January 8, 2007
Here is some great news: I happened to catch an interview late this afternoon on WHSV TV-3 with Staff Sgt. Herb Harman, who just completed a year-long tour of duty in Iraq. He is an Army reservist who volunteered to serve in Iraq, and was assigned to a military police unit, helping train Iraqi government security forces. Herb is a resident of Augusta County and has been active with the local Republican Party; see last March 8. The strain of serving in a dangerous area (Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle) clearly shows on his face, and he said he learned a lot while he was there, but he still voiced support for carrying on the mission of helping to stabilize Iraq. For the large majority of Americans who are wimpy civilians (myself included), the sacrifices he endured to serve his country cannot even be imagined. "Hero" would be putting it mildly. But for now, the most important is returning to his family.
UPDATE: A video clip of the report on the return of 654th Military Police Company, and the "One on One" interview with Sgt. Harman conducted by anchorman Bob Corso, is now available at the WHSV TV-3 Web site.
Victor Davis Hanson questions the assumption (which I have expressed) that our military forces are at the brink of exhaustion. He recently paid a visit to Iraq, and found that our troops are being kept as well supplied and as comfortable as possible in a hostile environment such as that. Applying his perspective as a military historian, he recalls the enormous casualties at the Battle of the Bulge, Okinawa, and Korea, and concludes, "To say that the American military is ruined after fighting in Iraq is preposterous by both present and past standards of combat losses." He also downplays the fears of a strategic setback and hand-wringing over previous battlefield mistakes, which happen in every war. It's a good dose of sobriety at a crucial moment as President Bush ponders the surge option.
Strategy Page surveyed the global military situation, and found that "Fighting has died down considerably, or disappeared completely, in places like Nepal, Chechnya, Congo, Indonesia and Burundi." (Hat tip to Barcepundit.)