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Op-Ed: The Anbar Awakening Tipping Point

By Mark L Harvey     Mar 1, 2008 in Politics
In the recent publication (Mar/Apr 08) of the United States Army Combined Arms Center, Major Niel Smith, U.S. Army and Colonel Sean MacFarland, U.S. Army, wrote and published the story of the victorious turn-around in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.
The home page of the USACAC is located here and the Anbar story is located here.
As the world now witnesses the miraculous turn-about in the terrorist hot-bed that was once declared untenable, Al Anbar Province has become the role model of other units striving for the same end result and it is working and has worked. There is no denying it - at least one of personal and professional integrity will not deny the facts.
Major Smith and Colonel MacFarland explain in stark contrast what the American people have been hearing from the politicians as they prattle, pander and cater for votes from one group or another. The publication is entitled Anbar Awakens: The Tipping Point.
As in any military engagement, there are goals, plans, strategies and the dreaded Rules of Engagement...some good...some bad. The battlefield is an ever evolving circumstance. The key in any battle is to be able to predict and/or have at the least, educated guesses what the enemy will do in each and every encounter. The enemy is doing the same thing so, the ever evolving circumstance or circumstances will be continually in a state of flux...nothing is ever the same thing twice.
With that being said, listen to the words of the men in the field that were there and know:
The stunning security improvements in Al Anbar province during 2007 fundamentally changed the military and political landscape of Iraq. Many, both in and outside the military (and as late as November 2006), had assessed the situation in Anbar as a lost cause. The "Anbar Awakening" of Sunni tribal leaders and their supporters that began in September 2006 near Ramadi seemed to come out of nowhere. But the change that led to the defeat of Al-Qaeda in Ramadi - what some have called the "Gettysburg of Iraq" - was not a random event. (1) It was the result of a concerted plan executed by U.S. forces in Ramadi. Tactical victory became a strategic turning point when farsighted senior leaders, both Iraqi and American, replicated the Ramadi model throughout Anbar province, in Baghdad, and other parts of the country, dramatically changing the Iraq security situation in the process. [...]
[...] Wherever we established improved security, we established civil military operations centers (CMOCs) and began the process of restoring services to the area. After securing Ramadi General Hospital, we began an extensive effort to improve its services and to advertise it throughout the city. Prior to our operation there in early July 2006, the hospital's primary function had been treating wounded insurgents, with most citizens afraid to enter the facility. We also took a different IO tack with the sheiks. Instead of telling them that we would leave soon and they must assume responsibility for their own security, we told them that we would stay as long as necessary to defeat the terrorists. That was the message they had been waiting to hear. As long as they perceived us as mere interlopers, they dared not throw in their lot with ours. When they began to think of us as reliable partners, their attitudes began to change. Still, we had to prove that we meant what we were saying. [...]
Read the above again. Then read it again. After you have read it twice, read it three more times and let it sink in. Then compare those words with those words we have been hearing from Pelosi - Murtha - Reid - Biden - Clinton (either one) - Obama types. Do you see the contrast? Do you recognize the total and complete untruths from our political leaders?
Conclusion: The men assigned and attached to the Ready First paid a terrible price for securing Ramadi. In nine months, 85 of our Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines were killed, and over 500 wounded in some of the toughest fighting of the war. Only the remarkable results they achieved, and the liberated citizens of Ramadi who can now walk the streets without fear, temper the grief caused by their sacrifice. It is gratifying to see our model adapted and used elsewhere in the War on Terror. It proves once again that America's Army is truly a learning organization. In the end, probably the most important lesson we learned in Ramadi was that, as General Petraeus said, "Hard is not hopeless". MR
And that is the spirit of Patriotism Patriotism has no boundaries that one can place one's finger on but it is readily discernible.
Perhaps it would be wise of our particular politicians that haven't read the memo yet to actually read the memo and contact those that are in the know. Calling for a withdrawal, as was done recently and shot down in flames in the face of a debate to discuss the facts at hand, is political suicide.
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