This is amazing and wonderful to see: General Petraeus: man with a message of hope
[Found via HotAir]
The critics said it couldn’t be done, but the vision and determination of General David Petraeus have brought greater security and cause for optimism to the people of Iraq. He is The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year.
For a man whose critics say he is far too fond of the television cameras, General David Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, has been rather out of the limelight this Christmas.
The sprightly, media-friendly 55-year-old is not perturbed, however, that his face is no longer number one item on the US networks. As he said last week, where Iraq is concerned, “No news is good news.”
Today, we put him in the spotlight again by naming Gen Petraeus as The Sunday Telegraph’s Person of the Year, a new annual accolade to recognise outstanding individual achievement.
He has been the man behind the US troop surge over the past 10 months, the last-ditch effort to end Iraq’s escalating civil war by putting an extra 28,000 American troops on the ground.
So far, it has achieved what many feared was impossible. Sectarian killings are down. Al-Qaeda is on the run. And the two million Iraqis who fled the country are slowly returning. Progress in Iraq is relative – 538 civilians died last month. But compared with the 3,000 peak of December last year, it offers at least a glimmer of hope.
Nonetheless, why should we choose to nominate Petraeus
[ … ]
There has also been great British military leadership and bravery on display this year, not least in Helmand, where British troops are now fighting a Taliban foe as fierce as anything their American counterparts encountered in Baghdad or Fallujah.
But the reason for picking Petraeus is simple. Iraq, whatever the current crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remains the West’s biggest foreign policy challenge of this decade, and if he can halt its slide into all-out anarchy, Gen Petraeus may save more than Iraqi lives.
A failed Iraq would not just be a second Vietnam, nor would it just be America’s problem.
It would be a symbolic victory for al-Qaeda, a safe haven for jihadists to plot future September 11s and July 7s, and a battleground for a Shia-Sunni struggle that could draw in the entire Middle East. Our future peace and prosperity depend, in part, on fixing this mess. And, a year ago, few had much hope.
To appreciate the scale of the task Gen Petraeus took on, it is necessary to go back to February 22, 2006. Or, as Iraqis now refer to it, their own September 11. That was when Sunni-led terrorists from al-Qaeda blew up the Shia shrine in the city of Samarra, an act of provocation that finally achieved their goal of igniting sectarian civil war.
A year on, an estimated 34,000 people had been killed on either side – some of them members of the warring Sunni and Shia militias, but most innocents tortured and killed at random. US casualties continued to rise, too, but increasingly American troops became the bystanders in a religious conflict that many believed they could no longer tame.
Except, that is, for Gen Petraeus. [ … ]
And, in case you have not seen it already, here is GEN David Petreaus’ letter to the troops (via Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive):
As 2007 draws to a close, you should look back with pride on what you, your fellow troopers, our Iraqi partners, and Iraqi Coalition civilians have achieved in 2007. A year ago, Iraq was racked by horrific violence and on the brink of civil war. Now, levels of violence and civilians and military casualties are significantly reduced and hope has been rekindled in many Iraqi communities. To be sure, the progress is reversible and there is much more to be done. Nonetheless, the hard-fought accomplishments of 2007 have been substantial, and I want to thank each of you for the contributions you made to them.
In response to the challenges that faced Iraq a year ago, we and our Iraqi partners adopted a new approach. We increased our focus on securing the Iraqi people and, in some cases, delayed transition of tasks to Iraqi forces. Additional U.S. and Georgian forces were deployed to theater, the tours of U.S. unites were extended, and Iraqi forces conducted a surge of their own, generating well over 100,000 more Iraqi police and soldiers during the year so that they, too, had additional forces to execute the new approach. In places like Ramadi, Baqubah, Arab Jabour, and Baghdad, you and our Iraqi brothers fought — often house by house, block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood — to wrest sanctuaries away from Al Qaeda-Iraq, to disrupt extremist militia elements, and to rid the streets of mafia-like criminals. Having cleared areas, you worked with Iraqis to retain them — establishing outposts in the areas we were securing, developing Iraqi Security Forces, and empowering locals to help our efforts. This approach has not been easy. It has required steadfastness in the conduct of tough offensive operations, creative solutions to the myriad problems on the ground, and persistence over the course of many months and during countless trying situations. Through it all, you have proven equal to every task, continually demonstrating an impressive ability to conduct combat and stability operations in an exceedingly complex environment.
