Archive for March, 2006

Civil War

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Just finished Volume two of Grant’s Memoirs, which conclude with the end of the U.S. Civil War. Here are some interesting quotes, from a man of restrained rhetoric who did his best, as a military man, to stay out of politics:

“In the North the press was free up to the point of open treason.”

“The convention which had met and made its nomination of the Democratic candidate for the presidency had declared the war a failure. Treason was talked as boldly in Chicago at that convention as ever been in Charleston.”

“…the gibes of many Northern papers that came to them [the troops besieging Vicksburg] saying all their suffering was in vain, that Vickburg would never be taken.”

“The copperhead disreputable portion of the press magnified rebel successes, and belittled those of the Union army. It was, with a large following, an auxiliary to the Confederate army.”

Grant had to continually take gambles he would rather not have, and which were advised against by his generals, because he was in a race against time. Even though he knew the North was winning the war, the constant drumbeat of negativity from the Northern press meant that if the war were not concluded soon and decisively, the North would fold and there would be no union.

Not to draw any unwarranted parallels, or suggest that Grant was questioning the patriotism of the MSM or the Democrats, but here are a few facts about the war in Iraq that you will not find in the New York Times or on CBS, gleaned from an excellent article by Richard Nadler:

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There has been a 60 percent decline of infant mortality in post-Saddam Iraq.

The daily toll under the occupation falls in the range of 25 to 28 per day. But under Saddam’s rule, the death toll averaged three times that. A violent day under the coalition would be just a routine day under Saddam.

Coalition casualties declined by 27 percent in 2005. They have declined by 62 percent in 2006, measured against the comparable period of 2005.

There were 146 strikes against the oil infrastructure in 2004, compared to 101 in 2005.

The insurgent strategy of targeting Iraqi police and army units peaked in July of 2005. Since then, casualties among those units have declined by 33 percent.

From March of 2005 to September of 2005, the number of civilian tips informing on insurgents increased from 483 to 4,700, as numerous Sunni tribes declared outright war on al Qaeda.

From the most extensive and scientific polls of Iraq opinion, performed by Arabic speakers for Oxford Research International near the beginning of 2004, then at the end of 2005. These polls covered all of Iraq’s major regions and demographic groups:

By 71 percent to 9 percent, Iraqis believe that their own security forces — Iraqi security forces — are winning the fight against terror.

Asked to compare their current lives with their lives under Saddam, Iraqis reported an improvement in availability of necessities, and an improvement in overall economic wellbeing. They reported superior access to clean water, health care, and education. Iraqi respondents believed that their local governments had improved. Asked what form of government they hoped to live under going forward, democracy won handily: four-to-one over the rule of one-man, and ten-to-one over totalitarianism.

a plurality of Iraqis feel safer now than under Saddam, and a majority feel safer from ordinary crime. Moreover, better than 60 percent feel personally safe in their neighborhoods.
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And yet, the view of how the war is going is wildly more pessimistic among the U.S. populace and punditry, than it is among the Iraqis, or the American military, or in the captured dispatches of Al Qaeda. Why is that, I wonder?