http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/three-marks-on-the-horizon.htm Three Marks on the Horizon August 13, 2007 By: Michael Yon There may be little progress on political goals crafted in America, to meet American concerns, by politicians who have a cushion of 200 years of democracy. Washington might as well be on the moon. Iraqis don’t respond well to rules imposed from outside their acknowledged authorities, though I have many times seen Iraqi Police and Army of all ranks responding very well to American Marines and soldiers who they have come to respect, and in many cases actually admire and try to emulate. Our military has increasing moral authority in Iraq, but the same cannot be said for our government at home. In fact, it’s in moral deficit because many Iraqis are increasingly frightened we will abandon them to genocide. SNIP When I wrote the op-ed piece, “I Have Seen the Horror,” published August 3rd in the New York Daily News, I cited three areas that had experienced dramatic change in 2007—change that convinces me the “surge” is working: 1. Iraqis are uniting across sectarian lines to drive al Qaeda in all its disguises out of Iraq, and they are empowered by the success they are having, each one creating a ripple effect of active citizenship. 2. The Iraqi Army is much more capable now than they were in 2005. They are not ready to go it alone, but if we keep working, that day will come soon. 3. General Petraeus is running the show. Petraeus may well prove to be to counterinsurgency warfare what Patton was to tank battles with Rommel, or what Churchill was to the Nazis. I based my appraisal not on the common wisdom about Iraq, but on what I had seen firsthand SNIP A big firefight ensued, and Pippin got some bullet holes, but made his people keep fighting that day until they broke the ambush. This kind of stuff freaks out the enemy: our guys didn’t get them with jets or fancy machines from a distance, but just rushed into them and outfought them. Despite an enemy with perfect surprise, our guys still killed four of them and CSM Pippin was the only American casualty. Countless acts like these around Iraq are a large part of what has given our guys moral authority with Iraqi Police and Army. Before the war, the Iraqis clearly questioned the courage of our fighters. They no longer question the courage of our fighters, or the abilities of our military leaders. Large numbers of Iraqis detested us after the prisoner abuse stories, and some over-the-top attacks on Fallujah, for example. But through time, somehow the American military has managed to establish a moral authority in Iraq. It’s not the only authority, but the military has serious and increasing moral clout. In the beginning, our influence flowed from guns, or dropped from the wings of jets. Later it was the money. Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to overstate.