(IRAQ) THE UNTOLD TRUTHS

By Ralph Peters, New York Post, March 7, 2006
… who says he has been privileged to spend the last few weeks with America's men and women in uniform.
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret)

BAGHDAD — Among the many positive stories you aren't being told about Iraq, the media ignored another big one last week: In the wake of the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, it was the Iraqi army that kept the peace in the streets. It's routinely declared a failure by those who yearn for the new Iraq to fail.

But an increasingly capable Iraqi military has been developing while reporters (who never really investigated the issue) wrote it off as hopeless. What actually happened last week, as the prophets of doom in the media prematurely declared civil war? * The Iraqi army deployed over 100,000 soldiers to maintain public order. U.S. Forces remained available as a backup, but Iraqi soldiers controlled the streets. Iraqi forces behaved with discipline and restraint - as the local sectarian outbreaks fizzled, not one civilian had been killed by an Iraqi soldier.

Time and again, Iraqi military officers were able to defuse potential confrontations and frustrate terrorist hopes of igniting a religious war. *Forty-seven battalions drawn from all 10 of Iraq's army divisions took part in an operation that, above all, aimed at reassuring the public. The effort worked - from the luxury districts to the slums, the Iraqis were proud of their army. As a result of its nationwide success, the Iraqi army gained tremendously in confidence. Its morale soared.

After all the lies and exaggerations splashed in your direction, the truth is that we're seeing a new, competent, patriotic military emerge. The media may cling to its image of earlier failures, but last week was a great Iraqi success. This matters. Not only for Iraq's sake, but because standing up a responsible military subordinate to an elected civilian government is the essential development that will allow us to reduce our troop presence in the next few years.

Much remains to do - and much could still go wrong - but I, for one, am more optimistic after this visit to Baghdad.

Let's go deeper and probe into the…rest if the story.