Your accomplishments have given the Iraqi people new confidence and prompted many citizens to reject terror and confront those who practice it. As the months passed in 2007, in fact, the tribal awakening that began in Al Anbar Province spread to other parts of the country. Emboldened by improving security and tired of indiscriminate violence, extremist ideology, oppressive practices, and criminal activity, Iraqis increasingly rejected Al Qaeda-Iraq and rogue militia elements. Over time, the desire of Iraqis to contribute to their own security has manifested itself in citizens volunteering for the police, the Army, and concerned local citizen programs. It has been reflected in citizens providing information that has helped us find far more than double the number of arms and weapons caches we found last year. And it has been apparent in Iraqi communities now supporting their local security forces.
As a result of your hard work and that of our Iraqi comrades-in-arms — and with the support of the local populace in many areas — we have seen significant improvements in the security situation. The number of attacks per week is down some 60 percent from a peak in June of this year to a level last seen consistently in the early summer of 2005. With fewer attacks, we are also seeing significantly reduced loss of life. The number of civilian deaths is down by some 75 percent since its height a year ago, dropping to a level not seen since the beginning of 2006. And the number of Coalition losses is down substantially as well. We remain mindful that the past year’s progress has been purchased through the sacrifice and selfless service of all those involved and that the new Iraq must still contend with innumerable enemies and obstacles. Al Qaeda-Iraq has been significantly degraded, but it remains capable of horrific bombings. Militia extremists have been disrupted, but they retain influence in many areas. Criminals have been apprehended, but far too many still roam Iraqi streets and intimidate local citizens and Iraqi officials. We and our Iraqi partners will have to deal with each of these challenges in the New Year to keep the situation headed in the right direction.
While the progress in a number of areas is fragile, the security improvements have significantly changed the situation in many parts of Iraq. It is now imperative that we take advantage of these improvements by looking beyond the security arena and helping Iraqi military and political leaders as they develop solutions in other areas as well, solutions they can sustain over time. At the tactical level, this means an increasing focus on helping not just Iraqi Security Forces — with whom we must partner in all that we do — but also helping Iraqi governmental organizations as they endeavor to restore basic services, to create employment opportunities, to revitalize local markets, to refurbish schools, to spur local economic activity, and to keep locals involved in contributing to local security. We will have to do all of this, of course, while continuing to draw down our forces, thinning our presence, and gradually handing over responsibilities to our Iraqi partners. Meanwhile, at the national level, we will focus on helping the Iraqi Government integrate local volunteers into the Iraqi Security Forces and other employment, develop greater ministerial capacity and capability, aid displaced persons as they return, and, most importantly, take the all-important political and economic actions needed to exploit the opportunity provided by the gains in the security arena.
The pace of progress on important political actions to this point has been slower than Iraqi leaders had hoped. Still, there have been some important steps taken in recent months. Iraq’s leaders reached agreement on the Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation with the United States, which lays the groundwork for an enduring relationship between our nations. The United Nations Security Council approved Iraq’s request for a final renewal of the resolution that authorizes the Coalition to operate in Iraq. Iraq’s leaders passed an important Pension Law that not only extends retirement benefits to Iraqis previously left out but also represents the first of what we hope will be additional measures fostering national reconciliation. And Iraq’s leaders have debated at length a second reconciliation-related measure, the Accountability and Justice Bill (the de-Ba’athification Reform Law), as well as the 2008 National Budget, both which likely will be brought up for a vote in early 2008. Even so, all Iraqi participants recognize that much more must be done politically to put their country on an irreversible trajectory to national reconciliation and sustainable economic development. We will, needless to say, work closely with our Embassy teammates to support the Iraq Government as it strives to take advantage of the improved security environment by pursing political and economic progress.
