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...to these reports from Iraq.
I'm not sure how many folks caught this line at the end of Mike Yon's latest dispatch: "Today I am in Kuwait, heading back into Iraq for an end-of-year round-up."
While there, he may cross paths with Michael Totten:
My request to embed with the U.S. Army in Baghdad has been approved, and it turns out that I need to leave a bit earlier than I expected. It will take a while before I actually get there – I need to be in Kuwait four days in advance for paperwork and “processing,” and I’m going to stop in New York City for two days on the way to Kuwait. But I’ll be there soon enough and will have a large batch of fresh dispatches for you about what is hopefully the end of the war.I hope Yon gets up to Mosul, I'd really like to hear the latest from that information black hole.
I've met Michael Totten (in Iraq, coincidentally) and spoken with Mike Yon (probably useless now, but he's on my cell phone contacts) and I trust what these guys report.
In the meantime, here's an After Action Report from General Barry R. McCaffrey USA (Ret):
The security situation is clearly still subject to sudden outrage at any moment by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) or to degradation because of provocative behavior by the Maliki government. However, the bottom line is a dramatic and growing momentum for economic and security stability which is unlikely to be reversible. I would not characterize the situation as fragile. It is just beyond the tipping point.That seems about right to me - if anything, it's an understatement.
Much of what McCaffrey writes is from an "insiders" perspective - which is not to imply that all insiders think alike. There are, however, portions of his report where an amber caution light (reading "agenda") flashes in my mind.
For instance, this quote: "...turned around the situation from a bloody disaster under the leadership of Secretary Rumsfeld..." right or wrong, seems petty in a report of this nature at this time. If your goal is to heap praise on someone, declaring them to be "better than their utterly incompetent predecessor" is hardly the way to go.
As with that warning light, while I read through the report a phrase something like, "golly, he's having a tough time controlling his bitterness" kept going through my mind. Imagine my surprise when I saw this acknowledgement in the summary: "It is hard to not be bitter".
(For some reason, I don't believe McCaffrey's AAR's are actual written for a West Point audience, but maybe that's just me...)