21 November 2008

Michael Yon On The Way Forward

Let me be clear: I'm joining in the celebration of 22 November as VI-Day (Victory in Iraq) not because I want to give whoever more fodder with which to ridicule those of us who want to win, but because I want to celebrate the accomplishments and sacrifice of our men and women in the military.

What they have achieved in Iraq is an incredible feat of arms. It ought to be celebrated. If, indeed, it works out that Barack Obama is able to withdraw on any timeline whatsoever and that withdrawal does not result in chaos and a failed state, it will have been because of what our military accomplished in Iraq.

I've said this before, but I repeat it again now: If you want to know what's really going on in Iraq and now, Afghanistan, you had better be reading Michael Yon. He doesn't do drive-by reporting, just visiting combat zones a few times a year, he is fully immersed, living in country and filing regular reports. He is funded and supported by the voluntary donations of his readers (in fact, this would be a good place to donate). He is not a cheerleader, but tells it like it is. His reporting is indespensible and, as far as I can tell, can't be had anywhere else.

His 10 November report talks about the success in Iraq but also warns President-elect Obama about the many challenges that we face in Afghanistan. Like everything he writes, it's a good read.
The Iraq war is over. Barring the unforeseen, the darkest days are behind, though we are still losing soldiers to low-level fighting with enemies that are true “dead-enders.” Last month we lost seven Americans in combat in Iraq. Peace, however, is not upon us. Another thirty or so Iraqis died today in suicide attacks. Nobody suffers more at the hands of Islamic terrorists than other Muslims.

A new President will soon begin to make critical decisions about Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic crisis at home, and countless other matters. While the Iraq war began, then boiled and finally cooled before President-elect Obama will be sworn into office on January 20th, 2009, the Afghanistan-Pakistan spectacle is just getting started. He was always a fierce opponent of our involvement in Iraq. And, as with so many Democrats in the Senate, he argued frequently, during the campaign, that we should have been focused on Afghanistan all along, because it is the real incubator of the international terrorist threat. Timing being everything, our new President will get his wish. Afghanistan now moves to center stage. The conflicts in Afghanistan and between Afghanistan and Pakistan have the simmering potential to overshadow anything we’ve seen in Iraq.
Click to read the rest of what Yon "hopes" Obama understands.

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