As usual I can't recall how I came to find this. It's from a blog that hasn't, since 2007, been added to or updated. I hope Charlie is still with us.
The Observation Post - Observations of a Marine infantry officer and participant in the Global War On Terror.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
President Bush pessimistic about Iraq?
Bush Shows Pessimism on Iraq
three years, the president tried to reassure Americans that more
progress was being made in Iraq than they realized. But with Iraq either
in civil war or on the brink of it, Bush dropped the unseen-progress
argument in favor of the contention that things could be even worse.
I am limited to what I can say on this subject, being a professional
Marine officer, but this article screams out for some commentary. 3 and a
half years ago, I believed whole-heartedly that we were doing the right
thing in ousting Saddam Hussein, and I still do.
being 20/20, now I would say that we should not have made the alleged
weapons of mass destruction the linchpin of our case against Saddam, but
I never believed that was the administration's primary motivation. I
still believe that the policy-makers latched on to that issue because it
was the easiest to sell to the American public. After all, I believe
most of us thought that the hardest thing about the war would not be
fighting it, but getting the American public to support it.
of the Marines I talked to in February and March 2003 expected a
somewhat difficult fight followed by a quick and easy occupation. I
differed from many of them in that I thought the occupation would be
longer, but I never thought a full-fledged insurgency would break out.
There was a general sense of optimism, that we would steamroll the
Iraqis just like we did in 1991. However, when I was trained to be a
platoon commander, I was told to plan not only for what I believed to be
the enemy's most likely course of action, but also his most dangerous
course of action. I believe we either planned for the wrong most
dangerous course of action, or ignored it outright. Once the war became
an all-out insurgency, it should have been obvious to everyone that it
would continue for several years. Counter-insurgency campaigns are never
short or easy, and anyone who expected this to be over by now was
misguided at best and delusional at worst.
One of the
most frustrating things to me has been the talk of immediate withdrawal.
If we withdraw and the Iraqi government fails or is taken over by
anti-American fundamentalists, then our enemies will all know that they
can beat us by using insurgent tactics and outlasting us. Whether you
wanted this war or not, it has happened and we must deal with it and
continue to fight until we have achieved our goal of a completely
self-sustaining Iraqi government.
I will tell you that
in just the short time I have been here, this Iraqi Army battalion has
made significant progress in securing the nearby villages. Their
performance leaves plenty to be desired, but the civilians who live near
the COP have said on numerous occasions that they feel much safer
around their homes than they did just 4-5 months ago. Progress is being
made here, and it will continue to be as long as we are allowed to do
There are some echoes of another Marines words from Iraq at this time - Maj. Ben Connable who I've posted about here: Perceptions from the Ground
And some skepticism (no, downright mis-trust) on Connable here: Digging a little deeper