image courtesy Buckdog
More good news from Iraq, calculated to disturb and demoralize Democrats and completely wreck their talking points. The Democrat candidates for president are going to have to scramble to reposition themselves with the new reality in Iraq.
Those who tacked furthest to the left – Edwards and Richardson particularly, who left themselves little wiggle room – are going to have to moderate their rhetoric to consider the fact that to promise to remove our troops “as soon as possible” is going to amount to abandoning the field while we’re winning.
As usual, Hillary! has calculated correctly, and her hawkish stand on the (ironically, lately she’s been moving left on the issue) will stand her in good stead as the media starts admitting things are going well, and in fact we may have won in many sections of Iraq already:
A year ago, the assertions of Sanchez and the antiwar critics were an accurate description of the violence throughout Iraq: Armed death squads freely roamed the streets in Baghdad and outlying areas, responding to massive bombings committed by al Qaeda. And vice versa. Each week saw hundreds of innocent Iraqis – the victims of sectarian attacks and reprisals – kidnapped and killed. Worst of all, compromised members of the security forces (Iraqis in uniform) were complicit in many killings.
Enter Gen. David Petraeus and a strategy that did just that. (The term “surge” is far too simplistic, as it implies simply throwing more forces at the problem, when Petraeus’ changes in tactics are even more important).
The new counterinsurgency approach – namely, to take territory from al Qaeda, hold it, secure it and empower tribal sheiks to work together and rebuild their communities – finally provides an effective “counteroffensive” to the chief tactics of al Qaeda militants and Shiite death squads.
America’s enemies in Iraq, radical insurgents living and fighting among the general public, understand that they can’t continue their fight without capitulation from ordinary Iraqis. Finally, after almost four years, the U.S. military understands this as well.
The prevailing Democrat wail these four years has been “Bush refuses to change course or adjust to reality”. Perhaps that was fair and accurate 2-3 years ago, although I seriously doubt the White House was not scrambling furiously to find out why things were not getting better in Iraq and were ready to try any strategy that would work. Now that Bush has found a general and a strategy, and things are getting better, the left, Democrats and even the media are stymied.
They are forced to deny reality, or focus on soldiers and civilians already killed and claim the war was not worth their deaths, so therefore its a failure, not worth doing, and we should leave (preferably yesterday, if not sooner).
This won’t cut it with the American public, who, to their credit, don’t like to waste soldiers sacrifice by cutting and running and who must see, according to their continuing support, that the war is essential and failure in Iraq is not an option that will bode well for the future.
I say continuing support because I firmly believe, cooked polls not-withstanding, that the US public does indeed still support the war. My evidence is the fact that the Democrats, facing withering and red-hot anger from the leftwingnuts, dare not defund the war.
They’d like to do so not only to appease the radical base, but also many of the more moderate rank-and file, who, while perhaps cognizant of the fact leaving Iraq would be a disaster, are not comfortable with American projection of military power in any form. And then there are the many Democrats, politicians and voters, who would use the loss as a political tool with which to bludgeon the Republicans.
Tho them, a tangible win in Iraq would be a disaster: years of talk investing them in the belief that Bush is an incompetent ideologue who wants war for its own sake, for profiteering, or just for plain cussed stupidity or evil (yes, some seem to believe that) have boxed them into a corner. If all their cant is proven to be false, the alternative is that Bush is a brilliant strategy, to defeat a “civil war” and “insurmountable, unwinnable” war
Since last December, sectarian deaths throughout Iraq have dropped over 50 percent; overall attacks against civilians are down 50 percent. In Baghdad – the focal point of Petraeus’ strategy – sectarian deaths are down almost 80 percent in 10 months and large al Qaeda-style truck and suicide bombings have dropped over 50 percent.
Moreover, ordinary Iraqis are providing far more tips and other information. We now get some 23,000 tips a month, four to five times the level of a year before. This measure – which directly correlates to the trust and support of the population – is promising.
These are significant and consequential numbers and indicate real successes in stomping out the civil war. But it’s not just numbers that make the case that the civil war is ending. Look, too, at what the new strategy lets commanders do in their now-daily discussions with ordinary Iraqis.
