Monday, June 08, 2009

Iraq’s Awakening in Perspective

Much is being written about the Sahwa or Awakening in Iraq, and many are trying to take credit. From analysts confined to the safety of Washington Beltway offices to journalists trying to make up years inadequate coverage of events in Iraq, many are trying to become instant experts on the Awakening to be the first to explain a phenomenon that is far more complex than most superficial explanations to date. Thomas Ricks, for example, provides only fragments information and draws the wrong conclusions. Likewise, David Rose, whose Vanity Fair article titled "Heads in the Sand" provides unique insight into U.S. Marine Corps engagement efforts going back to 2004, misses many important details of the events he attempts to describe while making assertions that cannot be supported. Understanding both the origins and complexities of the Awakening that began in al-Anbar Province Iraq and spread across the Iraq is critical in understanding U.S. success in Iraq. It is also important in understanding U.S. Marine efforts in Southern Afghanistan, known by some as “Talibanistan.” This fall, the Marine Corps History Division will release a unique examination of U.S. Marine efforts in al-Anbar Province focusing on the Awakening. What makes it significant is that is includes the first-hand perspective of leading Anbaris who played important roles in the Awakening. This project is a peer reviewed collaboration between three Marine Field Historians, Colonel Gary Montgomery, Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Wheeler, and myself. In the meantime, as this project goes into the production process, I travel to Southern Afghanistan to begin recording the history of Marines as they take on a new role.

Labels: , , , ,