September 6, 2007

I Guess Uncle Chuck Didn't Read This, Either

Last night, I posted about Chuck Schumer's jaw-dropping assertion that the US military had nothing to do with the success in Anbar, Diyala, and western Iraq in throwing off al-Qaeda goons. I noted that Chuck apparently never bothered to read reports from independent journalists who have reported from the front during the surge. He also hasn't bothered to read the foreign press, including war critic Martin Fletcher of the Times of London, who spelled out clearly what role the Americans played in destroying AQI's grip on the region in a story from a week ago (h/t: commenter Bennett, and empahses mine):

I had met Captain Patriquin while embedded with US troops in Ramadi last November. He was a big man, moustachioed, ex-Special Forces, fluent in Arabic and engaged in what was then a revolutionary experiment for a US military renowned for busting doors down. He and a small group from the First Brigade Combat Team, part of the 1st Armoured Division, were assiduously courting the local sheikhs – tribal leaders – over endless cups of tea and cigarettes.

They were encouraging them to rise up against the hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters – Saudi, Jordanian, Syrian, Sudanese, Yemeni – who had arrived in Ramadi two years earlier, promising to lead the battle against the infidel Americans. What al-Qaeda actually did was recruit local thugs, seize control of the city, and impose a Taleban-style rule of terror. Mayor Latif said that they regularly beheaded “collaborators” in public and left the heads beside the corpses. Mischievous children would then put cigarettes in the mouths of the disembodied heads.

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.

“Al-Qaeda is gone. Everybody is happy,” said Mohammed Ramadan, 38, a stallholder in the souk who witnessed four executions. “It was fear, pure fear. Nobody wanted to help them but you had to do what they told you.”

In the comments section of the previous thread, a few of Uncle Chuck's goalpost movers tried to explain this away by saying the tribes did it all by themselves, and that the Americans had nothing to do with the improvement. This, of course, conflicts with their equally vehement statements over the last few weeks that nothing has improved in Iraq, and that the Americans were just making things worse. Some claim that al-Qaeda in Iraq is just an administration dodge.

The Iraqis aren't fooled. They named the police station after the man who masterminded the liberation of Ramadi from al-Qaeda. They named it after US Army Captain Travis Patriquin.


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Comments (28)

Posted by Pedantius | September 6, 2007 8:13 AM

Capt. Patriquin also wrote a great article about the northern city of Tal Afar in Military Review that was published posthumously.

Posted by j | September 6, 2007 8:31 AM

At the present time, the Dems are between a rock and a hard place - they cannot support any success in Iraq b/c they got elected on the chicken approach of cut and run. But, in spite of their buddies in most media outlets: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NYT, LA Times, WaPo, etc. people are finding out that we're winning. 'Tis a shame the Vietnam vet supporters had no outlet but times are different now.

It's been proven that when people understand what we're up against, they are supportive of our actions. Too bad the Dems and the MSM are playing ostrich - all for power. They are being manipulated and will pay sorely if they gain all control, unfortunately the rest of us will, too. And, we'll have to bail them out. Disgusting moves on the part of the Dems but the Muslims sure know where to funnel their political money.

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 6, 2007 8:52 AM

I guess the only thing worse than being Hsu is being Schumer.

Posted by joro | September 6, 2007 9:03 AM

And this is the party that so wants to lead this great nation of ours. Levin, Schummer. Reid does it get any better?

Posted by ordi | September 6, 2007 9:06 AM

Uncle Chuck and his gaggle of goalpost movers need to take their own advise --

They need to do what they have preached others to do

They need to admit they were wrong.

They need to admit they made mistakes.

They need to admit they made mistakes and their mistakes made Iraq bloodier and deadlier as AQI read their cues as a reason to ramp up the massacre of Iraqis to support their doom and gloom cause. Admit redeployment was wrong and attempting to defund the surge was wrong.

Admit they have been living in denial
Admit it, They will feel better

Posted by fdcol63 | September 6, 2007 9:12 AM

Schumer, Durbin, et al are scum, unworthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf by much better people than they can ever hope to be.

Posted by athingortwo | September 6, 2007 9:15 AM

It doesn't do any good to argue with the goalpost-movers, any more than it does to argue with jackasses.

