Like many of you, I've been waiting to hear what my old boss, LTG David Petraeus, would say about the recent "Mosul debacle." The London Times finally feeds our curiosity in a balanced and well-written article. Here's a snippet:
Although some units, notably police commando and Iraqi special forces, have fought well in Fallujah and elsewhere, 3,000 of Mosul's 4,200-strong police force fled without a fight when their stations came under attack from insurgents in the northern city last month.
Lieutenant-General David Petraeus was brought in during the summer to overhaul training of the Iraqi police and military. He is a wiry, seasoned Balkans veteran who impressed Iraqis and international observers alike when, as commander of the 101st Airborne Division, he quickly restored order to Mosul after US forces captured it last year. He toughened training in an effort to weed out poorly motivated infiltrators and those suffering from "tiny heart syndrome".
He has also made it a priority to train elite, rapid-reaction units to stiffen the spine of other forces. These are among the balaclava-clad emergency-response, hostage-rescue, dignitary-protection and counter- terrorism units whose performance on the training ground charging through dummy doors and firing at man-size targets he has just proclaimed "absolutely mumtaz (excellent)".
Despite the constant setbacks and attacks, General Petraeus insists that much of his programme in "on track", but he sighs at the "immense disappointment" of the Mosul debacle last month, when dozens of police were murdered and guerrillas captured large quantities of weapons.
Asked by The Times whether the problem with the Iraqi security forces was cowardice, low morale, leadership, infiltration or intimidation, he conceded: "It's probably all of the above."
He added: "This is a rollercoaster that we are riding. You have to realise that every day there are going to be bumps, sometimes explosions, sometimes real plunges and the idea is to make darn sure you have got your eye on the horizon and you are still generally climbing with the rollercoaster over time. And I think that's the case."
He took heart from the way that the elite Iraqi police commandos who went up to Mosul after the disaster did such a "fantastic job" and "flat got after" the insurgents.
I found his remarks to be not-at-all surprising- he continues to believe in these people, and I am with him 100%. What we did last year in Mosul can be done anywhere in Iraq- and it will be done. It takes a proper amount leadership, patience, strong will, and determination. They're getting it. It's a hard road ahead, but the Iraqis are up for the challenge.
Quilly Mammoth posted this comment at LGF:
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Hopefully by now you've all adopted the habit of catching Victor Davis Hanson's weekly column at the National Review (or at his own website). The guy is a genius. My favorite parts from his latest:
How did we come this far and get so close, when the unprincipled such as Jacques Chirac shunned the once-wounded democrat Allawi and sent his plane instead to fetch the murderer Arafat - a profiteer in the guise of a 'leader' who hand-in-glove with Saddam Hussein made France billions in Iraq and then lectured about morality to those who slammed the cash register drawer on his stealthy hands. How could we ever contemplate the chance of elections when the Saudis, the Syrians, and the Iranians sent millions of dollars and thousands of jihadists to stop it all - lest the virus of freedom spread?
And an absolutely perfect closing:
There may well be even more terrible things to come in Iraq than what we have seen already, but there will also be far better things than were there before. And there will come a time, when all those who slandered the efforts - the Germans, the French, the American radical Left, the vicious Michael "Minutemen" Moore, the pampered and coddled Hollywood elite, the Arab League, and the U.N. will assume that Iraq is a "good thing" like Afghanistan, and that democracy there really was preferable - after they had so bravely weighed in with their requisite "ifs" and "buts" - to the mass murders of Saddam Hussein. Yes, they will say all this, but it will be for the rest of us to remember how it all came about and what those forgotten soldiers and people of Iraq went through to get it - lest we forget, lest we forget....
This guy can find words for anything. He's good. Really good. Read the rest...
More Great Commentary
Just found a great site called Positaria- it contains some excellent commentary by Vance Mendenhall. Here's an excerpt from a piece called Fallujah Operation Silences Critics in which he cites my "Roach Motel" analogy! I'm humbled and honored...
Conventional wisdom had it that assaulting Fallujah would be like hitting a hornet's nest with a baseball bat while wearing only a bathing suit. The savages would scatter to other cities making it even more difficult to find them, or result in being hit from behind. That is a logical assessment as far as it goes, and the US command certainly would be stupid if that was all they did. But stupid they are not because they applied out-of-the-box thinking. Call it the Roach Motel strategy, a term first heard over at the military blog site 2slick.blogspot. Captain 2slick happens to be a military officer who did a tour in Iraq and frequently writes on the subject. Roach Motel is an apt name since it is symbolic of what the strategy accomplishes.
As we say in the blogosphere- read the whole thing...