Last month 21 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq, 17 from hostile fire. In May 2007, there were 127 causalities in Iraq. The “surge” is working and bringing with it a measure of military and political success that must be a surprise even to its most ardent proponents.
The surge has given the country the breathing space to begin to do some truly extraordinary things. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the Iraqi Army into Basra where it defeated the Mahdi Army, took the city, and seized the ports from the radicals (something the British Army failed to achieve in four years).
When the Mahdis reacted by starting conflict in other locations, the Iraqi Army routed them in every instance—Najaf, Karbala, Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah. Then the Iraqi Army entered and occupied Sadr City, the Mahdi Army’s stronghold in Baghdad.
The determination and success of the Iraqi Army underscores the fact that 12 uniformed Iraqis (soldiers and police) have been killed defending their country from the death cult seeking to impose a Taliban-type regime on their society for every non-Iraqi coalition solider that has died.
On the political front, the Iraqi parliament has passed a pension law and a de-Baathification law (a major U.S. Democrat “benchmark” for political progress). They have also passed an amnesty law, a new budget, and provided for provincial elections before the end of the year.
Oil revenues are being shared among Shiite, Sunni, and Kurd provinces (another major Democrat “benchmark”) and the oil revenues are soaring. Iraqi oil production is at its highest levels since the liberation began five years ago and the soaring price of oil has generated rapidly rising government revenues. Iraq now has an unexpected budget surplus (oil revenues have jumped from an estimated $35 billion to more than $60 billion). Yet the war’s critics seem determined to ignore any signs of progress.
When President Bush addressed our troops in North Carolina, he outlined the conditions for “success in Iraq:” the Iraqi government must be able to protect its own people from attack, govern itself democratically with honest elections, and support itself economically.
My question for the critics of the war is this: What part of significant progress do you not understand?