The important objective, now that our commanders and troops on the ground are finally fighting and winning the counterinsurgency war in Iraq, is to make sure that the American public hears the facts through the smokescreen that the Schumers and Reids are throwing up to hide the truth.

The truth often does not win out, unless the people fight for it.

It also helps if the Bush Adminstration makes more than a desultory effort to present the truth ... lately they've been making a decent effort along those lines. A year ago, they did not have a good story to tell, today they do, and they're telling it.

In the meantime, screw the goalpost-movers like Schumer and Reid!!!

Posted by David M | September 6, 2007 10:26 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/06/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by Peter | September 6, 2007 10:35 AM

What annoys me the most about Schumer and the rest of those clowns is that all along the alQueda types have been loud in saying that Iraq is the most important front of this war.

Posted by FedUp | September 6, 2007 10:36 AM

Why cloud the issue with facts? They only get in the way...

Posted by Cycloptichorn | September 6, 2007 10:40 AM

What a load of crap. I can't believe that people would be so easily led into confusing micro gains with macro gains.

There's no doubt that anywhere the US soldier or fighting man goes, we see success. This has always been the case in Iraq. The enemy does not have the forces to effectively fight head-on, especially in the realms of communication and air superiority.

But, as I have consistently said, Petraeus' own doctrine for fighting this sort of battle calls for 5-10 times the troops we have, and a decade long commitment. Without overwhelming force, we can't stamp the fire out. And I think that we all know we're not going to have that.

It's as if people have such short memories, they can't remember what was said just a few months ago. The 'surge' didn't accomplish the political goals it was intended to and hasn't led to an increase in size or competence amongst Iraqi security forces. Casualties sure aren't down, unless you fudge the numbers so that car bombings don't count... and what's going on in Anbar isn't political progress, sorry. You think the Shiites which run the Iraqi gov't are just going to have a nice laugh and welcome the Anbar sheiks into the fold and use this to build a strong and lasting government?

The next month is going to be very tough on you guys, and I expect to hear a lot of harsh words. But what you're really doing is projecting; projecting your own fear of failure onto the US as a whole, and blaming the wrong people for it. After all, there is nobody who is more responsible for the fiasco in Iraq, then the people who blindly supported this war from the get-go.

Posted by Bennett | September 6, 2007 10:42 AM

"Captain Patriquin, 32, a father of three young children, was killed by a roadside bomb days after I left Ramadi last winter. Sheikh Sittar wept when told the news. He and several tribal leaders attended his memorial service. Captain Patriquin “was an extraordinary man who played a very, very important role,” he told The Times."

I was especially moved by this part of the story. These Iraqis deeply respected this amazing soldier and understood his sacrifice. Which is more than Senator Schumer can say. Or will ever say.

Posted by cv | September 6, 2007 11:30 AM

The troop surge wasn't even completed a few months ago.

Posted by Sue | September 6, 2007 11:31 AM

"Uncle Chuck" simply cannot be blamed, he cannot, literally, "see or hear" anything that does not agree with his unreal, distorted tinfoil hatted leftist loonish point of view. He reminds me of the Jews during the beginning of the Nazi horror who couldn't believe the bad things being said about the Nazis or what they were doing to Jews. About the only thing "Uncle Chuck" and his ilk will understand is when that blade slices through his neck, but by then it will be much too late!

Posted by quickjustice | September 6, 2007 11:49 AM

In his capacity as chairman of the DSCC, Schumer also took Democrat bagman Norman Hsu's suspicious money.

Has he given that money back?

As for Iraq, our increasing success spells doom for the defeatist Democrats, including Schumer.

Posted by bio mom | September 6, 2007 12:01 PM

Durbin probably believes the silly things he says. Chuck Schumer is sleazy politics personified. He is no senator. He barely qualifies as a representative that he previously was. But New York State lefties disagree so here we are. I pray daily for our country with people like him holding so much power.

