Moment of Truth in Iraq by MichaelYon
The American soldier is why General David Petraeuss brilliant strategy ofmoving soldiers off isolated bases and out among the Iraqi people worked.Worked to find and kill terrorists, reclaim neighborhoods and help lead Iraqto democracy. Iraqis respect strength. They saw that American soldiers aregreat-hearted warriors who rejoice in killing Al Qaeda terror gangs thattook over whole cities, raped too many women and boys, cut off too manyheads. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are evenhappier rebuilding a clinic, school or neighborhood. They learned from theAmerican soldier that the most dangerous man in the world could be thebest man too. - Follow the great Deuce Four battalion that became thecenter of a warrior cult dreaded by terrorists and revered by Iraqis. - Readabout an elite Iraqi SWAT team taking down a terror cell for the murder offour American soldiers and a brave Iraqi guide. - Occupiers, not liberators?Tell that to the wounded Iraqi interpreter, who, convinced he was about todie, begged his U.S. commander to have his heart cut out and buried inAmerica.My first praise for Yon's work here is that his credibility as an embeddedwar reporter cannot be surpassed by anyone. As a freelancer, he wasn'thamstrung by politically motivated editors back home. As an ex GreenBeret, he understood the psychology of the combat soldier, allowing him toquickly gain the respect and appreciation of the soldiers he worked with.As a man of courage, he didn't hole up on base waiting for the soldiers tocome back and tell the stories. He went with the soldiers out into the war.He rode in the Bradleys and the Strykers knowing that at any moment anIED could blow them into the sky. He patrolled alongside them in thestreets of Baghdad, Mosul and other places. He spoke with the Iraqis,both civilian and military. He walked the talk.My second praise is that he didn't fall into the trap of debating the politicaldecision to go to war in Iraq. For the combat soldiers themselves, thisdebate was irrelevant in 2005 or 2007. They simply had a job to do. Whatwas relevant to Yon was the repercussions of our success or failure. Hemakes it clear that he wants the US to win. He wants us to win and hisreports indicate that most Iraqis also want us to win because they are onour side (surprise, surprise!).