Petraeus reports that foreign (non-Iraqi) recruits conduct over 80 percent of al Qaeda’s attacks; and therefore, by refocusing local tribal leaders on this fact, American commanders are making a convincing argument to the sheiks: Why launch an indiscriminate reprisal against another sect, ratcheting up the level of violence, when you can simply tell us and Iraqi security forces where the foreign insurgents are and we’ll go get them? The numbers say that’s exactly what’s happening.
Our own soldiers deaths are down as well:
BAGHDAD – October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and Americans commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to what the military calls “Concerned Citizens” — both Shiites and Sunnis who have joined the American fight. He says he’s signed up 20,000 of them in the past four months.
“I’ve never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we’ve made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We’ve said that all along. And now they’re coming forward in masses,” Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad. Outgoing artillery thundered as he spoke.
The “reality-based community” is in a tough spot. The narrative, which reflects not reality but what the common wisdom of the MSM, has changed because reality sometimes does become too compelling for even the propagandists of the left to warp or spin. The average American, used to the far left tilt of the LameStreamMedia, is used to discounting by at least half, anything they say, so the tepid admissions in September, (always leavened with the latest bombing or death figures as a coda to any positive story for “balance”) that the tide was turning started the ball rolling.
Now, unqualified reports like this that the tide has not only turned, but is a tidal wave that will exponentially increase the security on the ground and cause disaster for the insurgents and foreign fighters who still remain. Its pretty obvious Petraeus will not let up on the aggressive policy of rooting out terrorists now that they are on the run.
The policy of holding territory will further isolate the Al-Qaeda and dwindling number of sectarian insurgents who still remain, making them easier to find and kill. It will reduce the areas where they can operate, leading to ever-decreasing death tolls. This will lead to, as it already has, to increased confidence by Iraqis in their own security, which will lead, as it already has, to increased tips and decreased support, in the form of money, recruitment and sheltering, of terrorists.
Its easy to see that this may quickly lead to a point where the insurgency completely dries up, sooner rather than later. Dead-enders are being dead-ended quickly, and less fanatical terrorists who realize they are an endangered species fighting a lost cause will fade back into the general public and give up insurging as unproductive and fatal.
One problem that is still lingering on the horizon is that, once Al-Qaeda is completely taken out of the equation and foreign fighters and Saddamist dead-enders are either rendered inconsequential or dead, the sectarian militias, united at the moment in their hatred for foreign Arab terrorists, might start attacking each other again.
Already, its a sad but admitted fact that part of the reason Baghdad is more peaceful is that the Shiites have been quite successful in the ethnic cleansing of many sections of the city. If you kill all the opposition, it becomes quite peaceful indeed. There are still substantial portions of the country heterogeneous populations, and old grudges and lust for retribution have not disappeared.
The hope here is that the continuing proficiency due to training and strengthening of the Iraqi police force and Army will allow them to control the violence themselves. Without doubt, allegiance to sect, tribe and religious factionalism will complicate efforts to getting members of these forces to put nationalism over other loyalties.
What trumps the possibilities that there will be future, unseen complications (just as the late insurgency was unexpected) is that the mission is essential to our interests. Its the only hope for eventual peace in the Middle-East, the end of tyrannical dictators, hereditary plutocracies, juntas of Islamic clerics and military strongmen, and the institution of democratic institutions and the introduction of popular control of their own government.
There is also the moral imperative (unimagined and completely dismissed by the moral relativist left) that the US work to reduce suffering and help Iraqis in their pursuit of a decent life. Not just because we invaded and removed a dictator that a large percentage of the population was culpable in supporting and enabling, but because its a racist trope of the left that Arabs and Muslims are incapable of engaging in democracy, and it takes a brutal thug to rule them.
On another plane, its very satisfying to see the squirming and impotent hysteria by the far left that there is virtually no chance of the Democrat-controlled congress defunding the war or impeding President Bush in any meaningful way. Further, there is increasing evidence that his legacy will be one of a successful visionary who changed the world in a way that will profoundly alter the course of history for good.
And that will probably cause some even more consternation than his active administration did, if that level of craziness is conceivable. That’s not to even mention the effect it will have on the Republican fortunes in ’08.