The New Year will bring many changes. Substantial force rotations and adjustments already underway will continue. One Army brigade combat team and a Marine Expeditionary Unit have already redeployed without replacement. In the coming months, four additional brigades and two Marine battalions will follow suit. Throughout that time, we will continue to adapt to the security situation as it evolves. And in the midst of all the changes, we and our Iraqi partners will strive to maintain the momentum, to press the fight, and to pursue Iraq’s enemies relentlessly. Solutions to many of the tough problems will continue to be found at your level, together with local Iraqi leaders and with your Iraqi Security Force partners, in company and battalion areas of operation and in individual neighborhoods an towns. As you and your Iraqi partners turn concepts into reality, additional progress will emerge slowly and fitfully. Over time, we will gradually see fewer bad days and accumulate more good days, good weeks, and good months.
The way ahead will not be easy. Inevitably, there will be more tough days and tough weeks. Unforeseen challenges will emerge. And success will require continued hard work, commitment, and initiative from all involved. As we look to the future, however, we should remember how far we have come in the past year. Thanks to the tireless efforts and courageous actions of the Iraqi people, Iraq’s political and military leaders, the Iraqi Security Forces, and each of you, a great deal has been achieved in 2007. Thus, as we enter a new year, we and our Iraqi partners will have important accomplishments and a newfound sense of hope on which we can build.
As always, all or your leaders, our fellow citizens back home, and I deeply appreciate the dedication, professionalism, commitment, and courage you display on a daily basis. It remains the greatest of honors to serve with each of you in this critical endeavor.
David H. Petraeus
And it remains the greatest of honors to call myself an American when we have men like GEN David Petraeus and men and women in our armed forces representing the United States across the world.
If this guy represents the mindset of most Europeans (which, from everything I have read recently about Europe and Europeans, it is pretty accurate), then they will not put up much of a fight against the Islamofascists when they get enough immigrants in their countries and decide the time is right to take over.
I came across this blog from looking at the U.S. Army tags on WordPress [where I have my public blog]. Apparently, Europeans find it ‘unChristian’ to give a gun as a Christmas present. He also has a tough time figuring out what guns have to do with peace. Hmmm, could it be that guns in the hands of good people keep relative peace in the world against bad people who would like to end the peace? Of course, I don’t expect the Europeans to understand that concept. They apparently do not understand that the only reason they even get to have some semblance of peace in Europe is because of the sacrifice of past Americans who used guns. Of course, he also can’t understand the basic concepts from his friend’s uncle’s blog (which he calls “radical ideas” by “an American neocon right-wing military blogger”):
Basically, I guess Europeans like myself have a completely different cultural background when it comes to guns. Guns are a no-no. Belgians don’t buy or carry handguns. Most of us (liberal or conservative) feel that gun ownership the way America approaches it is just plain madness. That’s not only my personal opinion, that’s the opinion of virtually all W-Europeans.
And putting a gun in a Christmas tree [sigh]: these people must have a set of distorted believes (religious, but a gun in their tree, etc) that we cannot begin to understand.
When Belgians read the the statements on the blog of Pam her “Christmas gun” uncle:
“You will see everything from flowers to firearms depicted on this weblog”
“We support the War on Terror and believe that we must win in Iraq and Afghanistan. We believe that we must win the propaganda war”
“We believe that the ACLU and “progressive thinkers” undermine the law and endanger everyone.”
“We believe that the mainstream media regularly abuse their first amendment privilege by “engineering the news” to favor their political positions – generally to the left of clear-thinking Americans”
“We believe that global climate change is a consequence of natural forces and that humans only have a limited effect in locales inhabited by them.”
“We love sport shooting and owning firearms. You will find articles and commentary on guns here. We believe in the militia”
our first impression is one of disbelief. But when we realize that half of this great nation harbours these radical ideas, we no longer laugh at a gun in a Christmas tree.
