Tuesday, August 28, 2007

This may be the Left's last chance to surrender

From FrontPageMag:

The latest intelligence assessment of the military and political situation in Iraq offers a mixed picture, providing both critics and supporters of President Bush’s “surge” strategy with ammunition to espouse their respective positions.

On the one hand, the National Intelligence Estimate (as the intelligence assessment is officially known) concludes that the Iraqis are falling short of expectations for political reconciliation among the various sectarian groups. This is true particularly at the national level where Prime Minister Maliki has proven unable to forge political unity among the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds and the Iraqi parliament left town for a month’s vacation without reaching agreement on any significant issues.

The defeatists in Washington are seizing on this finding to argue that the war effort is a failure. They will press this fall for a vote in Congress to cut our losses and force us to leave Iraq as soon as possible. But they overlook the part of the intelligence assessment that points out how security conditions have improved in Iraq and how changing the current mission would “erode security gains achieved thus far.” If we leave too soon, the country will implode into even worse sectarian violence than before.

Gen. David Petraeus will be providing his military status report to Congress in mid-September. It won’t be all rosy to be sure, but General Petraeus is expected to point out two significant measures of improvement since the surge has been underway that are also reflected in the intelligence assessment findings: (1) the number of violent extremist attacks has gone down; and (2) the number of local Sunnis who turned against al-Qaeda, which had come to dominate the Sunni insurgency, has gone up. This second measure of improvement is especially important, but is at risk of being reversed if the defeatists in Washington force a premature withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

Al-Qaeda has clearly failed to win the hearts and minds of the local populace whom the terrorists have been killing in the name of Allah. Indeed, al-Qaeda’s brand of Islamic fanaticism did not sell to their fellow Muslims who should have been an easy source of recruits for the Islamic terrorists’ cause since many local residents had started out hating the American ‘occupiers.’ The intelligence assessment points out that the Coalition forces – working with Iraqi forces, tribal elements and Sunni insurgents – have succeeded in reducing al-Qaeda’s capabilities, removing its freedom of movement, and denying it grassroots support. The Iraqi citizens turned on al-Qaeda when they experienced first-hand their evil acts – the beheadings, the murder and rape of women and children, the conscripting of forced labor and the destruction of the Iraqis’ own livelihoods.

In short, al-Qaeda managed to alienate the local Sunni Muslim population all on its own. We turned out to be the more attractive alternative. This in itself represents a major victory over al-Qaeda’s claim to represent pure Islam against the infidel Western invaders. Now the cut-and-run crowd in Congress wants to throw all this progress away and create a vacuum that al-Qaeda will quickly fill again and exploit for propaganda purposes.

[. . .]

Back in December 2004, Osama bin Laden called Baghdad “the capital of the caliphate” and said of the war in Iraq, “[T]he whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries; the Islamic nation, on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”

The Iraqi people are rising up against the terrorists. With the benefit of the security we have been providing, they are courageously delivering a humiliating blow to al-Qaeda’s standing in the Muslim world. However, if the defeatists in Washington prevail and cause us to surrender our troops’ hard-earned gains, the terrorists will prevail by forfeit.

If the United States continues its present course al Qaeda is finished. Their only hope of victory now is the American Left. If Mr. Bush can keep America engaged in the war after Gen. Petraeus' presents his report the political situation in Iraq will fall into line relatively quickly. Iraqi politicians, tribal leaders and common citizens have been waiting to see who is going to win before deciding definitively which side to support.

Right now it looks like the United States is the side to bet on - if the Democrat Party can be held at bay.

That doesn't mean that the final agreements arrived at by the various factions in the Iraqi government will be all that the US is hoping they will be, it is a different nation and culture after all, but they will work for the Iraqi people.