The new strategy to secure Baghdad has been dubbed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as “Operation Imposing the Law.” After weeks of waiting and anxiety it is finally under way, and early signs are encouraging.
One difference between this and earlier–failed–attempts to secure Baghdad is the willingness of the Iraqi and U.S. governments to commit enough resources for enough time to make it work. Another important point is the insistence of the Iraqi government that political factions not interfere with the progress of military action. The commanders and the prime minister have made it clear that no one will be above the law, and that even places of worship and the offices of politicians will be subject to searches and raids if evidence of involvement in violence is found.
The Iraqi commanders are also trying to give the operation a national stamp by including troops from across the country–even from Kurdistan and far provinces like Basra, where politicians and officers have been long opposed to being involved in Baghdad. Yet another aspect that makes “Imposing Law” unique is its ascending intensity. Unlike other operations that always started from a peak and soon lost momentum, this plan is becoming stricter and gaining momentum by the day as more troops pour into the city, allowing for a better implementation of the “clear and hold” strategy. People here always want the “hold” part to materialize, and feel safe when they go out and find the Army and police maintaining their posts–the bad guys can’t intimidate as long as the troops are staying.
The Iraqi people themselves are playing their role in the plan. Recent figures from U.S. officers in Baghdad show that the joint forces have been receiving an average of 250 security tips from civilians since the beginning of the operation, about twice previous figures. With help from a government-appointed committee, people in some Baghdad neighborhoods are returning occupied mosques to their original keepers and worshippers, and holding joint prayers between the two sects in mixed neighborhoods.
So after only a couple weeks we can feel, despite the continuing violence, that much has been accomplished. Many Baghdadis feel hopeful again about the future, and the fear of civil war is slowly being replaced by optimism that peace might one day return to this city. This change in mood is something huge by itself.
Our people want to see this effort succeed. We know it’s not going to be an easy fight. Rescuing all of Baghdad’s districts from the grip of militants and terrorists will require sacrifice and hard work. We hope the troops and the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve.
Well one thing we know is that the American troops won’t.
So while the Iraqi people are working together to fight the terrorists and bring peace and stability to their fledgling democracy, the Democrats in Congress push full steam ahead on their Plan for American Defeat in World War III.
House Republican Leader John Boehner responds:
Boehner Statement Opposing Democrats’ Road Map for Terrorists, Not a Single House Democratic Leader Attended General Petraeus’ First Progress Report Briefing This Morning
WASHINGTON, DC – Today House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded to the latest proposal by House Democrats explicitly designed to hamstring the ability of American troops to succeed in the Global War on Terror:
“General Petraeus, not Speaker Pelosi or John Murtha, should be making military decisions based on conditions on the ground. Democrats are using a critical troop funding bill to micromanage the war on terror, undermine our generals on the ground, and slowly choke off resources for our troops. Under the guise of supporting our troops, Democrats are actually mandating their failure.
“By establishing – and telegraphing to our enemy – arbitrary timelines for withdrawal, Democrats are providing little more than a road map for terrorists, a tool they will use to plot their maneuvers against American forces. Tying equipment and resources to a series of conditions and expectations amounts to little more than a revised version of the previous ‘slow-bleed’ strategy supported by Democratic Leaders. Democrats have made it clear that whether or not our troops are able to meet Democrats’ expectations, their funding and resources will dry up. Choking off resources for our troops is tantamount to handing the enemy victory itself.
“Republicans will continue to stand united behind our generals and our troops for victory in the global war on terror, and will oppose Democrats’ road map for terrorists. We will not jeopardize the safety and security of American families, or that of those to come in future generations, by giving our generals and our troops anything less than our full and unfettered support.”
NOTE: This morning, General Petraeus briefed congressional leaders from Baghdad live via satellite feed, providing them with an assessment of the situation on the ground, outlining the successes of the new plan to date, and some of the challenges that lie ahead. Not a single Democratic Leader from the House attended to receive the General’s first progress report.