Smile_2 American Forces Press Service | May 22, 2007 WASHINGTON – Many Marines are
concerned that Americans aren’t willing to invest enough time for success in
Iraq, the Corps’ top officer said here yesterday.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway told Pentagon reporters that
defense officials must do a better job of communicating to the American
people the cost of leaving Iraq too soon.

While Americans disagree on the reasons for going into Iraq, there is much
more agreement on what would happen if coalition forces left before
achieving success, Conway said.
Americans have to understand that defeating an insurgency is a long-term
proposition, he said.
"Historically, (defeating insurgents) has (taken) somewhere between nine and
10 years, with various levels of effort," he said. "I think that there is
less of an appetite in our country than we the military might think we need
to sustain that kind of effort over that period of time."
The general said coalition forces in Iraq see incremental daily progress.
"They want to be able to sustain that progress, because they want to be able
to succeed and come out with our credibility high and the credibility of the
United States … where it was when we went in," he said. "So in that
context, I think that our servicemen and women would wish for as much time
as it takes to do the job, realizing that incremental progress will one day
take us over the top."
Conway, who has been commandant for about six months, said he is encouraged
by coalition progress in Iraq’s Anbar province.
"What we are seeing transpire in the al Anbar province today is a clear,
discernible wedge between the Sunni tribes and the al Qaeda in Iraq," he
said. "It has taken four years for these folks to realize that the al Qaeda
in Iraq could offer no more than a future filled with fear and instability."
Tribal leaders and sheikhs in the Sunni province have thrown their lots in
with the Iraqi government. "Some very brave people have stepped up to speak
out against al Qaeda and encourage their fellow tribesmen to work together
toward an Iraq that is stable and at peace with its neighbors," Conway said.
"Now more than ever, it’s imperative for the power of the (United States) to
continue to support the people of Iraq economically, politically and
Progress in Anbar province has been so great that it has changed strategy in
the region, Conway said. At one point, U.S. and Iraqi officials viewed the
situation in Anbar province as bleak and forecast that it would be the last
province to transition to Iraqi provincial control. "That has changed,"
Conway said. "We now have Sunnis in large numbers joining the Iraqi army in
the al Anbar province. We have more Sunni tribesmen wanting to become police
than we have the opportunity to train on a monthly basis."
As part of the military surge to quell violence, two battalions are
scheduled to go to the province. "Any plus-up effort … (is) in a very real
sense reinforcing success," Conway said.
The situation is so much better that the additional battalions may be
shifted to other areas in the country, Conway said, adding that much of the
province could fall under the control of the Iraqi police and army.
Conway said he is pleased with moves to rush procurement of Mine Resistant
Ambush Protected Vehicles, which are more effective than up-armored Humvees
at withstanding the deadly effects of roadside bombs. "These vehicles will
truly have a positive impact on our ability to better protect our Marines
and sailors operating at the tip of the spear," the commandant said.
Conway also reported on efforts to increase the size of the Marine Corps to
202,000 personnel through 2011. Recruiters are doing a superb job in a
constrained environment, Conway said. He noted that growing casualty lists
have made it tougher for recruiters to convince "influencers" — parents,
coaches, teachers etc. — to encourage qualified young Americans to consider
the military.
Surveys show that the propensity for all major ethnic groups in the United
States to join the all-volunteer military is down. Still, Conway has tasked
recruiters with ensuring that the Marine Corps reflect the ethnic diversity
of America, he said.


  1. As always, thanks for sharing such good info with us. I’ve always been proud of ‘my guys’ in the Al Anbar Province, now even more.

  2. We are winning in Anbar. Great info Major. We won in Iraq. Continue to do so. The politicians now need to do their job. Got a Marine going north in the sandbox. He has not lost the will to fight. Nice picture at top. I notice it was edited from original caption. Have you gotten politically correct or did you get picture from other source? ROTFLMAO.

  3. It is always gratifying to hear the serious participants that are our great Marines & military tell us the truth about Iraq. I have never doubted what you’re saying. Having 3 sons(Marines)1 son Army who’ve served in Iraq numerous times along with their Dad who just returned home last week, I couldn’t agree with or be more prouder of you and them and all the rest of our brave forces. The US needs to wake up and realize the horific and deadly risks we take if we pull out too soon. GOd Bless you All, Peace, Mary Henley

  4. I still keep up with the news. I still pray for folks. I still help where I can. I am far from alone.
    Let your buddies know that one little fella in a big white hat cares. Let them know I appreciate them.
    Those of us who are on your side are not as loud as the jackasses in the media and Washington. But, we are far far greater in number and character.

  5. Yeah! The only credible news on Iraq comes from the military like yourself and the guys on the ground through their articles and blogs. My Marine is in Iraq. I hear from him every week or two through e-mail or phone briefly. Your voice is crucial to my sanity. More importantly, it makes liars, traitors, and laughingstocks out of the weaklings who have been given the power to give the war of terror news so grotesquely slanted and off the mark. KEEP REPORTING. TRY TO MAKE YOUR VOICE LOUDER AND FAR – REACHING. Send a public personal message to Nancy Peloski and others like her. Ridicule via telling the truth will be the only thing to shut her and others like her who are more interested in their own personal and party’s political power than our great nation’s good up!

  6. Mary Thompson.. reading the Major’s story, and listening to Stevie wail it out… heck, I’m in the mood for a personal message for lil ole Nancy!! LOL! You Marine families are amazing. Thank you for all you do!

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