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November 07, 2007

Michael Yon On Progress In Iraq: "This Is The Real Thing"

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Yon, who has been more cautious about progress in Iraq before. This time he's decidedly incautious. Read all the highlights; here are some highlights of the highlights.

HH: Tell us what the Iraqis are telling you about this lull or peace or improvement. What do they think is going on here, and how long will it last?

MY: I donít believe this is a lull. I believe this is the real thing. I believe that weíve seen lulls before, and Iíve always been very circumspect on taking a chance and saying hey, this is the real thing. But Iíve seen a change in the mood of the people, and itís remarkable. And I believe if we can just continue to help them progress, and weíve got a little bit more serious fighting to do up in Ninewa Province, and then in Kirkuk and Salahaddin Province, and also out in Diayala Province, those four provinces. Other than that, I think really, itís a matter of pouring on the juice and helping them to get this country going again. I mean, theyíre just finished with the war, as long as we can help get the monkey off their back in the form of al Qaeda, which is pretty much crushed at this point.

...

Yeah, [a return to normalcy and decency is] happening. In some areas, quicker than others. You know, weíre just on the front edge of it. But I can tell you, I can see it every day Iím out now, or week by week, month by month now, I really believe that, Iíll be the first to say it and take a chance, I really believe five years from now, Iím going to be back here with my camera and my longest lens shooting bird photos. I just feel that itís coming. You can sense the change in the people. The Iraqi people actually really tend to like Americans. Itís the ones that donít like us, you know, that can be a pretty severe difference. But in general, they really want to have a relationship with the United States, and itís not, weíre not dealing with blood enemies here at all.

This is interesting:

HH: And what about Iran? What does the average Iraqi tell you about Iran?

MY: Well, now thatís not only a good question, but an increasingly kind of semi-humorous question, because every day now, including yesterday again, a retired army colonel, an Iraqi army colonel, told me hey, we will support you in your war against Iran. And he keeps saying this in front of AmericanÖoh yeah. Every day Iím hearing that.

The post goes on to contrast the real facts on the ground with Hillary!'s and Reid's pronouncements as to the "lost war."

Thanks to CJ.

Related: General Says Drop In Violence Sustainable, Iraqi Forces Poised To Shoulder More of the Load: More optimistic predictions.

A reduction in violence in Baghdad over the past few months represents a sustainable trend that will allow fewer U.S. troops to protect the Iraqi capital, a top American general said on Wednesday.

Major-General Joseph Fil, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, said al Qaeda in Iraq no longer had a foothold in any part of the city of 7 million people. The group is blamed for most big car bombings that have killed thousands.

Death squad killings in Baghdad were also down 80 percent from their peak while roadside bombings had fallen 70 percent, Fil told foreign reporters without giving specific timeframes.

"I think there is going to come a day when certainly we will need less coalition troops in Baghdad," Fil said.

Asked when that would be, he said: "Already we are at a point where we'll see that as the surge forces depart the city, we'll see a natural decline in numbers and I'm very comfortable where that comes to, with that gradual attrition of forces."

..

Fil said the drops in violence in Baghdad were sustainable.

"I do think it's sustainable and that's because first of all we're working with Iraqi forces now in really almost every corner of the city," he said.

...

He said the Iraqi security forces had become "much, much more effective," while volunteers who patrolled their own neighborhoods in coordination with the Iraqi security forces had had a positive impact.

...

Fil said one thing he had noticed was that ordinary Iraqis he met now no longer hounded him about security. He said their focus was on electricity, water and jobs.

Quick, let's surrender while there is still an enemy to surrender to.


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posted by Ace at 04:14 PM

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