That is what Mike Yon thinks and I believe him more than any other journalist that has covered the war. He has spent far more time there deeply embedded with our troops than anybody else much of it during the very hot times of the war so he can tell the major changes that have taken place. He was back their earlier this month and writes today for Pajamas Media that areas that were incredibly dangerous as little as one year ago are now more peaceful than Barak Obama's Chicago. Mike Totten, another independant journalist I trust, is also now back in Iraq and it will be interesting to see what he has to say.
There are still pockets of terrorist scum here and there but the Iraqi troops are in the lead and cleaning them up in an increasingly efficient manner. The only thing the scum can seem to do is alienate more Iraqis by killing the innocent with the ever rarer and less effective bombings.
We will be able to start pulling our combat troops out now at a slow but steady rate as we concentrate more on training the Iraqi forces till they can stand on their own as they are increasingly able to do. As long as Obama doesn't do anything stupid we we will have another strong ally in the Middle-East and so far Obama seems to be sending the right signals by keeping Gates at DoD, and tapping Jim Jones for NSA and Clinton at State. The nutroots aren't happy so I am cautiously optimistic he won't do anything stupid.
Meanwhile Yon is headed back to Afghanistan where the war on the Af-Pak border is still hot. I am guessing he went to Iraq to pick up all his body armor and other gear he had stored there. This story is spreading around the blogosphere today about a patrol of 30 Marines getting ambushed by about 250 dug in taliban. The Marines kicked their ass killing 50+ and wounding many more while only sustaining some minor injuries. Good shooting boys, OORAH!
“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”
The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.
“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.
“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”
Now that is what I call making every shot count, what a badass. I guess those villagers got a lesson in who the real strong horses are and who are just maggots.