We get the creeps and wonder what on earth happened to the land of the brave and the free.
Stacy, when you post
“what’s the big deal about giving a gun as a Christmas gift? It’s not myrhh or frankencense, but it is a loving gift – to those who choose that lifestyle. Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!” most European Christians feel you’re raping the concept of Christianity, along with the spirit of Christmas.
Go ahead, unwrap your “loving gift” and kill someone. Or have one of your own children accidentally kill some of your loved ones.
Handguns are made for killing. Full stop.
Comment by Peter — December 13, 2007 @ 7:45 pm
And there you have the European mindset. And why America will have to come to Europe’s aid in the near future when Islamofascism decides to take it over. It is already happening in Britain/UK/London, which is to Belgium’s Northwest, and in France, which is to Belgium’s Southwest. It is only a matter of time.
Europeans can continue to get “the creeps” about Americans. We’ll just go on protecting their asses and spilling our blood for their unappreciative asses. Because that is what it means to be an American in “the land of the free and [the home of] the brave.” And that is what makes America different than Europe.
Hah, yeah right. You silly infidels. Don’t you know that no Muslim nation allows any non-Muslim religions to exist equally, especially Saudi Arabia, in which it is illegal to possess a Bible?
Here is the real story, via Charles Johnson at LGF: Mega Mosque London 2012
Here’s a good video report on the enormous 17-acre “Mega Mosque“ project planned to open during the 2012 Olympics in London, acting as a forward base for the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group Tablighi Jamaat.
Oh and guess who is supporting this Mega Mosque? Muslims’ favorite dhimmi mayor of London, “Red Ken” Livingstone.
And if that were not enough, the Muslims are already seething and whining and bitching and moaning about the Olympics happening during their so-called holy month of Ramadan: 10/15/06 08:41 AM: Muslims Seething About Olympics
UK, Britain, London? You have a BIG problem. And it has only been growing while you ignore it with your heads in the sand.
It is only a matter of time before the UK, Britain and London are Islamic. No one there is standing up to the radical Muslim groups who are hell-bent on making Europe Islamic. They do not call it “Londonistan” for nothing.
Here is the description from the YouTube posting:
London Mega Mosque at the 2012 Olympic Site.
A massive mosque that will hold 40,000 worshippers is being proposed beside the Olympic complex in London to be opened in time for the 2012 Games.
The project’s backers hope the mosque and its surrounding buildings would hold a total of 70,000 people, only 10,000 fewer than the Olympic stadium.
Its futuristic design features wind turbines instead of the traditional minarets, while a translucent latticed roof would replace the domes seen on most mosques. The complex is designed to become the “Muslim quarter” for the Games, acting as a hub for Islamic competitors and spectators.
“It will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape,” said Abdul Khalique, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide Islamic missionary group that is proposing the mosque as its new UK headquarters.
Tablighi Jamaat has come under scrutiny from western security agencies since 9/11. Two years ago, according to The New York Times, a senior FBI anti-terrorism official claimed it was a recruiting ground for Al-Qaeda. British police investigated a report that Mohammad Sidique Khan, leader of the July 7 London bombers, had attended its present headquarters in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. In August, Bavaria expelled three members of the organisation on the grounds that it promoted Islamic extremism.
The more the Brits bend over and grab the ankles to every demand by Muslim groups in Britain/UK/London, the more the Muslim terrorists decide to attack them and make Britain/UK/London ruled by Islamic law. If people do not wake up, it is just a matter of time before Britain/UK/London and the rest of Europe fall to Islam.
Oh yeah, and keep in mind while reading this that liberals/leftists/progressives/Democrats/Democrat-voters only care to criticize President Bush, Christians, Conservatives and the U.S. Military. They have no criticism for Muslims, Islam or Islamic terrorists. They also say that these warnings about terrorist attacks are simply scare-tactics by the government to gin up support of a failed war effort. The same people who said we failed to connect the dots, now cry foul when we are connecting the dots of the Islamic worldwide jihad. But hey! They “support the troops”! And we shouldn’t dare question their patriotism! Uh huh.
