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A Palace Update from Col. Marc

Sunday, October 14, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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An e-mail from my pal, Col. Marc, from inside the Green Zone:

Hello Everyone,
I have tried to send this update twice already and have had technical problems both times.  I am doing fine though I have been having eye problems because I spend so much time reading computer screens.  I am reducing the time I work on the computer.  Life is still relatively routine and dull.  I have started my redeployment process and will be leaving Iraq in about 40 days.  The process to leave here is almost as difficult as getting here.  I will probably be in the process of actually returning for almost 10 days.  But the time is coming.
The Surge Operations have proven to be very successful.  At this time the attack rate is down by some 30% and all Casulties military and civilian are down some 50%.  This as we are increasing our patrolling in the cities and towns and increasing offensive operations aganist all terrorist elements.  Al Qaeda has been pushed out of their safe areas are are on the run in most areas. They are currently trying to reconstitute further out in the countryside.  However we are also seeing a major fracturing of the terrorist elements both on the Sunni and Shia sides.  We see greater cooperation by the population and by some of the former unsurgent elements.  We are actually winning the war here.  One of the measures is the during Ramadan the terrorists were not able to ramp up their attacks as they usually do.  I am more optimistic then I have been since I arrived here 10 months ago.  There is even some slow movement by the GOI to resolve some of their problems with the reconciliation.  I dont know yet if that will happen but all sides are not yet willing to look at partition as an option.  the Congressional plan for partition was soundly denounced by the members of the Government and by most groups here.  It is a non starter at this time.  [# More #]
I have for some time wanted to address the question of why we are fignting in Iraq and how this relates to the war on terror,  I will take a stab at that today.  After 9-11 we went after the Nation that sheltered Al Qaeda and took down the Taliban.  AL Qaeda was forced out of its bases and much of its support was destroyed.  But it scattered and went to ground.  Once this action was accomplished the question was how to we continue to keep them on the run and prevent attacks on the US.  The next step was to prevent other Nations from supporting Al Qaeda and providing funding, safe havans and weapons .  Of all the countries that support terrorism and could support an attack on the US Iran and Iraq were the most likely to provide the necessary backing.
The conditions for a further military operation to continue to carry the war to the terrorists exsted in Iraq and not in Iran, even though Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism, though it is clandestine.  In Iraq we had a government that supported terrorism and while not fully supporting AL Qaeda was at least Sunni and agreed with some of the AL Qaeda doctrine.  Additionally they both were violently anti US and had attacked us.  Iraq was trying to shoot down US Aircraft carrying out UN missions.  Saddam was also in violation of UN mandates and on notice of potiential hostile action.  He was brutally oppressing his own population and cruelly murdering hundreds of innocent people.  I have seen some of his torture palaces.  He had used WMDs and stated that he was developing them.  The Intell agencies of the world concurred that he was developing those weapons, Congress saw that same intell and approved military operations.  I believe that there was a development capability here.  He also was in discussions with Al Qaeda about support in their war with the US.  However the critical reason for the operations here, I believe, was our ability to carry the war on terrorism to the heart of where it has developed and try to change the dynamic in the Middle East.  If we Invade Iraq we immediately cause Iran and Syria to turn their attention to events on their own borders and not in the US.  We give a warning to all the despotic regimes in thie region that we will not put up with being attacked and having terrorists trained to destroy our country.Additionally if we develope a democracy in Iraq we change the political dynamic and provide an example of freedom and secular government that people will want to emulate.  This is how we fight terrorism.  Not by trying to put out all the little fires created by cells around the world.  By fighting in their backyard they are forced to come here and defeat us.  We draw then in and kill them very effectively here.  If we were not drawing them here they would be drawen the the US.  Al Qaeda is being destroyed here and dont believe that they are stronger.  We can really impact the direction of the war on terrorism by winning here and developing a viable democracy. 
We are not yet there but indications are that increasing numbers of Iraqis desire to have peace and are willing to fight the terrorist and secterian gangs to secure their country. It is in our interest to insure they can do that and create a free nation here.  From my point of view it can be done and we should not give up.
Thank you all for your support and if anyone would like to discuss any of my points I would more then happy to sit down over a couple of bottles of Scotch and several cigars and talk about my perceptions of the war.  Of course I am planning on making up on the year lost in drinking good scotch.
 
Marc
ROAD
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