Today I am adding Michael J. Totten to the Sergeant's Required Reading. Not that he needs my endorsement, nor that he is just earning it - it has been delienquency on my part for not adding his site sooner. But with the workload lately I am only able to blog because I can't sleep.
I encourage everyone to read Michael's piece Anbar Awakens Part I: The Battle of Ramadi, especialy Soldiers going down range now with us. It provides great back story to the points being argued over in Washington the last two days.
Ramadi is the capital of Anbar, and the Al Qaeda proclaimed "Capital of the Islamic State of Iraq.” This is the province and city those arguing for withdraw pointed to as hopeless and proof we would never suceed in Iraq. I sat dumbfounded today as I listened to those same persons write off the success in one of the worst areas of Iraq because it is primarily Sunni. Meaning these tactics just won't work with Shia or mixed areas.
So if we lose we lose, and if we win we lose? Again politicians suck. Even if you favor withdrawl don't buy everything these people are selling, the truth is that both extremes are full of it.
Anyhow, do read his post for some on the ground truth you won't hear elsewhere.
“I didn’t realize until I got here that the problem in Anbar Province was 100 percent Al Qaeda,” he said. “The old Baath Party insurgency here is completely finished. That war was won and Americans, including me, had no idea it even happened.”
If you want to dig in more jump over to Michael Yon's four part Ghosts of Anbar - although it will make more sense if you have a basic understanding of Counterinsurgency(pdf), it stands well on it's own.
Read and discuss amongst yourselves.