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August 22, 2006
Iraqis Keep Reporting For Duty

A week ago, I wrote that the United States needed a commitment to win in Iraq, rather than playing not to lose, or we should get out of the country. Rick Moran said much the same thing in his essay from yesterday. However, the Iraqis still show that they have committed to self-government and the rule of law, even in the difficult province of Anbar:

More than 500 Iraqi men have joined the police in restive Anbar province — a focal point of the Sunni Arab insurgency — in the most successful recruiting drive in the region by U.S. and Iraqi forces, the U.S. military said Tuesday. ...

U.S. Marines screened thousands of applicants earlier this month in various regions along the western Euphrates River valley before shortlisting the recruits for the Anbar police force, said a statement by the U.S. command.

Most American deaths this month have been in Anbar province west of Baghdad, where support for the Sunni Arab insurgency runs deep. The latest casualties in Anbar were two Marines and a sailor who were killed in combat Sunday. All three belonged to the Regimental Combat Team 7, which conducted the three-day police recruitment.

Maj. Lowell Rector, head of the police transition team for RCT-7, called the recruiting drive the most successful the U.S. and Iraqi forces had launched since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to the statement.

Yesterday, George Bush told the nation that the US will not abandon Iraq as long as he remained President. He also discussed the redeployment of forces freed from police duty in other areas of Iraq to the Sunni Triangle in order to help secure an area blighted with sectarian and political violence. These are good steps, but we need to start seeing overwhelming force applied to the militias that have undermined the authority of the government and official security forces.

The Iraqis haven't quit yet, not even in Anbar. We need to muster the will to help these men quell the violence and restore security to central Iraq before it falls completely apart.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 22, 2006 7:05 AM

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