Indications show plan is working

Matt White

There’s a different type of sunshine in Baghdad lately, and for many Americans it’s a welcomed change.

For the last several years, Americans have seen mostly dark clouds over Iraq. After some success in the early stages of the war, wave after wave of violence rocked the country; brave young men and women marched off to war and came back mentally and physically scarred; billions of dollars were drained out of the American treasury to stay the course. Public opinion of the war dropped to an all-time low, and then dropped again, continuing in a downward spiral.

But there are some good indications that after a long period of hardship and disappointment, things are turning around in the war-torn nation.

The Wall Street Journal has reported more than 1,000 families have returned to Baghdad, and many Iraqis “feel hopeful again about the future.” It further reports, “the fear of civil war is slowly being replaced by optimism that peace might one day return to this city.” This change in mood is something huge by itself, but it’s not the only positive indication that things are turning around.

The Iraqi security forces are finally taking the war to the insurgents. According to CNN, the Iraqi military captured Iraq’s top al-Qaida leader and many of his aides on March 10, without the help of the United States or anyone else. At the same time, Iraq is hosting a regional summit in order to discuss the security situation (or lack thereof) with its neighbors.

We’ve waited too long for these positive developments in Iraq. And, understandably, many Americans are ready to give up on the Iraqi people and a democratic Iraq. But, for the first time in a long time, there’s proof our strategy is working.

The fact is, President Bush’s surge is giving us these positive results. The American strategy of clearing and holding Baghdad neighborhoods is driving the terrorists out of the capital and allowing Iraqi government officials to operate without the constant fear of assassination. Now that this fear is gone, the Iraqi government is standing up — the goal all along.

Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups have abandoned their positions in Baghdad, and some have even fled the country. Noticing its success, the Iraqi government has announced that similar tactics will be used in the five provinces surrounding Baghdad to prevent the insurgents from regrouping.

Americans who are against this war should think about what hangs in the balance. Yes, America has given up a lot for the Iraqi people to have democracy, and some Americans will always believe the cost has been too great. But, since we’ve come this far, and since there are recent signs of progress, shouldn’t we give our commanders in the field the chance to succeed?

Abandoning our troops in the field, whether by cutting off funding or simply re-deploying them, would be cheating America out of a victory that seems closer now than it has in a long time. The military can win in Baghdad. The only question is whether the people at home are willing to give it the chance.

Matt White is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].