Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sen. Schumer's Shamelessness

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has no shame in making the baseless assertion that the improvement in the situation in Anbar province had nothing to do with the US military. For the record, he stated the following:
And let me be clear, the violence in Anbar has gone down despite the surge, not because of the surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from al Qaeda said to these tribes we have to fight al Qaeda ourselves. It wasn't that the surge brought peace here. It was that the warlords took peace here, created a temporary peace here. And that is because there was no one else there protecting.
Not only does that go against the facts on the ground, but the facts as known by the Iraqis living there. Schumer has gone on about Iraq with blinders on, and the improvements there are not only real and tangible, but a direct result of changed tactics by the US military under Gen. Petraeus. Notes the Times of London:
Captain Patriquin may have offered more than mere words. His main interlocutor, Sheikh Abdul Sittar Bezea al-Rishawi, told The Times that he gave them guns and ammunition too. The sheikhs did rise up. They formed a movement called the Anbar Awakening, led by Sheikh Sittar. They persuaded thousands of their tribesmen to join the Iraqi police, which was practically defunct thanks to al-Qaeda death threats, and to work with the reviled US troops. The US military built a string of combat outposts (COPs) throughout a city that had previously been a no-go area, and through a combination of Iraqi local knowledge and American firepower they gradually regained control of Ramadi, district by district, until the last al-Qaeda fighters were expelled in three pitched battles in March. What happened in Ramadi was later replicated throughout much of Anbar province.

Ramadi’s transformation is breathtaking. Shortly before I arrived last November masked al-Qaeda fighters had brazenly marched through the city centre, pronouncing it the capital of a new Islamic caliphate. The US military was still having to fight its way into the city through a gauntlet of snipers, rocket-propelled grenades, suicide car bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Fifty US soldiers had been killed in the previous five months alone. I spent 24 hours huddled inside Eagles Nest, a tiny COP overlooking the derelict football stadium, listening to gunfire, explosions and the thump of mortars. The city was a ruin, with no water, electricity or functioning government. Those of its 400,000 terrified inhabitants who had not fled cowered indoors as fighting raged around them.

Today Ramadi is scarcely recognisable. Scores of shattered buildings testify to the fury of past battles, but those who fled the violence are now returning. Pedestrians, cars and motorbike rickshaws throng the streets. More than 700 shops and businesses have reopened. Restaurants stay open late into the evening. People sit outside smoking hookahs, listening to music, wearing shorts – practices that al-Qaeda banned. Women walk around with uncovered faces. Children wave at US Humvees. Eagles’ Nest, a heavily fortified warren of commandeered houses, is abandoned and the stadium hosts football matches.
The Iraqis named a police station after Army Captain Travis Patriquin.

Speaking of Gen. Petraeus, the media is now full of reports undermining claims by the military that violence is down in Iraq, Democrats attempting to downplay Petraeus' report next week, and generally attempting to poke holes in the fact that the Surge has improved the situation in Iraq.

Does the prospect of a positive report from Petraeus scare so many people in DC that they've got to proactively attack the policy and report even before it is presented to Congress?

It should be noted that Captain Patriquin was killed in action in Ramadi. The Iraqis chose to honor his sacrifice by naming the police station after him.

Meanwhile, Cassandra lets it rip and doesn't hold back on Schumer's perfidy. Hot Air has the video.

Others blogging: Don Surber, Right Voices, and Jammie.

No comments: