Iraq is not a breeding ground for terrorists, but a burying ground. General Petraeus, from my interview with him this morning:
[A]s you know, we try to avoid body counting, but inevitably, obviously, it is something we keep track of, because we’re trying to have some sense of the damage we are doing to al Qaeda-Iraq, its affiliates, other Sunni insurgent groups, and also certainly to the Shia militia extremist elements. And the answer to that in a general sense is that they are losing many, many hundreds of their, of these different elements each month, certainly since the onset of the surge.
Why such an increase in effectiveness? Part of the answer is in the incredible effectiveness of the allied special forces operating in tandem with the conventional forces:
Our best operators in the world are here in the largest numbers of anywhere in the world by several multiples, and conducting a very, very high operational tempo, and doing extraordinary operations. When I think back to the operations we did, for example, going after war criminals in Bosnia, or something like that, you know, and one of those would be a big deal, and you’d dine off that for the next several months. On a nightly basis here, you know, ten or twelve serious operations are going down by these forces. And any one of those is far more significant than we conducted for decades. They are very sophisticated, very complex, very lethal sometimes, and very effective. Having said that, although they may be the most important operations, because they can take down, as they did the senior Iraqi leader in al Qaeda-Iraq, or kill all three al-Turki brothers, or what have you, it is also the weight of the operations conducted by the, if you will, the regular special forces, the Green Berets and the others that make up the special operations task force, and operate throughout the country at a very high operational tempo, and of our conventional forces. I mean it is our conventional forces who cleared Western Baquba. Certainly, augmented by, again, our special forces and our special mission unit elements, but they’re the ones that, you know, killed the 80 or 90 confirmed kill, and perhaps another 80 or so more, and captured a couple of hundred in addition to that as well. And they’re the ones who will hold that area against attempts that have already taken place by al Qaeda and their affiliates to try and get back into these neighborhoods.
Read the whole thing for a broad assessment of conditions in Iraq, one that completely contradicts assertions that the surge has failed. The audio will also be posted and can be listened to by hitting the “Talk Radio Clips” button above.