Morning Report: February 18, 2007

A political storm brews in Washington, while boots hit the ground in Baghdad.

ITM: Baghdad attacks down 80 percent. Iraq the Model: 'Since the multiple bombings in Shroja market district on the 12th, Baghdad hasn’t seen any major attacks and there’s a tangible decrease in all kinds of attacks. Not only official statements say so (Defense ministry officials said today that attacks are down by 80% in Baghdad). It’s a reality I live in nowadays, at least in my neighborhood and its surroundings. It is also what I hear from friends and relatives in other parts of the city. We are hearing fewer explosions and less gunfire now than two weeks ago and that, in Baghdad, qualifies as quiet.' (ITM)

Kesher Talk posts Lieberman address. Kesher Talk posts the text of Senator Joseph Lieberman's speech opposing the anti-surge resolution in the Senate. 'Congress has been given constitutional responsibilities. But the micro-management of war is not one of them. The appropriation of funds for war is. I appreciate that each of us here has our own ideas about the best way forward in Iraq, I respect those that take a different position than I, and I understand that many feel strongly that the President's strategy is the wrong one. But the Constitution, which has served us now for more than two great centuries of our history, creates not 535 commanders-in-chief, but one—the President of the United States, who is authorized to lead the day to day conduct of war.' Read it all. (KT)

Gay Patriot: "Congressional cowards give up on the troops." Gay Patriot links to Ralph Peters in the New York Post: 'The "nonbinding resolution" telling the world that we intend to surrender to terrorism and abandon Iraq may be the most disgraceful congressional action since the Democratic Party united to defend slavery. The vote was a huge morale booster for al Qaeda, for Iraq's Sunni insurgents, and for the worst of the Shia militias. The message Congress just sent to them all was, "Hold on, we'll stop the surge, we're going to leave - and you can slaughter the innocent with our blessing."' GP adds: 'Luckily, the Senate vote against the “non-binding” resolution on Saturday was a devastating defeat for the Democrats…. and there are number of vulnerable House freshmen Democrats who must have their pins stuck in their Nancy Pelosi voodoo doll this weekend.' (Gay Patriot, NY Post)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Infidel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks on her new book, "Infidel". Video at the link. (AEI)

General explains troop surge strategy. Via CENTCOM, MND-B commander Major General Joseph Fil explains the strategy:
The security plan includes an increase in Iraqi and coalition forces in Iraq’s capital, a push to rid the city of violent extremists and the creation of joint security stations throughout Baghdad, Fil said.

Once the streets are cleared of extremist elements, the coalition and Iraqi security forces will assert control of each neighborhood and move further toward transition, he said.

“After an area is cleared, we move into what we call ‘control operations.’ Together, with our Iraqi counterparts, we will maintain a full-time presence on the streets. We’ll do this by building and manning joint security stations,” said Fil, who assumed responsibility for MND-B three months ago. “The effort to establish these joint security stations is well underway.”

As Iraqi security forces assume control of the day-to-day operations of Baghdad’s joint security stations, coalition forces will move out of its neighborhoods, but still respond to requests for assistance from Iraqi security forces, if needed, he said.

In addition to the joint security stations, Fil said the new strategy will also have an economic component to spark the Iraqi economy.

“During these three phases, efforts will be on-going to stimulate local economies by creating employment opportunities, initiating reconstruction projects and improving the infrastructure,” he explained. “These efforts will be spearheaded by Neighborhood Advisory Councils, District Advisory Councils and the government of Iraq.”

