September 26, 2007

John Kline Reports

Rep. John Kline, former Marine colonel, returned to Washington DC after his fifth trip to Iraq, and he reports on the progress made by General David Petraeus. Kline represents Minnesota's Second District, where I live, and has a sterling reputation for honesty and integrity. He reports that the change in the security situation in Anbar is "amazing", and says the troop levels of the surge have not been the only factor in the transformation:

Kline, who has been a supporter of President Bush's Iraq policy, said he was particularly impressed with the improved security in the Anbar province capital of Ramadi.

"The security situation there is just truly amazing. Just amazing," he said in a telephone interview. Kline said the Marine battalion commander there told the lawmakers that violence is way down. ...

Kline, a retired Marine, said he thought the surge of U.S. troops helped, but wasn't the deciding factor.

"I don't think it would be fair to say that the surge is responsible for what happened in Ramadi," he said. "It just sort of reinforced it. It showed the sheiks and the Iraqis there that the Americans were committed. It helped tip it in our direction."

Kline said the surge was more than adding 30,000 troops.

"What we've done is change how we're working there," he said. "Now they're interwoven with, sharing the same building with the Iraqi security forces. And I think that has really made the difference."

Kline says this visit reminded him of the situation in his first trip to Iraq, in October 2003, six months after the Coalition ejected Saddam from Baghdad. The same sense of hope has returned, as well as the sense of normalcy. The terrorists have mostly left, and the people have begun to see local security forces rise in their absence.

This became possible because the US and Iraqi forces got aggressive with the terrorists at the same point when the tribes realized the error of their previous allegiances. More Iraqi Army units have reached the level of competence necessary to partner with American troops, and the surge in our own deployment matched up with the higher levels of Iraqi troops to allow for a broad front that could hold more territory. Kline has this correct; Petraeus got command at the right time, and made the best use of the opportunities for success through aggressiveness and proper application of counterinsurgency strategy and tactics.

Kline also reports that al-Qaeda still remains dug into specific neighborhoods, and tough fighting remains to be done. Momentum has shifted to the Coalition, however, and the normalcy of Iraqi life in Anbar demonstrates it clearly.


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Comments (9)

Posted by Terry Gain | September 26, 2007 7:17 AM

Another conservative who prefers to believe his lying eyes rather than MoveOn?

The tide has turned in Iraq. It will soon turn in America. The progress will soon be undeniable.

Even without the ethical issues Hillary's campaign is now in deep trouble. Her anti-victory sound bites will doom her campaign. Despite her lofty position she couldn't see what was happening in Iraq and refused to condemn scurrilous attacks on the General responsible for the strategy which is yielding such progress. She's not fit to be CIC.

And the Democrats don't have a candidate who favored victory. 2008 is going to be a good year.

Posted by Keemo | September 26, 2007 8:04 AM

Every American that goes to Iraq and actually investigates and searches for the truth, comes back and reports "real progress" with a positive sign that we are "winning" this war.

Visions of Harry Reid, Jack Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, and John Kerry shouting from the microphone "we have lost the war in Iraq" or "American soldiers are raping and murdering Iraqi citizens in the middle of the night" are becoming more disgraceful by the day. To hell with these losers...

Posted by jackalope | September 26, 2007 8:21 AM

For those who have not read the post, you do not want to miss Michael J. Totten -- Anbar Awakens Part II: Hell is Over:

Posted by FedUp | September 26, 2007 8:46 AM

Terry G... while any rational person would agree with your opinion that her campaign is in trouble, I do believe that money, politics and treachery can wield enough power to at least get her nominated. God help us all if she gets elected!

Posted by Earth to right-wing nuts | September 26, 2007 10:24 AM

So the commenters (and blogger) here are part of the 25% (and dropping) who still believe Bush's lies. I won't return to this site, so go ahead and take cheap shots at this comment.

But are you guys nuts? Great, so the Sunni tribes in Anbar have decided it's better to have a temporary alliance-of-convenience with the US, in order to fight the Shiite majority (and the small number of Zarqawi's followers, who Bush confusingly refers to as AQinI). BFD. The big political picture continues to deteriorate. There is no real Iraqi government, without US troops. Maliki is a puppet that even Cheney is tempted to ditch (for Allawi?!), and with no hope of creating a unity Sunni-Shiite government. Violence in Baghdad is up.

Meanwhile, US special forces are now aiding the assassination of Kurdish PKK leaders to appease Turkey, dashing hopes of Kurds.

Saber-rattling with Iran is reaching new levels. With the new US base 4 miles from the Iranian border, the chance of a war that neither the US nor Iran really wants (but can't back away from without losing face) has increased. (What a low-hanging fruit, for false-flag ops by terrorists.)

The idea that a week-long jaunt to Anbar, heavily guarded by US troops, somehow gives Kline (or Pollack or Bush or anyone else) special insight into conditions "on the ground" is ludicicrous. Have you guys ever taken a course in comparative politics or been trained in political intelligence? Since when is a week-long guided tour considered a robust methodology? *sheesh*

Posted by cdjaco | September 26, 2007 1:19 PM

So "Mr. Earth" do you have any sources for your claims, other than the voices in your head?

Posted by Old Mike | September 26, 2007 2:30 PM

"The idea that a week-long jaunt to Anbar, heavily guarded by US troops, somehow gives Kline (or Pollack or Bush or anyone else) special insight into conditions "on the ground" is ludicicrous."
Perhaps you should read Michael Yon online. He's been traveling with the troops, in harms way, for a long time. Over that period he's been quite critical of the war. More recently he has been reporting on improvements in the strategy and the Iraqi forces and relations with local tribes all of which are showing success. He's also the only person I can think of whom I could honestly say "doesn't support the war but does support the troops." though he may now have begun to support the war.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | September 26, 2007 6:37 PM

Earth Girl said:

"Have you guys ever taken a course in comparative politics or been trained in political intelligence?"

Have YOU?

Posted by SoldiersMom | September 26, 2007 6:40 PM

This is a bit OT, but as I was driving home the other day it occurred to me -- haven't heard too much talk on casualty counts by the MSM lately. I only tune into them by accident, but there's usually no way to avoid this collision.

After Saddam's fall and until recently, we were bombarded with daily casualty counts and profiles on all the men who died. Where was all this compassion and sympathy when our soldiers were being killed in dragged through the streets of Somalia, blown up in Marine Barracks and the Cole to name a few.

The only time the MSM and the left ever profiles one of our heroes is as either a victim or a brutal murderer. They only got this kind of attention when they were finally given orders to shoot back!

Soldier's Mom and Right-Wing Nut

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