The Topeka Capital-Journal today runs a wrap-up piece about Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's week-long trip to Iraq. In that article, Boyda runs down several of the reasons we're (thankfully) seeing reduced violence in Iraq.
Boyda credits General David Petraeus (left, with Boyda) for his leadership abilities, as well as his ability to use outside factors to his benefit. She also rightly credited the new Democratic Congress for sending the message to the Iraqi government that the United State commitment wasn't "open-ended."
"This is a war zone," Boyda said, adding that while bombings are still happening, "a bad situation in Iraq is certainly getting better."
After Boyda's trip to Iraq, we can all take away some very important information:
1. The troops are in good spirits. Boyda said in several interviews that the troops were in better spirits than they were during her previous visit in March and that the troops told her that they felt supported by the American people and Congress.
2. Violence in Iraq is down. Because of the abilities of our men and women in uniform- and some lucky coincidences- tentative progress is being made. As Boyda said in a previous interview, however, no one wants to over state the situation, and everything could indeed change in a moment's notice. The point is reinforced by the fact a car bomb killed 25 and injured 80 in Baghdad while Boyda was in Iraq.
3. Our military is spread far too thin. Decreased violence in Iraq notwithstanding, we cannot respond quickly to another situation in the world because all of our resources are tied up in Iraq. As we watch Pakistan become more and more unstable, the fact our hands are tied by Iraq should worry all of us.
In all of her public statements, Nancy Boyda has approached the Iraq War in terms of what it is doing to our troop readiness, and the message she brings back to us from Iraq this week doesn't change that. Our men and women continue to do the job they've been asked to do, but if another threat appears somewhere else in the world, either a military confrontation or a natural disaster like the Greensburg, Kansas tornado, help simply can't come soon enough.
Thank goodness we're seeing success in Iraq, and we all hope it continues to improve. But, with that said, Congresswoman Boyda's concerns about readiness remain very real.
We're planning a end of the year wrap up ourselves to highlight Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's phenominal first year in office. After that, our posts will be a little farther between for a few days, what with the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary and all.