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Oops - it worked

Right Here, Right Now!

Posted: March 10, 2008 2:17 a.m.
Updated: May 11, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
The silence from the left is deafening. The War on Terror and Iraq appear to have disappeared from public discourse and are rarely mentioned by our friends on the left. Other than the occasional shrill cry of "Get the U. S. out," hearkening back to the hippie glory days of the '60s, Democratic presidential candidates and their supporting cronies have obtained a collective amnesia about the topic. I wonder why.

A little history is in order. At the end of 2006, civilian and Iraqi deaths were ranging between 2,500 and 3,000 per month. Violence was commonplace, and normal life and commerce were difficult if not impossible in Iraq. The administration, in concert with congressional leadership, devised a daring plan - dramatically increase the force levels in the country to turn the tide of battle and control. They called it the "New Way Forward" or, more commonly, the Surge.

The plan was simple and elegant. Force levels in January of 2007 were about 132,000. The plan called for an increase in strength of 25,000 to 28,000 new troops. These new forces would supplement the units already in position and allow better control of Baghdad and problematic Anbar province. It really made a lot of sense - with enough troops available, the U.S. military could carry out offensive operations to control areas and disrupt insurgent operations.

Simply put, there were enough of us to really whack 'em.

Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., immediately called for a vote to reject the proposed surge (Marketwatch, Jan. 5, 2007). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the increase "deeply disappointing" (Lakoff, Feb. 13, 2007). Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, claimed the plan could "cause a war with Iran" (Cleveland Leader, Jan. 7, 2007). Our very own Queen Hillary opposed any troop surge in Iraq (AP, Dec. 18, 2006).

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum. The Surge worked.

After President Bush announced his plan, troop levels were slowly ramped up to 152,000 in June 2007, when operations could commence to regain unstable areas. Troops continued to build until they hit a peak of 168,000 in September. Remarkably, U.S. troop casualties began to decrease. According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. forces had 121 deaths in May; 92 in June; 69 in July; 75 in August; 42 in September; and in the 30s in October, November, and December. The first two months of this year saw casualties of 40 and 29. This represents a 75 percent reduction in combat deaths and correlates directly to the Surge.

A precipitous decrease in Iraqi deaths was also seen. According to icasualties.org, the number of Iraqi security force and civilian deaths were 3,000 per month in February and March of 2007 but went down to 500 to 600 per month in January and February this year. This is around an 80 percent reduction!

Further, Newsweek and other print media reported on the rebirth of commerce in Baghdad, including the opening of shops and restaurants in the river district in the heart of the city. Iraqis began to feel like stability and peace were possible in a free and democratic nation.

And what is the Democratic response to all of this positive news? Hillary Clinton told General Petraeus during his report to Congress that to believe him required "a willing suspension of disbelief." Barack Obama, D-Ill., told New Hampshire Public Radio in July, "here's what we know. The surge has not worked." Joe Biden, D-Neb., said in November, "this whole notion that the surge is working is a fantasy" (Las Vegas Sun Politics). Incredible. Even when faced with the reality of the situation, liberal leadership was still unwilling to admit they were wrong.

Unfortunately, many folks in our valley also continue to be deluded by the propaganda that spews from the left. They need to face facts. U.S. military and Iraqi civilian/security force deaths are dramatically down. The bad guys are losing control of Iraq as stability begins to take hold. Many simply cannot come to terms with the reality that President Bush was right.

Ironically, Moveon.org released an ad that identified the surge strategy as "McCain's idea" (Nov. 23, 2007). If so, it appears that the Republican candidate for the presidency may be far more astute and wise than we realized. With Obama and Clinton clearly unable (or unwilling) to put aside their pride and arrogance and see the situation for what it truly is, John McCain has proven himself to be the visionary commander in chief and leader that we can trust and rely upon.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita Valley resident. "Right Here, Right Now" rotates among Santa Clarita Valley Republicans. Lunetta's column represents his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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