Granted I am now in my 50’s but I double checked and I am right. When the President announced the “surge” in Iraq we were told not to expect results before September, we were also told that the Generals on the ground would report back to Congress at that time. So what am I missing here? It is only July, the surge forces have only been on the ground a few weeks. The President couldn’t have meant last September there was no surge then. So why are some Republicans jumping off the “bandwagon?” Why are legislators trying to put the disastrous Baker plan up for a vote? Why are they looking to appease the terrorists even more?
According to preliminary reports from the solders on the ground the “surge” is showing results.
Here is a report published on Friday in the Weekly Standard
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On June 15, 2007, Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno launched the largest coordinated military operation in Iraq since the initial U.S. invasion. The campaign, called Operation Phantom Thunder, aims to expel al Qaeda from its sanctuaries just outside of Baghdad. Denying al Qaeda the ability to fabricate car bombs and transport fighters through the rural terrain around Baghdad is a necessary prerequisite for securing the capital city, the overarching military goal for Iraq in 2007. Phantom Thunder consists of simultaneous offensives by U.S. forces throughout central Iraq. The Division north of Baghdad cleared the long-festering city of Baqubah and its outlying areas. The Division east and southeast of Baghdad is clearing the critical al Qaeda stronghold in Arab Jabour, immediately south of the capital. It is also destroying al Qaeda’s ability to transport weapons along the Tigris River and to send reinforcements from the Euphrates to the Tigris. The Division west of Baghdad is clearing al Qaeda’s sanctuaries between Fallujah and Baghdad, all the way to the shores of Lake Tharthar northwest of the capital. Meanwhile, the Division in Baghdad continues to clear important areas of the city and areas to its immediate north and west. Phantom Thunder is not a new strategy or a new plan. U.S. commanders have been preparing Phantom Thunder since the effort to secure Baghdad began in February. General Odierno, who commands Coalition combat forces in Iraq, has been carefully positioning the additional brigades that the President sent to Iraq. General Odierno has, brigade by brigade, encircled Baghdad. U.S. troops have not, literally, cordoned off the city. Rather, General Odierno has stationed Coalition forces on every major supply line, river, or road in a circle around Baghdad. Much of the fighting outside of Baghdad between February 15 and June 15 has aimed at positioning U.S. troops in these areas and reconnoitering them. Many of these areas received little or no attention from U.S. combat forces in 2006. Coalition and Iraqi forces have also been securing Baghdad’s vital and unstable neighborhoods before and during Phantom Thunder. General Odierno’s careful disposition of forces inside of Baghdad from February to June has restricted insurgent movement within the city, and has squeezed the enemy into ever smaller operating areas within the capital. As the offensive outside the city continues, it is increasingly difficult for the enemy inside the city to receive supplies or reinforcements.. Editor’s note: The Iraq Report will be published at www.weeklystandard.com approximately every two weeks and will chronicle and analyze ongoing coalition military operations both in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. To read the full report in pdf click here or on the image below. Previous Iraq Reports: Iraq Report I: From “New Way Forward” to New Commander, March 1, 2007 Iraq Report II: The Baghdad Security Plan begins., March 15, 2007 Iraq Report III: The Anbar Awakening., April 5, 2007 Iraq Report IV: The Battle for Diyala, May 7,2007
Are they talking to the Solders? Maybe these legislators are putting their politics ahead of what is good for the country. Today’s editorial from the Washington Times asks many of the same questions.