Posted by Rob in Mass | September 6, 2007 12:10 PM

There is a classic opportunity for specious politician message obfuscation here. The gains in Anbar don't in fact seem to be directly related to the Surge. The Surge has been aimed at Baghdad and the Belts mostly to the North and East. But the indispensable precursor to the Surge has been the implementation of an effective counterinsurgency strategy and customization of that strategy to reflect differences in conditions on the ground in various parts of Iraq. Much of the innovation in counterinsurgency has come from extremely effective work by the US military in Anbar. The Surge capitalizes on that success by mobilizing additional resources to accelerate its implementation in additional geographies. So, Schumer's point is profoundly wrong and dishonest, but leaves him a plausible exit strategy.

Posted by TimeToFightBack | September 6, 2007 12:23 PM

Shumer should be investigated, tried, forced to apologize to the military and the shot!

Posted by Justrand | September 6, 2007 12:53 PM

How often in THIS country do we see examples of "witness intimidation"?? Way too often. People witness a murder, rape or mugging right outside their window and say NOTHING. Often not even calling the police. Where does this occur most often? In areas of high GANG activity. People know the police will come...but then they will leave again and the GANG will remain. So they keep their mouths shut and even help the gang to curry favor.

Iraq has been like that. And it is tough to blame the average Iraqi too much.

The alQueda "gang" has promised and delivered retribution against all who oppose them. (Though still some stood up). With the surge these same intimidated Iraqis have seen a chance to kick the gang out, since the "gang" is on the run and being depleted daily!

Naturally, in areas with strong tribal history it is the tribal leaders who are our allies in completing the elimination of the gang.

Without the surge, the "witnesses" would still be silent about the "gang's" activities. As it is, though the "gang" will not be wiped out, the average Iraqi will not so easily be intimidated again!

And it is OUR military that led the way...Chuckie!!

Posted by athingortwo | September 6, 2007 1:07 PM

"Cycloptichorn" .... - that's actually a very good handle for someone with your perspective on the war .... for a cyclops, having only one eye, has no depth perception, and having a loud horn, means he can attract attention to his lack of perception quite effectively!

Petraeus never said he needed five to ten times the current troop forces in order to succeed in Iraq, which is preposterous on its face! Ten times 160,000 is 1.6 million troops. We invaded western Europe via Normandy's beaches, in what was the largest sea-borne invasion in the history of the world, with fewer troops than that, all in the teeth of Hitler's Atlantic Wall, and against hundreds of thousands of well-disciplined, battle-hardened, armed to the teeth Wehrmacht. Your statement is just ridiculous on its face.

What Petraeus DID say is that the Surge and the new Counterinsurgency Strategy (including the troop strength) were HIS plan, that he authored it, that he would carry it out, and that if he did not believe it could or would succeed, he would not dream of putting any American troops in harms way to carryout a hopeless plan. He said that during his confirmation hearings before the Senate, and before the entire world.

So, mister one-eye with a loud horn, you're full of crapola!

Besides, the surge IS working, on the macro scale and not merely the micro scale as you suggest ... according to every knowledgable, not-already-fully-in-the-tank-for-the-anti-war-left observer who has bothered to visit Iraq beyond the Green Zone and actually meet and speak with both the troops and the Iraqis, and see what the streets and countryside are actually like. Hell, when you've even got the likes of lifetime lefty newspeople like Katie Couric proclaiming the obvious success of the surge and COIN strategy, then only the most obtuse, inpenetrable diehard-never-not-surrender types insist on spouting stupid inanities will bother to pretend otherwise.

Success is evident not only in the largest Iraqi province - Anbar - but also Diyala Province, and in the "Bagdad Belt" surrounding Bagdad, plus the city itself. Considering that those areas account for the vast majority of the country that was actually involved with the insurgency and the Sunni-Shiite sectarian warfare (most of the rest of the country being either Kurdish, or entirely Shiite, as in the South), if these areas are much more secure, then all of Iraq is much more secure.

The job is not done by any means - nobody is pretending the job is complete. We're still looking at years of American involvement in Iraq, and working with and supporting the Iraqi National Forces (both Army and Police), before the job is complete. But the rapid success of the surge is undeniable, and is much more effective than anyone would have dared predict six months ago.