Via AllahPundit at HotAir: Good news: UK commandos preparing for British Beslan
For those of you who don’t remember the 2004 Beslan massacre of school children by Islamic terrorists, you can view the horrible details here. Also see here:
Yet another reason not to trust the NYTimes
Progress at the NYTimes
Update: The victims of Beslan
Beslan: Never forget
The children of Beslan
Islamist terrorism in Russia
The butcher of Beslan is dead
The word’s come down from AQ management to its blue collars in Britain: start cutting off heads.
Islamic terror cells in Britain have been instructed to carry out a series of kidnappings and beheadings of the kind allegedly planned by the nine terrorist suspects arrested in Birmingham last week.
The “strategic” assassination instruction was issued by Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Pakistan and Iraq to dozens of their followers in this country. It was uncovered by MI5 last autumn, senior security sources say…
The revelation explains the recent deployment of a permanent SAS unit to London. The unit has been placed on 24-hour standby to respond to a terrorist attack in the capital.
SAS is Britain’s special forces. And it’s not just beheadings for which they’re on standby:
The intelligence services fear that Britain could be subject to a Beslan-style siege, with multiple hostages forced to plead for their lives on camera.
Whitehall sources have said that the threat is considered so credible that MI5, the police and the SAS have conducted at least two mock counter-terrorism exercises to work out how to deal with such an eventuality.
The last exercise, shortly before Christmas, took place at an RAF base near Chester. Five police forces were involved in an operation that envisaged an international conference being stormed by terrorists, who then held a group of children hostage in a creche wired with explosives.
The Times of London has new details about the alleged cell that was pinched earlier this week; apparently the cops moved in after one of the suspects was spotted buying a video camera. More than one of them has been linked to a mosque in Birmingham which, by the admission of one of its own officials, is a center for Tablighi Jamaat — a group linked to two of the London bombers and regarded by western intel as a “conveyor belt to Al Qaeda.” Can you guess which group is spearheading the drive to build that mega-mosque in the east end that would seat up to 70,000 Muslims? Oh hells yeah.
All in all, says the Telegraph, MI5 has disrupted 12 separate terrorist plots in the past year and a half — twice as many as was previously thought before, for an average of one every six weeks. Total arrests made in the heretofore undisclosed plots: zero.
The Telegraph’s also got tasty heart-ache fodder tonight in a story about the Joint Support Group, a team of British military superspies that cut its teeth turning IRA agents into British informants in ulster and is now busy reprogramming jihadis in Baghdad. I’m a wee bit suspicious that we’re only first hearing about them now, as Blair considers withdrawing part of the country’s forces from Basra, but it’s a good read even if it’s not technically, you know, true.
Working alongside the Special Air Service and the American Delta Force as part of the Baghdad-based counter-terrorist unit known as Task Force Black, they have supplied intelligence that has saved hundreds of lives and resulted in some of the most notable successes against the myriad terror groups fighting in Iraq. Only last week, intelligence from the JSG is understood to have led to a series of successful operations against Sunni militia groups in southern Baghdad…
The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq up until his death in June last year, followed intelligence obtained by the JSG, as did the rescue of the kidnapped peace campaigner, Norman Kember…
Candidates who get through pre-selection then spend the next four months at the Intelligence Corps headquarters at Chicksands, Bedfordshire, being taught driving and close-quarter battle skills – operators must be capable of using a wide variety of weapons but must be expert shots with a pistol…
With so many Iraqis entering the zone every day, those who want to pass on information can do so with a certain amount of anonymity. But a risk still remains. All potential agents are warned that anyone suspected of being a coalition spy will be tortured before being murdered. If he is married, his wife will be gang-raped in front of their children, who will in all probability also be murdered, they are told.
Sixty years ago, there’d already have been a movie made about them with Laurence Olivier in the starring role.
Exit question: What’ll destroy the UK first — terrorism, bird flu, Iranian nukes, or those dreadful melting glaciers?