How strange! I spent all three of my Iraqi embeds in western Al Anbar because that’s where the war was worst. Birthplace of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and cradle of the Sunni insurgency, graffiti declared it “Graveyard of the Americans.” Indeed, I was in combat with the first two SEALs to die in Iraq, including the first to win the Medal of Honor (posthumously). I talked strategy with Army Cpt. Travis Patriquin, designer of “The Awakening” that turned enemy Sunni tribes into allies against AQI, while none of this was possible without tremendous help from chief Anbar Marine Public Affairs Officer Maj. Megan McClung. An IED blast killed them both.
So how can it be that last year AQI fled the province and now we’ve handed military control of a pacified al Anbar to Iraqi forces, in what the AP properly called “a stunning reversal of fortune?”
Further, how could this have occurred just two years after the Marines themselves, who were in charge of Anbar military operations, admitted in a classified report that “there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation” and we were “no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency” or “counter al Qaeda's rising popularity . . .”
The answer is they didn’t.
Michael Fumento is a, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues as well as author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World .
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