People who truly want to know what’s going on in Iraq do not tune in to CNN or MSNBC to listen to the likes of Keith Olbermann pretending he is Edward R. Murrow reporting from a bombed out bunker in World War II London. People who really want to know what’s going on in Iraq go to Iraq to see for themselves.
Military historian and columnist Victor Davis Hanson, who has been to Iraq several times, was recently in Baghdad where he met up with Colonel Rick Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Combat Brigade, better known as the Dragon Brigade.
The Dragon Brigade’s area of operations is the so-called Rashid Security District in the southern portion of Baghdad and is perhaps the most volatile area in Iraq. Predominately Shia, the area also has a significant number of Sunnis along with a large presence of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.
Since the arrival of the Dragon Brigade last March, there has been a radical decline in violence. Murders have fallen from 553 a month to a tenth of that number. IED attacks have fallen by half. The Dragon Brigade has overseen some $100 million in investment in Rashid commerce and infrastructure. There are now 900 businesses open.
Something quite significant is going on, Hanson says, and we in the United States are unaware of it. In that context, Hanson interviewed Colonel Gibbs to find the answer and why Americans seem confused, almost stunned, by the unexpected good news coming out of Iraq.
Hanson’s interview with Colonel Gibbs can be found here. Colonel Gibbs’ remarks at the end of the interview are especially illuminating and heartening.
“I would just say that what the brave men and women of the Dragon Brigade are accomplishing here in southern Baghdad is nothing short of amazing. I like to say that “Our soldiers are our greatest ambassadors,” because it is absolutely true. I watch young captains, lieutenants, and sergeants who have but a few years in the army carrying on healthy, effective relationships with local military, government, religious, and tribal officials here that you would expect of people with years and years of service.”
“I want the American people to know that their most precious resource – your sons and daughters – are doing amazing things here and we are seeing the kind of progress that I hope I’ve successfully illustrated in the previous questions.”