Posted by Scott Malensek on 30 August, 2008 at 9:10 am. 1 comment.


Stop and think about the Iraq War for a moment if you will.  Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, an independent, or someone who just doesn’t normally pay attention to the news anymore…the fact of the matter is that Pres Bush, Sen McCain, and Sen Obama have all told us to expect another 2 yrs of war (+- some months depending on what happens in the interim).  They also want us to support the war (well, Senator Obama only wants us to support the war if he presides over it, otherwise he wants us to oppose it…figure that one out).  The point is, it’s going to continue, and Americans are being called to not only accept that, but to support it.  The time for opposing “Bush’s War” ends in a few weeks. 

The other day, I had the distinct honor to take part in a conference call interview with Brigadier General Buchanan of the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq.  I can honestly say that it was one of the most moving conversations I have ever had with someone who is in Iraq (especially at the end of the call).   

He talked about the difference between this, his 3rd tour in Iraq, and his first time there in 2003.

General Buchanan’s background is that of a both a teacher of military arts and sciences, but very much a fighting man as well. It shows on his papers, his deeds, and in his words. Let’s face it, you can tell when someone’s trying to play cover their ass, or to parrot an establishment’s PR lines. Brig Gen Buchanan clearly does not come across as a used car salesman on any level. Uh, no. Definitely not a spinmeister. I’ve no doubt he had notes prepared (as one would hope and dare to expect), but if you listen to the audio I think you’ll agree about the man’s sincerity. Me, I just can’t see using the word “Schmooze” to describe him. No, nu-uh.


I asked him to give a brief status report of the six mission objectives he had listed

secure the Iraqi population
defeat violent extremist networks
disrupt lethal aid from Iran
professionalize the ISF, Iraqi security forces
transfer security responsibilities
enable governance and economic development.


The call was packed with statistics that were remarkable, encouraging, and were accomplishments made by soldiers of whom we can all be very very proud and even more humbled. 

There’s been a 92 percent decrease in overall monthly attacks, since June of ’07, a 98 percent decrease in overall monthly indirect fire attacks, since June of ’07, 93 percent decrease in surface-to-air attacks, small arms surface-to-air attacks, since June of ’07, 88 percent decrease in IED attacks, 77 percent increase in monthly caches found.

Civilian casualties per month have decreased 86 percent. Coalition force casualties per month have decreased 90 percent. And ISF casualties per month have decreased 66 percent, so a significant change throughout our operational environment on level of violence. And that in itself gets after or reflects to some extent how we and just as importantly our partners in the Iraqi security forces are doing, in securing the Iraqi population.

Another caller asked what had brought about this dramatic change in security and reconcilliation between his 1st and 3rd tour in Iraq. Forget what the Maple Syrup King of Vermont (Gov, Dr. Chairman Howard Dean) would tell you about what’s happening in Iraq. Forget the political spin from conventions, ads, cable news pundits, and so forth. The reality is HERE:


At the end of the call, we had a time to ask follow-ups, and I managed to get the last question of the call. It was at this point that the remarkable accomplishments of US, Coalition, and Iraqi forces which had been so clearly described throughout the call was moved to a different tenor. That stats fell away, and we were given an on the spot, frank, personal illustration of what he has seen first hand in Iraq. His comments were moving. His closing remarks bring us back to the forefront of this post…

The time for opposing the decision to invade is long past a point of usefulleness. The time to oppose the reconstruction of Iraq will end in just a few months; a matter of weeks. Even if a Democrat is elected to be President, the war will continue for about 2 more years, and surely President Obama will ask us to support his efforts to leave Iraq a secure and stable ally in the war on terror. This is a real war, with real people, real costs, real tragedy, real heros, and very real villains. It’s no longer a matter of political expression, but a place where good people stand up and fight against terror to bring peace to a place has been hell in the past.


Look, this is not about numbers. It’s about real people making real sacrifice for the good of their families and for the good of their country. And I got to tell you, I’m honored to know and to serve alongside of men like Colonel Jalil, and we honor his memory today.

And you know, I’m still friends with the police commanders. And they named a battalion after him. It is one of the honors of my life to be able to serve with men like that.”

Link to full transcript
Link to full audio

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