Iraq Moves Forward
Friday June 16, 2006
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The big news out of Iraq last week was the fact that we killed al-Zarqawi. And that was hugely important. But it wasn't the only big news last week.
The news that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had negotiated to fill the posts of Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior are the perfect bookends to the death of al-Zarqawi.
Most of us don't understand the nature of a Ministry of Interior in a country like Iraq - it has nothing to do with national parks.
The Interior Ministry in many countries - Iraq being one of them - has nothing to do with highway beautification but everything to do with being in charge of the national police and security forces.
This is crucial because now, because the confluence of events has given the Iraqi government a sense of confidence about the future of their country - a confidence which has not previously been visible.
As an example, the Middle East News quoted Prime Minister al-Maliki's national security advisor as saying:
"We believe Al Qaeda in Iraq was taken by surprise, they did not anticipate how powerful the Iraqi security forces are and how the government is on the attack now." [emphasis mine]
According to the Associated Press, "U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 104 insurgents in over 452 raids since terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was slain last week." Those raids have uncovered a "treasure trove" of documents some of which showed that al-Qaeda was planning "to carry out terrorist attacks in the West and then plant evidence at the sites implicating [Iran]."
Meanwhile, in the US, both the US House and Senate spent time on Iraq yesterday.
In the Senate, the GOP called John Kerry's bluff and demanded a vote on his resolution which called for the withdrawal of all US troops except "those forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" by the end of this year.
Kerry's resolution failed by a vote of 93-6. The man just keeps getting better and better.
In the House the two sides of the aisle are debating a resolution which begins and ends with a promise that:
"The United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary."
Having read the text of the resolution, (which is available on the Secret Decoder Ring today) it is difficult for me to understand why any Democrat would argue or vote against it.
The Democrats, instead of embracing the positive and hopeful language of the resolution, chose to focus on the fact that 2,500 American service members have now died in Iraq.
I know they don't mean it this way, but it makes it sound as if the 2,457th death or the 1,362nd death, or the 8th death is not as important or as noteworthy.
House Democrats should keep in mind that the US service men and women in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world are listening to what the Democrats are saying from the splendor and safety of the floor of the US House of Representatives.
Our service members will be watching, listening, and reading their statements from a ship patrolling the Persian Gulf, or while standing post at checkpoint in Tikrit, or from the back of a Humvee eating an MRE outside Kabul, or from a hospital bed recovering from wounds suffered while fighting to keep us safe.
An interesting point was made at the tail end of the piece by AP's Liz Sidoti explaining why the Democrats are unhappy about the debate:
[Democrats] complained that Republicans refused to allow them to present an alternative resolution - though Democrats weren't able to agree on just what to offer.
And Nancy Pelosi wants America to believe she's ready to lead the House.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the text of the resolution, as well as the news stories by the AP and the Middle East News. Also a Mullfoto which is not that interesting and a Catchy Caption of the Day which is.
Copyright © 2006 Richard A. Galen
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