Emails from Anbar…

Glenn, you know that I do not hesitate to deliver bad news. I have no bad news to deliver today. The town of Hit clearly is doing much, much better. “Anbar the impossible” might be possible after all.

Michael Yon’s latest dispatch from the city of Hit, Anbar province is via email to Glenn Reynolds. Excerpt from Michael:

…Otherwise, 2-7 hardly have fired their weapons. Today, I accompanied LTC Doug Crissman, the commander, to three meetings with Iraqi police and civilian leadership. The meetings were important but thankfully more administrative than combat oriented. Subjects included police recruitment and local politics, and actually seemed more difficult to navigate than “simple combat.” And to think that only in January of this year, this city was a daily battle. Today, there are clear signs of development and the civilian population was out shopping. In addition to basic services being restored, the city of Hit has rebuilt its library. Citizens had stored away the books during the war here. They are preparing to re-stock the library. Glenn, you know that I do not hesitate to deliver bad news. I have no bad news to deliver today. The town of Hit clearly is doing much, much better. “Anbar the impossible” might be possible after all…

Glenn’s post assembles several other reader emails. This thread was launched from the remarkable discovery by Time’s Joe Klein of the Anbar Awakening, the Anbar Salvation Council, etc. [I didn’t bother to post on Klein’s article because it was so out of touch with developments]. As Glenn wrote today:

You know, if I didn’t know better I’d think that some of the lefty bloggers would actually be happier if things were going badly. Meanwhile, to me the big news about the Time story was that Time was finally catching up with what warbloggers on the scene — Michael Yon, J.d. Johannes, Bing West, etc. — have been reporting for quite a while. Instead of criticizing Time for straying (if only a bit) off the current Democratic message, people should, if anything, be criticizing it for taking so long to get to the story.

Some related thoughts — including, actually, a better criticism of what’s going on in Anbar than you’ll get from Klein’s critics on the left — here.

UPDATE: Okay, this is cool — another email from Anbar:

I’m actually sitting about 30 feet from Michael Yon as he types his dispatches, here in the town of Hit, Al Anbar province. As one of the soldiers in Task Force 2-7, I have to say it’s really heartening to have a journalist of his caliber out here reporting with us. Hit, along with Anbar generally, has settled down tremendously in the 4 months I’ve been in country this tour. It’s surreal to compare my first two months in downtown Ramadi – incessant gunfire, explosions, and unending violence – to the peacekeeping and institution-building we finally have underway here in Hit. You wouldn’t get that reading the papers, with their constant focus on the (obviously tragic) sectarian violence in Baghdad, but frankly what has happened in Anbar is near-miraculous – it’s a story that deserves to be reported far more heavily than it has so to date.

I just want to emphasize how much it means to the guys on the ground out here to have our story told by people like Michael Yon. I’m sure sitting through tedious city council meetings and governance/rule of law/economic strategy sessions with the battalion’s staff officers is a bit boring for Mr. Yon, but isn’t that a tremendous thing that we’re in that situation?

I’ve been a big fan of fan of Instapundit since my first tour in Iraq, in 2004.


Captain Michael Mulvania

Task Force 2-7 Infantry

I wish there were more people like Michael Yon reporting. But it’s kind of nice to know that he’s not the only InstaPundit reader in Anbar. And I don’t know Captain Mulvania, but I’m guessing that his uniform isn’t all that shiny either.

Glenn has more emails from Anbar — here’s the closing paragraph from a reservist who has just arrived back in the US:

…Here’s the real takeaway though: this never would have happened without some sort of American presence in Iraq. It was not diplomats that turned the tribes, it was military officers. That is the secret that will be hard to swallow: we are in an age wherein the opposite of the ‘exit strategy’ will have to be the lynchpin of strategy: presence, not early exit, is what is required in these broad swaths of the world that where instability threatens US interests. The key will be not to figure out whether to be there or not, which is the current debate. The key will be to figure out how much to be there and in what form: soldier, diplomat, spy, or some other category that has yet to be determined: perhaps a combo of all three, or perhaps some privatized version of any one of them.