Today the parents of PFC Ross McGinnis were presented with the Medal of Honor awarded to their son, a fallen hero. He was 19 years old when he was killed as he threw himself on a grenade to save his comrades in 2006. He is the second Iraq war soldier to receive the nation's highest award for valor.
He joined the military on his 17th birthday. His parents said it was all he ever wanted to do. He wanted to serve his country. The kind of fallen hero who certainly makes a person question if he/she could do the same if necessary. The four he saved were at the White House for the presentation. It was McGinnis' 21st birthday.
The next speech Obama makes to college graduates on the virtues of volunteer service, on the virtues of community service, virtues of national service as he so sanctimoniously did as he filled in for Senator Kennedy recently, using himself as the example, of course, it would be a nice touch to mention military service. Just a suggestion.
The Washington Post actually published a cautiously optimistic article Sunday entitled: "The Iraqi Upturn" subtitle reading: "Don't look now, but he U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war." Had to use the words 'may be' instead of 'are', don't you know.
"There's been a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."
Actually some of us don't find it odd at all that news coverage on recent successes in Iraq have fallen through the cracks in media coverage. We just find it predictable.
Just as General Petraeus said before the Senate and House committees last week, that mostly went unrecognized because Hillary and Obama weren't there to mock and tsk-tsk the General in public, he said he could and would probably recommend troop reductions in the fall, in a larger number than the ongoing pullback. The five 'surge' brigades deployed last year are currently in process of coming home. You may remember last week as John McCain pointed this pre-surge, post-surge troop number adjustment, Obama criticized McCain for having the troop numbers wrong. By next month, the surge brigades withdrawals will be completed.
But, there is absolutely nothing that can be said by anyone to convince those like the Obama people that success is happening. Why? Because they have a whole presidential campaign wrapped up in Iraqi failure. Gotta force the Iraqis to step up and they'll say the way to do that is to leave them just as true progress is made. That'll show those lazy Iraqis.
McCain's policy is to listen to the Generals and leadership on the ground. Though Obama willingly deceives his followers by saying McCain is 'Bush's third term', voters and military families know McCain did not have the same thoughts as President Bush on waging war in Iraq. But it makes a catchy phrase, doesn't it? "Bush's third term". Ask any Conservative voter if McCain is Bush's third term. Yeah, not so much.
The Washington Post article ends with this strategy for Obama, their man: "If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama, might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq's 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success."
A plan for success. Time will tell if Obama is up to the task.