In recent posts, I’ve highlighted news and opinion from soldiers blogging from Iraq. Often, their views of the situation there are more optimistic than we generally hear from the established media outlets. Many of them believe they’re making progress, especially since Gen. Petraeus was put in charge of the mission.
Now, here’s the other side in a New York Times Op-Ed letter by seven soldiers about to come home from 15 months in Iraq. In their view, we’ve made far too many mistakes to play any productive role in Iraq at this point, and the deep-seated hatred that drives the varying Iraqi sects cannot be overestimated. They’re particularly bitter about the lack of progress by the Iraqi police and Army. Hugely depressing quote:
Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.
As a Democratic senator said the other day, the occupation may have been a gigantic mistake, but we have to try to salvage some good from a disaster that will affect our country’s place in the world for decades. Alas, if these guys are right, it’s way too late even for that.