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August 03, 2009

Quote of the Day: Principled Change

“On the one hand, Marines display a stalwart resistance to change in those bedrock values that form the very foundation of what it means to be Marine,” he said. “On the other hand, Marines demonstrate a ready embrace of innovation that allows them to adapt to the environments in which they operate and to the enemies they face.”

- General David Petraeus

Now that's change you can depend upon:

... timeless, unchanging truths that describe the Marine Corps include an unflinching devotion to one’s fellow Marines, a ready embrace of hardship and a universal emphasis on the skills and the spirit of the rifleman, he said.

Petraeus said these underlying principles are illustrated in the story of Marine Corps Cpl. Jason Dunham. In 2004, the 22-year-old Marine was killed in action in Karabilah, Iraq, when he used his body to cover a grenade and shield his fellow Marines from the ensuing blast.

Dunham became the 295th Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration, which is bestowed for gallantry in action. The Navy will christen a ship named in the fallen Marine’s honor -- the USS Jason Dunham -- next week during a ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Petraeus said the Marines’ actions in Anbar province illustrate their ability to adapt their strategy to meet unique challenges.

In 2006, Anbar province was one of Iraq’s most contentious regions. It was a society that had collapsed under the weight of an endemic insurgency with an infrastructure dilapidated by years of infighting and neglect. But amid the surge of U.S. forces in 2007, al-Qaida operatives overplayed their hands in Anbar, alienating local residents. Meanwhile, the influx of U.S. Marines helped to tamp down violence and create political breathing room, which in turn allowed the forging of key alliances between local tribal sheiks and coalition operators.

“As a result, sheiks started coming forward to coalition forces to discuss an alliance to throw off al-Qaida,” Petraeus said. “And this was the opening we needed.” ...

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the Anbar Awakening helped alter the course of events in Iraq,” Petraeus said. “And I believe that generations from now, historians will continue to view it as a great example of the principled application of long-standing counterinsurgency principles.”

Posted by Cassandra at August 3, 2009 08:07 AM

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Posted by: RIslander at August 3, 2009 09:27 AM

In Anbar, al qaeda overplayed their hand and alienated the local population. The locals, with the help of the U.S. military, coalesced against a common enemy and drove them out.

Corporal Jason Dunham, by his actions in Karabilah, represented the absolute best of American values and Marine devotion to the princials of "Duty! Country! Honor! Long may the ship bearing his name and memory inspire those who sale on her. Let his memory cause the enemies of freedom to reflect on our resolve.

Stories like this diminish those who take their liberties for granted and inspire the rest of us who "Walk the walk!" Recently I had a converstation with a WWII/Korean Air Force vet who was serving up chili samples at Costco. We shared a cup of chili in the middle of the store retelling old stories and the comraderie that only military folks can know and appreciate.

Welcome back!

Posted by: vet66 at August 3, 2009 09:32 AM

Thanks, guys :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2009 09:37 AM

I agree with RIslander ... the indiscriminate violence al qaeda employed in that province played into our hands. As I understand, the Taliban has learned this lesson and has directed that suicide bombers not be used in market places etc. where they will indiscriminately kill innocent civilians. We learn, they learn ... the cycle continues!

Posted by: Frodo at August 3, 2009 11:48 AM

We learn, they learn ...

Now if we could just get Obama to learn.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2009 11:51 AM

As I understand, the Taliban has learned this lesson and has directed that suicide bombers not be used in market places etc.

The Taliban has learned, al-Qaeda has *not*. But then, it has never been al-Q's aim to make adherents through anything other than terror.

Al-Qaeda In Iraq continues to bomb markets and schools -- the difference is that, rather than working in squad-sized units, they're down to working as isolated individuals. Three IEDs that killed scores of civilians here last month were the work of a single individual, and they caught the bastard.

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2009 12:47 PM

If they can give a woman 40 lashes for wearing pants, I hope the punishment for this waster of humanity is exquisitely more.

Posted by: vet66 at August 3, 2009 05:01 PM

Obama learn?

He KNOWS! He is the Lightworker! BZZZZZap!!!

Scoundrel, insolent female! Always about the Marines!!! Why nothing about those poor "activists" that were "captured" by the Iranians. Social Activists! Fiercely intellectual! (well, that's what they said on CNN this morning).

Back on the inter-
Back on the inter-
Back on the internet!

She's baaaaaaaaaaack!!!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at August 3, 2009 08:25 PM

The USS Jason Dunham. Outstanding!

"Social Activists! Fiercely intellectual! "
Hadn't they been drinking too? If that's true, a reasonable person, or even I, might have good reason to question their fierce intellect. What with being on the border with Iran, being directionally challenged, drinking and all.

Posted by: bthun at August 3, 2009 09:09 PM

It is men like Jason Dunham that make me proud and humble at the same time. A nation that produces such men can adapt and overcome any adversity.

Posted by: John B at August 4, 2009 09:09 AM