Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Dispatches from Iraq

I came across this essay from Victor Davis Hansen the other day called Dispatches from the Front, "a synopsis of dispatches from Iraq that appeared October 6-9, 2007, in Hansen's blog Works and Days." Hansen is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor emeritus at California University, Fresno, and holds numerous other academic positions and accolades. He's also a prolific writer of articles, book reviews, scholarly papers, newspaper editorials and 16 nonfiction books on matters ranging from Greek and military history to contemporary politics and culture to farming. The latter because he was also once a full time farmer before heading up the classics department at Fresno.

These dispatches are very well written, with lots of information gleaned from Hansen's trip to Iraq last year, covering not only what is really going on over there, but what our fighting men are really like. For example, "Three weeks after I heard a formal lecture on the history of Vietnam presented by Col. H.R. McMaster, a Hoover research fellow, at Hillsdale College, I found myself being led by him in full combat gear through Anbar."

It's a long essay as Internet pieces go, but rich and worth the time. You might want to read it in two or three parts (which is what I did).

Here's how it starts:

From Ramadi to Taji and in various hot spots in Baghdad and Diyala province, almost all the Marine and Army units I visited expressed the belief that there has been a sudden, almost inexplicable shift in the pulse of the battlefield. Sometimes, with little warning, thousands of once-disgruntled Sunnis have turned against al Qaeda, ceased most resistance, and begun flocking to government security forces and begging the Americans to stop both al Qaeda and Shiite militias.
Read More