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MORE GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ: Victory in Anbar

U.S. Marine Maj. Gen John Kelly, the top U.S. commander in Anbar Province, left, and Anbar Governor Maamoun Sami Rashid, center, sign papers during a handover ceremony at the government headquarters in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, in Iraq Monday, Sept. 1, 2008

U.S. Marine Maj. Gen John Kelly, the top U.S. commander in Anbar Province, left, and Anbar Governor Maamoun Sami Rashid, center, sign papers during a handover ceremony at the government headquarters in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, in Iraq Monday, Sept. 1, 2008

Iraq's military now control 11 of 18 provinces.

Iraq

More good news from Iraq: the “surge” continues to show dramatic successes. Despite all of the carping and naysaying we have heard from left-wing politicians and commentators for the last several years, U.S., Iraqi and coalition forces really are winning. I had reported dramatic security progress in February when I had the opportunity to spend nine days on the ground in Iraq with no Humvees, no air support, no military escort and no armed guards. Not everyone believed me. But it was true then, and it is even more true today. The U.S. military just handed over the responsibility for security of the once-extremely deadly Anbar Province in the West to the Iraqi military. Iraqi forces now maintain security in 11 of the country’s 18 provinces. The Associated Press called the development “a sign of the stunning reversal of fortunes since local Sunnis turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq.” The Christian Science Monitor called it a “significant milestone,” noting that “Anbar was the deadliest Iraqi province for US troops, with nearly 1 in every 3 Americans killed there. It was once the symbol of Sunni resistance, the base of operations for Al Qaeda, and home to two major US military offensives and the most intense urban combat of the war. But in the past two years, Anbar has emerged as the symbol of a turnaround as Sunni sheikhs formed ‘Awakening Councils,’ ousted Al Qaeda, and created community police forces.” They’re right. This is a tremendous tribute to the heroic and patient work of American military forces fighting al Qaeda directly as well as working closely with their Iraqi counterparts to get them trained and battle-tested. It is also a tribute to the leadership of General Petraeus who did not “betray us” as the Left alleged, but rather acted with great honor and wisdom in the face of enormous challenges. Job well done, sir. Job well done.

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