For the Bush Bashers that are intent...
...to keep belittleing his legacy, even after he's out of office, here's some news from Iraq that somehow our main stream press seem to ignore. As your current president puts down the efforts of our US military, read about these efforts from someone far more qualified to tell us what's really happening than any of the democrats now running the show. UB
9 FEBRUARY 2009 Remarks of General Kelly.................
It might surprise some here today of what a Marine is proudest of in the nearly three years he's spent on the ground in Iraq since March 2003. It is not the triumphs of the invasion and the rush to Baghdad, Tikrit and Bayji that I lived, while the rest of the world held their breath and watched as we defined military power and prowess. It isn't the fights we had over the summer of 2003 against an emerging insurgency in the Northern Babil Province, or the two battles of Fallujah in April and November of 2004. Or clearing Ramadi, or holding Karma, or cleaning out Al Qaim over the years. It's also not about the number of terrorist we've killed, and the network they served all but destroyed, today making Anbar, Iraq, the Middle East, Europe and the world a safer place protected for now at least against a sick form of extremism no decent man or woman could ever embrace. That the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have fought here in Anbar and Western Ninawa Province, and the men and women who commanded them these last five years, are at least has good as the best in the world at this business.
What I am very proud of is the number of human beings we did not have to kill because we never stopped extending the hand of friendship even in the darkest of days gone by, and the damage we didn't do because we resorted to force last, and always restrained its use when we did go to the guns. The other things I am proud of are the cows we purchased for widows to make a living, chicken farms we established or expanded, agricultural experts we hired and brought in to help farmers save their fields and increase production, and advise the shepherds on how to cull and strengthen their flocks. Of the thousands of tons of seed and fertilizer we bought and distributed to reestablish a farm industry destroyed by over a decade of UN sanctions, and exacerbated by the current drought. Of the hundreds of miles of irrigation canals we repaired or opened up, and the schools and clinics built and stocked with supplies. The impact we had on the province's health. By fixing or building sewerage plants and systems, and water treatment facilities, we began to reduce infant mortality by reducing the unseen killers of the new born-killers that thrive in filthy water. And then there was the cholera epidemic this past summer-that didn't happen; the dreaded tuberculosis outbreak in Hadithah-that we miraculously contained and treated without the loss of a single life.
I am also very proud of the Iraqis we Americans, along with our brothers in the Iraqi police and army, safeguarded as the insurgency was systematically defeated. It wasn't all done with guns and violence, but as much with the kinds of nation building and "hearts and minds" programs we established for the people of Anbar, and now those of Western Ninawa, who are today working with us, and not fighting against us. And when the few remaining Al Qaeda do crawl out from under whatever rock they call home, those who once aided them now reject their presence and the venom they spew, and tell us where to find them. Of the month-long voter registration drive in August without a single accusation of fraud, without a single violent incident, and with 100% of the eligible registered. Of the election just held with nearly 100% of those registered walking miles even when you knew full well hundreds and even thousands of you might die. You ignored the threats of death. With the full knowledge that the terrorists were frantically building vehicle bombs, and outfitting as many suicide bombers as they could talk into their murderous assignment, you gathered at polling places in your millions and exercised the right of free men and woman and the forces of evil here never had a chance of stopping you. By dipping your fingers in a bottle of ink you sounded the death knell of terrorists and extremists who only destroy, never build. Who kill, and never nurture. Who want to tear down societies now, but have no plan for the future. Who simply can not stand the thought of men and women living their lives the way they want to live them safely in their own homes with their children, and enjoying the God-given rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
It's harder-infinitely harder-fighting this kind of war as patience, and innovation and economic development are the most effective ammo, with trust, influence and personal relations the most effective and really only usable arrows in the quiver.
In this dangerous world we live in the sad fact is that the kind of war we are fighting today in Iraq was made possible only after all those who have to be killed because they are murderous irreconcilables, are dead. And diplomacy and good will only work once these kinds of men are hunted down and killed or put in cages, and those more reasonable men and women are finally convinced they can't win with the gun, are tired of dying, and realize their only hope is through dialogue.
These are the things I am proud or as I end my third, and I am sure my final, tour here in Iraq; however, what I am proudest of is why we came here and regardless of what the talkers back home thought this was all about, those of us on the ground that were putting our lives on the line had the noblest of all intentions in 2003, and they guide us today as well in our every action. Reasons only the American military would march forward to do with happy hearts, and without regard for our own lives or wellbeing. Not for land, or oil, or prestige, or for anything else other than our country's security, and another people's freedom. I know it sounds na´ve or corny, but our Iraqi brothers and sisters who have come to know us the best, believe it the most.
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