Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Letter from Iraq

Posted by Craig Westover | 1:39 PM |  

I am honored to be a member of the "Antient and Honourable John Adams Society," Minnesota's conservative debating society (is there such a thing as a liberal debating society?). From a fellow member serving with our forces in Iraq --
Dear John Adams Society Members:

I am currently stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad, working on issues affecting the Iraqi people and their governemt. Here is an update for you from the front lines of the War on Terror:


As the news media will tell you, terrorist attacks continue in Iraq. What they won't tell you is that a significant number of attacks on our Coalition forces are being prevented due to tips from Iraqi people.

Last week, a phone tip from a young Iraqi girl, southeast of Baghdad, resulted in the disarming of a roadside bomb and the capture of five terrorists.

The same day, a joint patrol by U.S. Marines and Iraqi Army soldiers in the "Sunni triangle" of western Iraq, uncovered a large weapons cache, consisting of artillery and mortar rounds, rockets, and ammunition.

Over 4000 pounds of high explosives were destroyed, just one example of the operations we are conducting here every day.

There are indications that the Al Qaeda terrorist organization in Iraq is being seriously disrupted, for several reasons. First, operations by U.S., Iraqi, and other Coalition forces (there are 27 countries with troops in Iraq) have killed or captured much of the terrorist leadership.

Second, their targeting of innocent civilians has turned the Iraqi people strongly against them. Finally, Al Qaeda's strongest base of support has been among Sunnis who feared being excluded from the political process. The latest election results have given them an alternative to supporting murder and mayhem.


In the past year, the Iraqis have made great accomplishments on their road to freedom. There were elections for the Transitional Parliament last January 30, the writing of a constitution, a popular referendum on that constitution on October 15, and elections for a new parliament on December 15. That's three successful national elections in one year, in a country which had known only tyranny for the past 40 years.

On Friday, January 20, the Independent Elections Commission of Iraq released the preliminary results of the December 15 elections for the Council of Representatives (COR), which is the Iraqi parliament. The Unified Iraqi Coalition, a political group dominated by Shia Muslims, won 128 seats (out of 275 total), short of the 138 needed for a majority. Kurdistani Gathering, the primary coalition of the (generally pro-American) Kurds, won 53 seats, while the Sunni-dominated Tawafoq Iraqi Front took 44 seats. Other contenders include the secular National Iraqi List (25 seats), and the Hewar National Iraqi Front (11 seats), a coalition which includes the Iraqi Christian Democratic Party among others. (Details at www.ieciraq.org/English/)

The result is, the Shia will not be able to run the government alone. In the past year, they joined with the Kurds to establish a coalition government, but even that will not give them the 2/3 needed to elect a President in the first round of balloting. It is expected that they will bring in the Sunni coalition as well. A joint Shia/Kurd/Sunni government will be a major setback for the terrorists, reducing their support in the "Sunni triangle".

America's goal in Iraq should not be withdrawal, or a reduction in troop numbers. Our goal must be VICTORY. Any news showing further setbacks to Al Qaeda, or Iraqi success in setting up their government, will indicate that we are on the road to victory.

More news later...

Major Charles Erickson
Sometime Chairman, John Adams Society
Camp Victory
Baghdad, Iraq

"One year ago this week, the Iraqi people reminded the world about the power of freedom. Despite acts of terrorism and intimidation, millions of Iraqis lined up to vote in the first of three historic elections in 2005. By exercising their right of self-government last January, the Iraqi people started down the path to a free, prosperous, and democratic Iraq. I commend them for their courage.

"Since then, they have proven their dedication to the cause of freedom by taking further steps down this path. Despite calls by some of America to cut and run in Iraq, the difficult work we are doing to keep America safe is succeeding and the enemies of freedom now know they cannot prevail."

-- Rep. Mark Kennedy

Category: Iraq, National Politics, John Adams Society