survival skills. Iraq has six basic police academies, and one in Jordan, that together produce over 3,500 new police officers every 10 weeks. The Baghdad police academy has simulation models to prepare Iraqi police for real-life situations. Because Iraqi police are not facing common criminals, they are getting live-fire training with the AK-47s they need to fight the terrorists.
Recruits Are Being Instructed By Iraqi Officers. When the training effort began, nearly all the trainers came from Coalition countries. Today, the vast majority of Iraqi police and army recruits are taught by Iraqi instructors. By training the trainers, an institutional capability is being created to allow the Iraqi Forces to continue to develop and grow long after Coalition forces have left Iraq.
The Quality Of Recruits Is Improving. Even though Iraqi police and army recruits are being targeted by the terrorists, there is no shortage of Iraqis willing to risk their lives to secure a free Iraq. As Iraqi Security Forces become larger and more capable, more Sunnis are being encouraged to join the Iraqi army and police. These efforts were given a significant boost when more than 60 influential Sunni clerics issued a fatwa calling on young Sunnis to join the Iraqi Security Forces. These religious leaders are helping to make Iraqi Security Forces a truly national institution able to serve, protect, and defend all Iraqis.
That's THE SUPER SHORT VERSION. On November 30th President George W. Bush outlined his Strategy for Victory in Iraq in a speech to midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He also made available an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq - The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. It is a bit of a read, but it is well worth it. It is at once comprehensive, intuitive, adaptive, and most importantly - oriented toward goals and conditions rather than timetables and deadlines.
Democrats are OBSESSED with "timetables"/deadlines. This is a "tell". It is projection on their part. They have NO PLAN for victory in Iraq. NONE. All they've ever offered is critisism. Which is what this business of "timetables" is all about. They've literally said, "Bush broke it, he bought it". They deny our progress and highlight only our failings and losses. They've justified actively working against victory in Iraq with their disagreement with the decision to liberate Iraq in furtherence of the Global War on Terror. Why? Because they know Bush is right and they've no way to reconcile victory with their statements and behavior to the contrary. A free Iraq will (and has) changed the region for the better. A free Iraq will unite Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd in self determination and create a partner in our fight against the murderous terrorists in the heart of the mid-east. The Democrats have invested soo much time, energy, rhetoric, and pride in the position that liberating Iraq will not advance our war against terror, that they would sabotage our efforts by pulling our troops out before their mission is completed. What is the purpose of "timetables"? They are nothing more than artificial markers in the road to victory that Democrats can later complain about when we fail to meet them. What will they do if we don't meet them? Will someone be punished? Who? The Iraqis? "We didn't meet our timetable, QUAGMIRE, Murtha calls for withdrawal....again." Bush? Of course they want to punish Bush. A failure to meet a timetable is simply another opportunity for Democrats to point at the President and yell "failure"! This is what they do instead of offering constructive advice on how to do things better. Instead of advancing a plan of their own, they want a way to bash Bush. Let's look at the Democrat response to Bush's Plan. Their responses fall into 1 of 3 categories:
1) "No Progress! Quagmire! Withdraw!!!
Shortly after the President outlined his plan and the progress we've made on November 30th, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) aggressively endorsed a proposal by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. She previously praised Murtha for the stunt which she and Murtha had coordinated when Murtha called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq on November 17th (this took place right in between the successfull ratification of the Iraqi Constitution in October and the up-coming mid-December elections that will see representatives elected according to that Constitution). House Republicans called their bluff and put their rhetoric to a vote which failed to pass by 400 to 3. Pelosi voted against the resolution, but endorsed it in response to the President's speech outlining his plan and the progress we've made.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Backed The Call For Withdrawal Of Troops. "'I will be supporting the Murtha resolution,' Pelosi said of Murtha's resolution calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the earliest practicable date." ("Pelosi Backs Murtha's Call For Withdrawal From Iraq," Reuters, 11/30/05)
Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) Reiterated The Call For An Artificial Timetable. "'We need leadership, and we need a policy on Iraq that includes a flexible timetable for completing our military mission there. In August, Feingold put forward December 31, 2006 to help jumpstart the discussion of a target date to complete the military mission there." (Sen. Russell Feingold, "Statement Of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On The President's Speech" Press Release, 11/30/05)
Representative Murtha (D-PA) Has Said There Must Be An "Immediate Redeployment Of U.S. Troops." REP. MURTHA: "My plan calls for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, to create a quick reaction force in the region, to create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq." (Rep. Murtha, Press Conference, 11/17/05)
THIS IS THE DEMOCRAT PLAN FOR IRAQ. Defeat. Failure. The inability to win militarily, rather by "diplomacy" with the terrorists. And of course TIMETABLES to bash Bush about later.