That's why the major Senate lefties like Reid and Schumer, knowing the facts on the ground can no longer be hidden or denied, are left with either moving the goalposts (away from military progress to focuse strictly on central government legislative accomplishments ... har har har, as if the Dems have any legislative accomplishments of their own in the last six months!) or to simply say that the obvious accomplishments on the ground are IN SPITE OF THE SURGE !!!!!!! (actually, we shouldn't be surprised by that little rhetorical sleight of hand ... it's the same speech trick the lefties used back in the 80s when Reagan won the Cold War .... they said then that the Soviets merely gave up, and it wouldn't have mattered if Jimmy Carter was still playing his totally feckless role of international court fool or if Ronald Reagan was tugging on their short hairs or not).

The ones hiding out from reality are people like you, Mr. one-eye with a horn.

Posted by megapotamus | September 6, 2007 1:16 PM

The time to stop arguing with those neurotically invested in the humiliation of their own country came long ago. These naked cheerleaders for resurgent Baathism or indeed ANY event or institution that can muck up America's pretty face deserve only shunning. They are fools at best; traitorous is a fair description. These people are our fellow citizens in geography only. Freedoms secured for them by better men are squandered on vapid escapes of self-identification that lead, of course, only to dissappointment and this is the source of their bitter, baseless recriminations of the great projects of our day. Ah, they have had their hour. They will not go quietly, (see Sheehan, C.) but go they will to the obscurity that, had they appreciated it's protections, would have let them to conceal the venomous corruption in their hearts. Too late now, though.

Posted by shunha7878 | September 6, 2007 1:59 PM

when will hollywood make a movie about Captain Patriquin? i guess de palma and his kind are too busy making movies showing the U.S. as rapist and losers.

Posted by bayam | September 6, 2007 2:13 PM

What a moving story. I hope that a larger number of Americans will support the surge and give this strategy a chance.

Posted by SoldiersMom | September 6, 2007 2:50 PM

shunha - Speaking of de palma, this is a "must read" on the duplicitous left and their propaganda war films:


"DePalma speaks of using graphic images found on the internet in his film. How many other such graphic images could he have found from Iraq, ones that did not relate to an isolated brutal crime committed by Americans but were of those committed by the Saddam Hussein regime? Might that have offered context? The mass graves, the amputees, the pictures of some of the thousands of dead Kurds in the villages attacked with nerve gas. How many graphic images might DePalma have found of mass executions, beheadings and atrocities committed routinely by Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgencies?

Last June the intrepid embedded blogger and former Special Forces soldier Michael Yon posted on his blogsite "Bless the Beasts and Children," about his experience with American and Iraqi troops coming across a lifeless village where the people and even the livestock had been slaughtered by Al Qaeda. Children had been beheaded. The big media has not picked up the story, though Yon even provides photographs. I doubt that DePalma will ever make a movie from those graphic images."

Posted by Tom W. | September 6, 2007 3:19 PM

The Sunnis of Ramadi name a police station after a fallen American soldier, and yet some pompous, verbose jackass with a pretentious user name comes on and sneeringly asserts that no progress has been made in Iraq at all.

When I was young I thought liberals were the smart ones. They were interested in the humanities, the arts, and intellectual pursuits.

Looking at the utter sewage of lies, infantilism, fanaticism, hate, and magical thinking liberals spew these days, I can't believe I ever had even the tiniest bit of admiration for these people.

Posted by pk | September 6, 2007 4:13 PM

hey tom:

don't hold back, you're among friends here, let your true feelings come to the surface. this business of restraining you feelings will give you ulcers and heartburn.


Posted by Jack Okie | September 6, 2007 5:45 PM

Rob spells it out succinctly. His comment and Fletcher's article give the lie to Teresa and other's spin (see previous thread on this subject). Again I ask, where is Teresa? She is Pwn'd on this thread, but I'll wager that won't prevent her from popping up again spewing the same BS.

Posted by firedup | September 7, 2007 2:07 PM

Posted by fdcol63 | September 6, 2007 9:12 AM

Schumer, Durbin, et al are scum, unworthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf by much better people than they can ever hope to be.


Hear, hear!

Would Shmuckie like to also sneer at Sheikh Sittar in his grief for the American blood spilled in behalf of Iraq and the Free World?
Would he?
I'll bet he would, such is the spiritual bankruptcy of Shmuckie...

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