To Hell With Anbar Province

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

To Hell With Anbar Province

That seems to be the position of Senator George Allen (R-Va.). Mind you, Allen made it clear on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that he wants to "stay the course" in Iraq, but he had a surprisingly blase reaction to a question that host Tim Russert asked about Anbar, the violent westernmost province of Iraq:
RUSSERT: Let, let me show you a map of Iraq, and there on the west is Anbar Province. And this is what the Marine Corps has said about Anbar Province. “The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country’s western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents.” That’s the military talking. What do we do? ...

ALLEN: Anbar was always difficult to govern. The focus now is on the Baghdad area. When I was over in Iraq back in June, whether they were Kurds, Sunni or Shiites, they were all very grateful to Americans for liberating them from Saddam’s tyrannical regime. They all also recognize that the key for the country is to make sure there is better security in the Baghdad, the central area. The northern part, the Kurdish area, is doing very well. Gosh, they’re even running advertisements for investment in the Kurdish area. They’re building homes, there’s a convention center. And the southern part, the Shiite part, is, is, is fairly stable, too. The key right now, the focus, the adjustments, the adaptations that have been made, is to focus on the Baghdad area.
It's one thing to argue, as Allen does, that we need to keep our troops there and try our best to finish the job. But it's another thing to take that position even as you write off a major province of Iraq and essentially cede that to the insurgents.

Um, senator, are you trying to "cut and run" from Anbar province?

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