"What I Saw In Iraq"
My friend Michelle Malkin just returned. Her observations are a "must-read" to add to your input and understanding of what's really happening in the war.
In Washington, counterinsurgency theory (COIN) is a neat, elite intellectual abstraction. Since coalition forces simply can't catch and kill every insurgent lurking in the populace, the theory goes, it's up to the military to persuade the Iraqi people to turn on the insurgents, join the political process and help themselves.
At FOB Justice -- former headquarters of Saddam Hussein's ruthless military intelligence unit, the site of the dictator's execution by hanging and home to the Dagger Brigade 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division -- COIN is a vivid, hands-on reality. Here, a task force of brainy commanders, brawny patrol officers, courageous Arab-American interpreters, wizened trainers and intel gatherers, baby-faced convoy drivers and grim-humored gunners attempts to put President Bush's "winning hearts and minds" idealism into daily practice.
Michelle is reporting what she saw and how she saw it. It's not the "whole truth" from Iraq anymore than the knee-jerk pessimism of the "We're doomed! Run away!" crowd is. But it is worth noting how everyone from Michelle Malkin to John Burns at the New York Times continues to find support for--and a belief in--the mission by the soldiers on the ground in Iraq.
When I was in Iraq 18 months ago, I trusted the soldiers more than the angry agenda-driven reporters of the mainstream media. I still do.