2) Incoherence, Obfuscation, and Outright Lies
No one is a better poster child for this approach than the 2004 Democrat Presidential Candidate - John Kerry:
On November 30th, in response to President Bush's speech outlining his plan and citing progress we've made, Senator Kerry said:
"Secondly, this debate is not about an artificial date for withdrawal. Several times in his speech today, the president set up this straw man and then knocks it down. That's not what this debate is about... The president today in his speech said, I quote, 'America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am commander in chief.' Well, so long as Jack Reed is a United States senator and John Kerry is a senator and the rest of us are senators, none of us, no one, has ever suggested or believes that we should run in the face of car bombers or assassins. That, again, is not what this debate is about. All of us agree. No one is talking about running in the face of a challenge; we're talking about how to win, how to succeed, how do you best achieve our goals."
Refer to Democrat Response Category 1, Senator Kerry. "It's not about cutting and runnig, just about setting an artificial timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Ignore my incoherence, our House Minority Leader, and the Democrats who've been complaining that all is lost since 5 minutes after we set foot on Iraqi soil."
3) Inner party division. The few Democrats who want America to be victorious.
Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT):
"And, I Am Convinced, Almost All Of The Progress In Iraq And Throughout The Middle East Will Be Lost If Those Forces Are Withdrawn Faster Than The Iraqi Military Is Capable Of Securing The Country." (Sen. Joe Lieberman, Op-Ed, "Our Troops Must Stay," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/05)
Senator Lieberman has consistently and regularly advocated victory in the war in Iraq and the war on terror, and he also acknowledges the progress we've made and that we acted properly because Saddam was intent on attaining WMD and was a state sponsor of terrorism. But Represetative Hoyer found the House Minority leader's response to President Bush worthy of rebuttal.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) (The number 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives) issued a statement Wednesday that was in marked contrast to Pelosi's:
"I believe that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation's security and credibility,"
He also said:
"If our forces leave before the Iraqis can defend themselves, the result will be a national security disaster for the United States. Iraq will be convulsed into full-scale civil war that could provoke a regional conflagration. The Sunni triangle will likely become home base for the global jihad network, a safe haven for hatching new terrorist plots against our country and our friends. America will once again have broken faith with Iraq's long-suffering Kurds and Shi'a, and the cause of Arab democracy will be set back for a generation."
There are a few sane, responsible, adult Democrats left in the party. Unfortunately for them, the DNC is run by Howard Dean, MoveOndotnever, International ANSWER, and the leftist Democrat Media. And they have completely invested themselves in America's defeat in the war in Iraq and by extension the Global War on Terror. Fortunately for those same sane few, the United States military, it's Commander in Chief - George W. Bush, and the Iraqi people will succeed in transforming Iraq from the dominion of a brutal, terrorist-supporting dictator, into a constitutional democracy united with us to fight the terrorist threat.
What to expect in the Future - The Democrat Media's war against the War in Iraq:
You may not have heard about the ratification of Iraq's Constitution, because at the time the American press was fully dedicated to Democrat complaints about the 2000th soldier lost in the war effort. News of Iraq's successful constitutional referendum does not fit with the view that Iraq is a complete failure, so it was ignored.
Our soldiers have said that reporting of progress in Iraq vs reporting of the cost of that progress can be summed up in the following analogy: If a Marine buys a sandwich for $8.00 in Iraq, the Press would report "Soldier out 8 bucks".
Hence why you may not have heard about the following:
Coalition forces killed over 700 terrorists and capturing 1,500 in the last two months alone.
"It's been very successful," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told a briefing in Baghdad ...... referring to a series of security offensives conducted by U.S. and Iraq forces in Anbar province since September 28. Though media reports suggest recent U.S. casualties are due to deteriorating security conditions in Iraq as a whole, most were incurred during the new offensive - dubbed "Operation Steel Curtain."
In quotes picked up by Reuters, Gen. Lynch noted that despite the heavy combat, U.S. troop casualties had fallen more than 30 percent in November compared with last month. During the November 2004 assault on Fallujah, the monthly casualty rate was nearly twice what it is now. The Anbar operations, and others in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, have been focused on foreign fighters and militants linked to al-Qaida's chief of operations in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Gen. Lynch said. Noting that Zarqawi was nearly captured last week, Gen. Lynch said the close call was a result of the terror group's deteriorating position in the country.
"We come close to Zarqawi continuously," the top military man explained, adding, "At one point in time in the not too distant future, we will capture or kill him."
Such information is often mentioned only once and even then it is hedged in lavish amounts of nay saying. In contrast, the AP death count is presented in true "Marine out 8 bucks" form with ZERO hedging of this statistic in facts relating to progress we've made in Iraq.
Again. This is the true majority Democrat sentiment on Iraq. It also manifests in denying the nobility of our goals, demonizing the President and the troops (Jimmy Massey), and literally supporting America's enemies like former U.S. Attorney General under Democrat President Lyndon Johnson, Ramsey Clark, who is serving as legal counsel for Saddam Hussein. In a recent poll respondents were asked whether the world would be better off if the Butcher of Baghdad was still in power. Forty-one percent of Democrats said yes, 34 percent said no. Expect nothing but the same from the Democrat Media.