Sunday, June 24, 2007

US Gets New Allies in Iraq

The AP reported yesterday about our newest allies in Iraq.

Two months ago, a dozen Sunni insurgents haggard, hungry and in handcuffs stepped tentatively into a U.S.-Iraqi combat outpost near Baqouba and asked to speak to the commander: "We're out of ammunition, but we want to help you fight al-Qaida."

Now hundreds of fighters from the 1920s Revolution Brigades, an erstwhile Sunni insurgent group, work as scouts and gather intelligence for the 10,000-strong American force in the fifth day of its mission to remove al-Qaida gunmen and bomb makers from the Diyala provincial capital.

Each U.S. Army company in Baqouba, an hour's drive northeast of Baghdad, has a scout from the Brigades, others have become a ragtag intelligence network and still others fight, said Capt. Ricardo Ortega, a 34-year-old Puerto Rico native of the 2nd Infantry Division.

U.S. commanders say help from the Brigades operatives was key to planning and executing the Baqouba operation, one of a quartet of U.S. offensives against al-Qaida on the flanks of the Iraqi capital.

The informants have given the American troops exact coordinates of suspected al-Qaida safe houses, with details down to the color of the gate out front, said Lt. Col. Avanulas Smiley, 40, commander of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and a Tacoma, Wash., native.

This is good news, because it means the Sunnis, at least in that region, have recognized that al-Qaeda poses more of a threat to them and their way of life than the Americans do. It means that al-Qaeda has become the enemy of not just the West, but also of the Iraqi people. It's one more hopeful sign in the overall picture of the war.

But the AP refuses to see hope. Instead, they injected this negative commentary into their "straight news" piece:

And as it struggles in the raging heat and violence of central Iraq, the U.S. military appears to have bought into the tactic in its struggle to pull what victory it can from the increasingly troubled American mission in Iraq, under congressional pressure for a troop pullout and a presidential election campaign already in the minds of voters.

The US military is struggling in "raging heat and violence." It "bought into the tactic" (Do we detect the AP's hint at desperation?), it's in a "struggle to pull what victory it can" (They forgot to mention that the military is only holding on by its well-chewed fingernails), and its mission in Iraq is "increasingly troubled."

Did the AP ask the US military to confirm this assessment? Or are they relying on only their reporters--each one no doubt an unbiased, military expert--to analyze the situation on the ground? Oh please!

More and more people and groups in Iraq are helping in the war. And that means that more and more people and groups are taking an active part in the fight for control of their own country. And that means that the political will we need to see on the part of the Iraqi population and government is getting closer. And the closer it gets, the sooner our troops will be able to come home.

But don't tell that to the AP. They don't want to know.

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