Posted by Duane Patterson
We have been fortunate enough over the last month or so on the Hugh Hewitt Show to interview about a dozen serious players from either the Bush administration, the military, war correspondents or foreign policy experts from all political stripes about the progress of the surge in Iraq. One of the questions that Hugh has posed to most if not all of them is how many bad guys have we killed in Iraq, in order to get a little perspective on how our forces are doing. The standard reaction Hugh has received has been that the military doesn’t want to put those kind of numbers out there as the only benchmark of success, fearing a Vietnam-style bounty being put on body counts.While I respect that concern, the mere fact that the military commanders are cognizant of that tells me that the military institution as a whole has instilled that down to the front line officers so that Vietnam doesn’t happen again.
President Bush gave a hugely important speech today to a gathering at the Veterans Of Foreign Wars National Convention, and this passage made us sit up and take notice.
An average of 1,500 bad guys a month have been killed or captured since January, or roughly 12,000 bad guys year to date. That certainly is a remarkable achievement.But there are definite questions that have to be answered in order to determine how strong of a metric of success this is.
Do we have any intelligence of how many foreign fighters or insurgents there were in Iraq in January? Do we have any reasonable estimate as to their numbers now? Have the coalition and Iraqi forces been able to gain control over the borders in order to stem the flow of foreign fighters coming into Iraq? Do we have any idea of the ratio of foreign fighers to Iraqi insurgents now as opposed to in January?
The White House should be encouraged to release more of this kind of information, and answer some of the natural follow up questions in order to give the American people a truer picture of how the war in Iraq is progressing, rather than let the mainstream media just trickle U.S. body counts night in and night out. The more Americans hear about what is really going on, the more likely they are to disregard the defeatist spin being fed to them by Democrats in Congress and in MSM.