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October 17, 2008

The US Marines In Anbar Province: They Went, They Saw, They Kicked Ass

And now they are handing things over to the Iraqis and packing up to leave.

In the last 10 months the Marines in Fallujah have done what was unthinkable before the surge began — they have quietly transferred out of one of Anbar province's largest cities. FOX News has learned in an exclusive interview with Kelly from Fallujah that 80 percent of the move is complete. In February there were 8,000 Marines living at Fallujah base. Now there are about 3,000 left. By Nov. 14 there will be none.

"We will shut down the command function here and I will move; my staff has already started to move," Kelly, the commander of Multinational Force-West, told FOX News in an exclusive interview via satellite. "We will turn the lights off here."

“Oh sure we always knew we’d win militarily”, the Democrats will say (with a mostly straight face), “but what about political reconciliation? Huh, what about that?” We’ll the Marines have seen that too.

But perhaps the biggest sign that the situation has changed for the better for Sunnis living in Anbar: With the help of the Marines and the Iraqi police, nearly 100 percent of the eligible voting population were registered a month ago to vote in upcoming provincial elections.

"They seem to add another political party every day," Kelly said. "We didn't have a single security violation of any kind. They're at least going to give the electoral process a shot … at least going to give democracy a chance."

The Sunnis, who fueled a large part of Iraq's insurgency, boycotted the last election for Parliament with only 3 percent of Sunnis participating. Now they feel they have a stake in the government.

While we celebrate this victory (yes, that’s what it is) we should never forget all the good men and women, both American and Iraqi, who sacrificed to make it possible. Too many of them didn’t live to see this but it is their legacy.

So now that the Marines are wrapping their time in Iraq, what do they plan on next? A vacation? A little time at the beach? Nah, they are going to reload, retrain and bring their own special brand of diplomacy to Afghanistan.

h/t Blackfive


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posted by DrewM. at 02:44 PM

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