Alpine Summit

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good News from Iraq

The Christian Science Monitor reports about Baquba, Iraq. You may remember it as the city that was utterly lost to the terrorists. The MSM shouted it from the rooftops (as usual) and implied it was evidence that everything was going to hell in Iraq accompanied with the usual (read: tired) "end the occupation now!" tirade.

Well, it seems that not only have we won back the city, but voter turn-out was 60%, the constitution was approved by the population there, and violence has been relatively low.

Last January, Baquba was symbol of everything going wrong in Iraq - and its neighborhood of Buhritz was a symbol for everything going wrong in Baquba.

This city just 50 miles north of Baghdad was crawling with Sunni Arab mortar teams, snipers, and bombmakers. They had made parts of the city their own, killing police when they found them and driving the rest into hiding. Their grip was so strong that only 60 percent of the region's polling places opened for Iraq's first post-Saddam election. In Buhritz, not a vote was cast; some polling sites were torched.

But today, US commanders are pointing to Baquba as a symbol of what might go right. Every polling place stayed open all day for the Oct. 15 referendum that approved Iraq's new constitution earlier this month. Violence was light, while voter turnout was high.

So why is it like this now? That's right! They pissed off the Army and the Army went to work.

There have also been heavy doses of force. In June, Buhritz - a tough neighborhood where kids swim in a murky, trash-strewn irrigation canal fed from the nearby Diyala River - was almost a no-go zone for Risberg's men. They didn't come down except in force, and even then were almost certain to be shot at.

Then on June 17, Lt. Noah Harris of Dawsonville, Ga., and Cpl. William Long of Lillburn, Ga., were killed when their humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in the area, and Risberg decided he'd had enough. "That was the straw that broke the camel's back," he says, pointing to the crater left by that earlier bomb as he rolled through Buhritz with just a three-humvee convoy.

The Army shut down the area for six weeks - basically letting no one in and no one out - and began major sweeps through the area. Risberg said the operation had a twofold objective: To capture fighters in the area and to persuade residents not to support them.

Risberg was helped by Capt. Bobby Ray Toon, from Grannies Neck, Texas, who was directly responsible for Buhritz. In the Army as an enlisted man for 18 years, he recently attended officer candidate school and was put in charge of a company of about 150 men. His experience made it easier for him to make the right calls in dealing with local civilians, problems that take as much political as military savvy.

Imagine! Because we used force, there is real peace in the area. Of course the hippies, I'm sure, probably won't be/aren't happy about this news. This is just a small example of how force is sometimes the better option.

Each time an attack originated in the area, Risberg would have a nearby palm grove shelled, sometimes as often as every 15 minutes the whole night. He'd also further restrict residents' movement. "We were trying to show them that you're going to help us clean up this area or you're going to pay the price,'' he explains. "I didn't care which."

When local families complained that the shelling frightened their kids, he'd tell them to help hand over insurgents - only then would the shelling stop. They also replaced the local mayor and the town council, who seemed sympathetic to the insurgency. Eventually, he and others in his battalion say, the approach got results.

Before you think "oh those oppresive troops went in and ousted the mayor they didn't agree with," remember not to assign moral equivalence to their islamic motivations and the Army's ultimate democratic motivations. The "results" they refer to is a 60% voter turn out (as opposed to 60% of polling places opening) as well as lower violence and Iraqi police with background support from the Army maintaining order.

The Army has turned over control of the city to the Iraqis and are now playing second fiddle which is EXACTLY what Bush said we would be doing. This is hardly the behavior of an imperialist nation (control the population by force for the economic and military benefit of the homeland).

This whole article is great evidence that Iraq is not a quagmire or utter failure, and therefore evidence that the liberals (once again) are wrong about their outlook on this war. Read the whole article because it's a safe bet that you won't hear anything about this from the MSM.