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Two Outlooks on Iraq at the end of 2008

posted Dec 1, 2008, 6:42 PM by John Kavanagh   [ updated Dec 1, 2008, 7:12 PM ]
The two embedded bloggers who I value the most for their ground-truth perspectives, have differing outlooks for the future of Iraq as the U.S. military starts to withdrawal and hand over complete security responsibilities to the Iraqi government. Michael Totten's is the most sobering...

What's Next in Iraq
December 1, 2008
By Michael J. Totten

“Will it get worse in one year?” I said to Captain Boyes. “That’s the big question.”

“Well, yes,” he said. “It will. Any time something new happens in a counterinsurgency, when there are new security forces, there is an immediate spike in violence because the insurgents are testing the ability of the new element. When we leave and transition all of what we do now to the Iraqi security forces, will there be a spike in activity? Absolutely. One hundred percent.”

Yet Michael Yon's experience is bit upbeat...

The Art of the End of War
December 1, 2008.
By Michael Yon

We rumbled into various neighborhoods in south Baghdad.  Nothing was going on.  No gun battles.  No mushroom clouds from car bombs or IEDs.  I wore the headset and the incessant radio alerts about units fighting here or there was completely absent.  In the old days, while the Iraq war was hot, there was constant chatter about fighting, car bombs, snipers, name it.  Today, there were no alerts at all. ... The Baghdad mission with 10th Mountain Division soldiers was uneventful, other than the soldiers being proud to say they haven’t had to fire a single shot in combat this year.  One soldier wanted to buy a roasted chicken, but the chicken stand no longer takes dollars, only Iraqi dinars.  Several stores we stopped at now only take dinar, though I bought a sim chip for my cell phone with dollars.