General Fil emphasized that it would take time for the operation to work. Full text at the link. (CENTCOM)

Haider Ajina on troop surge. Haider Ajina at Mudville Gazette posts two articles translated from the Iraqi media and comments: 'The long awaited new security plan for Baghdad has now started in earnest. These Iraqi unites trained by us and the UK are performing well. As I have mentioned many times. It is hard to train Iraqi security to serve, protect and enforce the rule of law in three short years, when all they have known previously is oppression and dictatorship. Think about how long it takes for us to train our military, and our men and women have grown up in a society of rule of law and democracy. Democracy and rule of law has only been a dream for Iraqis up until four years ago. The training of the Iraqis is thus doubly challenging. The new security operation looks and sounds good with Iraqis performing well. What is also interesting is the media campaign the Government has launched to support this operation. Extra billboards displaying hotlines numbers for tips, TV & Radio adds denouncing terrorism etc… Popular and political support for this operation is the highest I have seen for any operation to date. Iraqi Arab Sunnis and Shiites as well as Kurds, who in Iraq are mostly Sunni, and Christians all support and have high hopes for this operation. Sentiment and hope is especially high amongst the displaced families who are now hoping they can return to their homes sooner rather than later.' (Mudville Gazette)

IraqPundit on Murtha's stealth surrender. IraqPundit quotes an editorial in the Washington Post:
Murtha “would stop the surge by crudely hamstringing the ability of military commanders to deploy troops. In an interview carried Thursday by the Web site MoveCongress.org, Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to ‘stop the surge.’ So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill -- an action Congress is clearly empowered to take -- rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. ‘What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with,’ he said.”

IraqPundit adds: 'Are the Democrats seriously intending to curtail the U.S. effort in Iraq by political sleight of hand? The Post's point about stripping out the funding is exact. Congress has the power to do that. But instead of attempting that, the Democrats prefer to try to run the military, in the hope that they can undercut the war with a minimum of criticism.' (IraqPundit)

Israpundit: The Democratic Party's octopus. The palindromic billionaire behind the Democrats is like an octopus, says Israpundit, diagramming the multifarious connections of George Soros. 'George Soros, like his creation MoveOn.org, is part of the cancer that infests the Democratic Party at the expense of mainstream Democrats. George Soros has reputedly destroyed nations’ currencies to enrich himself while using his network of NGOs like MoveOn.org, Open Society Institute, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA, run by Soros minion Rebecca Peters), and so on to perpetrate his visions of internationalism at the expense of national sovereignty. He has similarly used his enormous wealth to subvert, polarize, and marginalize part of the Democratic Party to the point where it no longer represents anything in which decent Americans believe. This includes the working people who have relied on the Democratic Party to represent their interests against abusive big businesses and special interests. The Democratic Party must accordingly treat its Soros-infested wing like malignant cancer, which must be excised before it destroys the party entirely.' Details at the link. (Israpundit)

Ramadi mayor solving problems. MNF-Iraq: 'AR RAMADI – Ten city directors and representatives met with the mayor here Monday to discuss city problems and solutions.
The meeting was the second of its kind to be held since the appointment of Mayor Latif Obaid Ayadah in early January, and served as a forum for the leaders. Representatives from Ramadi’s water department, sewage and sanitation department, electricity department, municipality department, and a few supervisors of other areas attended the morning meeting. The collection of professional leaders addressed a variety of topics during the meeting, all focused on increasing the quality of life for Ramadi citizens. The main topics of discussion for the meeting were the importance of electricity and water for the upcoming summer months, obtaining smooth communication between city departments and Iraqi Army units, providing honest jobs for the citizens, and identifying the “bad elements” of city departments.' Mayor Ayadah declared that "all of Ramadi must become a Green Zone." (MNFI)

Israel: Datiyot more likely to become officers. Israelity reports: ' According to a study commissioned by Israel’s Knesset (parliament), while only a fifth of religious women enroll in the army, those enlisted are more likely to opt for officer’s training than are their secular counterparts. “The army is interested in enlisting religious recruits because they are high achievers, and has therefore opened a versatile range of courses for them…” The Knesset Education Committee Chair said.' Article here. (Israelity, YNet)

Commentary. Take note: this troop surge is the make-or-break, decisive campaign that must bring an end to effective terrorism in Baghdad. And it is precisely this success that certain cowards in Washington know they must stop, lest the face of true courage be revealed, and put them to shame.