Nothing brings out the truth about people like a crisis. You learn what people value most, what they fear most, and what kind of “stuff” people are made of. In the midst of chaos and confusion, we see one little drama being played out in the actions of one American soldier, and one Iraqi boy.
Two pictures, taken very shortly after a bomb explodes that killed 21 people and wounded 66 others. A sniper had added to the chaos by firing into the crowd. A plainly terrorized little boy finds the safest place he can – behind an American infantryman.
While everyone else is running away, or hugging the side of the building for cover, this one man is moving in the very direction others were running away from, doing his job.
This child has not read the American media’s unrelentingly critical accounts of the war. He believes in this incredibly brave American. He believes that this U.S. Infantryman will protect him, and would never hurt him.
This is a microcosm of the entire war in Iraq. As the country of Iraq fell apart in the aftermath of the toppling of Iraq, it was the American infantryman who stood while others around them were cowed.
Democrats who cannot acknowledge the incredible success of the “troop surge” claim instead that it was the “Anbar Awakening” that turned the situation in Iraq around. But without the surge of these incredible American troops, there would have been no Anbar Awakening. The sheiks would have been as cowed by al Qaeda as they had been by Saddam Hussein.
How did the Anbar Awakening begin? Wikipedia tells the story:
Abu Mahals, a tribe that smuggled across the Syrian border, was being forced out of their territory by a tribe allied with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The tribe proposed an alliance with the United States force in November 2005 and began receiving weapons and training.
Like the frightened child in the pictures, the tribe behind the Anbar Awakening found itself being threatened by al Qaeda, and in their fear turned to the one source that could stand up for them: the United States military.
The U.S. military armed and trained the anti-al Qaeda tribesmen. But in the earliest stages the cooperation consisted solely in the tribes providing the U.S. military with intelligence on the movements of al Qaeda.
The Anbar Awakening did not make the success of the troop surge possible; rather courageous American infantrymen made the Anbar Awakening possible. Anyone who says otherwise is not being honest, and is rather contemptibly refusing to give our troops the amazing credit they are due.
Lastly, if you are an undecided voter trying to assess which Party is telling the truth about Iraq and which one is being disingenuous, look at the following two sites, and try to reconcile key Democrats’ own words before and early in the Iraq War and subsequently.
Regardless of what you conclude about the claims of Republicans and the claims of Democrats for this election, I hope you agree with me on at least this: our soldiers, our brave warriors, have been magnificent. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, they have served with valor and honor in the midst of so much fear and dishonor. I have been so proud of them. I have been so proud to call myself “an American” because of them.
If we can build a self-sustaining democratic republic in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world, the reward will be incalculable. Arab people will look away from their totalitarian governments to a new beacon of freedom. More than anything else, this can change a dynamic in the Arab world that has been becoming increasingly terrifying.
As you look at those photographs, I hope you take some time and pray for our troops in time of war.