David has a new article on National Review Online with what seems like a Battlestar Galactica-inspired title:
There is a Plan, and It is Working
Diyala Province, Iraq — The news from here — even when accurately reported — so often obscures more than it reveals. By now we all know what a counterinsurgency is not: It is not a conflict that can be measured in ground taken, armies defeated, and generals surrendering. You can’t watch progress on a map, and the great moments are few and far between.
Instead, Americans at home are left with discrete reports of individual events and with endless reports about numbers, some of them depressing, some of them encouraging, but all of them isolated from context or narrative. 51 civilians killed in Baghdad market bombing. Eleven militants killed in raid on safe house. American casualties rise. American casualties fall. While trends do exist, those trends represent perhaps the driest, least compelling way of describing what is increasingly undeniable reality: we have a plan, and it is working.
In my corner of Iraq — eastern Diyala Province — my unit, 2d Squadron (“Sabre”), 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment doesn’t merely react to events — acting as a glorified whack-a-mole hammer desperately seeking to hit elusive insurgents as they pop up here, there, and everywhere — instead, led by LTC Paul T. Calvert, we act according to a cohesive, coherent pattern. We go into areas not merely to kill or capture insurgents but to actually replace insurgents with functioning Iraqi Security Forces and functioning Iraqi civilian governments. (We are fortunate to share our “battle space” with Iraqi officials and units who are courageous, aggressive, and making a real difference for their citizens.)
At the same time, we present the population with a constant, clear alternative: the legitimate Iraqi government and its coalition allies provide security, economic opportunity, and the chance at peace. Al-Qaeda offers nothing but death, poverty, and despair.
Read the rest here!