The Appeasement Caucus
The contrast could hardly be more stark: While American troops are risking their lives (and achieving success on the battlefield) in places like Baghdad and Baqubah, Harry Reid and the senatorial circus return to Washington today to begin another week in which they will signal retreat and weakness again and again. The fastest way to get airtime on ABC, NBC, CBS or CNN or fawning coverage in The Washington Post, the New York Times editorial pages or the Associated Press is if you adopt a defeatist posture on the war in Iraq — especially if you take the Jim Baker/Lee Hamilton view that Washington’s purported refusal to talk with Iran and Syria is the reason that they undermine American interests whenever they can. By contrast, Sen. Joe Lieberman’s yeoman work in highlighting Iran’s destructive role — and the fact that Al Gore’s former running mate has come to the conclusion that raids against terrorist bases on Iranian territory may be necessary to achieve victory in Iraq — is virtually ignored. Until now, Republicans have stayed relatively united, at least when it came to congressional floor votes on Iraq — a reality that has made it impossible for Mr. Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to muster enough votes to override a presidential veto of funding cutoffs, withdrawal dates and other moves that undercut troops in the field and tell the Islamists that they only have to wait us out. But now that Republican senators such as Richard Lugar (Indiana), Pete Domenici (New Mexico) and George Voinovich (Ohio) have read the polls and made statements poor-mouthing the latest campaign to uproot jihadists in Iraq, they have earned themselves the sort of “Strange New Respect” once reserved for Republicans who agreed to deals that increased taxes in exchange for budget cuts that never materialized.It’s important to be at least somewhat grounded in reality about what is significant about the defeatist posture taken by Mr. Lugar et. al. — and what is business as usual for a certain type of Republican. Anyone who remembers Mr. Voinovich’s emotional attack against John Bolton (Mr. Voinovich later reversed himself) or his ramblings in response to radio talk-show host Sean Hannity’s factual questions about his support (subsequently reversed) for the failed Senate immigration bill understands that he’s hardly a thinking man’s conservative in the mold of the late Sen. Robert Taft. Mr. Lugar has rarely missed a chance during the past year to state his misgivings about President Bush’s approach toward Iran. Mr. Domenici, a former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has long been known as one of the congressional Republicans most likely to embrace the tax-increase “compromises” noted above. On the immigration bill, Mr. Domenici was initially a vocal supporter and voted for cloture on June 26. But after hearing what the public thought about the legislation, he voted to kill it two days later.In short, no one remotely familiar with their records would consider any of them to be among the Senate’s conservative intellectual giants. On the contrary, they are poll-driven politicians who want to hold on to power, and the polls indicate that many Americans are decidedly unhappy about the direction of the war. Mr. Domenici said Thursday that while he favored moving U.S. troops “out of combat operations and on the path to coming home,” he didn’t support an immediate withdrawal of troops or a reduction of funding.This “compromise” didn’t sit well with Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. forces in part of Iraq. “These surge forces are giving us the capability we now have to take the fight to the enemy. And the enemy only responds to force and we now have that force,” Gen. Lynch said on Friday. “We can deny the enemy the sanctuaries. If those surge forces go away, that capability goes away, and the Iraqi forces aren’t ready yet to do that. So now what you’re going to find, if you did that, is you’d find the enemy regaining ground, re-establishing the sanctuary, building more IEDs, carrying those IEDs in Baghdad and the violence would escalate. It’d be a mess.”The most pernicious thing about all the talk of bringing U.S. troops home is the fact that it would reverse the successes that American troops are achieving. For months, this newspaper has reported the story of how Sunnis in Anbar province in western Iraq are taking up arms against al Qaeda. The same thing now appears to be occurring in Baqubah, located in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, in which American troops launched an offensive June 19 to dislodge al Qaeda forces. “The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again,” blogger Michael Yon, who is embedded with U.S. troops in Baqubah, reported Friday. Similarly, Michael Gordon of the New York Times also reported Friday on the remarkable successes that U.S. troops in Diyala are having. It should also be noted that Iran — now a leading supporter of both Sunni and Shi’ite jihadists fighting U.S. forces in Iraq — has shown itself to be vulnerable to economic pressure — witness the riots over gasoline rationing that have swept the country.So what do senators want to do? To throw the mullahs a diplomatic lifeline. Mr. Domenici, along with Sen. Ken Salazar, Colorado Democrat, and Republican Sens. Robert Bennett of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who both should know better, is supporting S. 1545, a bill to make the 79 recommendations of the Iraq Study Group (including talks with Tehran and Damascus) the official policy of the U.S. government. When you combine this foolishness with the parade of amendments calling for troop “redeployments” and setting timetables for withdrawal from Iraq by April 1, 2008, it’s clear that Mr. Reid and his “bipartisan” coalition of helpers are poised to send another unmistakable message of weakness to the jihadists starting today.