Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Credibility on the ground in Iraq

by Beldars Blog:

The following paragraph, from one of war correspondent Michael Yon's latest dispatches, vividly and directly states a theme that has been implicit in much of his writing:

"Large numbers of Iraqis detested us after the prisoner abuse stories, and some over-the-top attacks on Fallujah, for example. But through time, somehow the American military has managed to establish a moral authority in Iraq. It’s not the only authority, but the military has serious and increasing moral clout. In the beginning, our influence flowed from guns, or dropped from the wings of jets. Later it was the money. Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to understate."

There's much anticipation among pundits and, perhaps, the public to hear what Gen. Petraeus will have to say in his promised status report in September, and I don't mean to suggest that it's going to be unimportant. But the reason I value Yon's writing so much is that he gives us rolling, on-going first-person observations, along with status reports, from the captains and the majors and the lieutenant colonels in the field. It's not sugar-coated, and it's not larger than life reporting; to the contrary, it is usually very granular and specific. But it aggregates......

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