Sep 03 2007

Petraeus And Iraq, What We Will Hear About Our Future

Published by at 10:30 am under All General Discussions,Diyala,Iraq

The Bush administration is going to be heading to Congress with a powerful story of success in Iraq. We have not achieved victory, but we have turned a few corners on the way there. First and foremost is the change in perception the Muslim street in Iraq has as it relates to al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda is now the enemy, the murderer, the killers of children. More and more Iraqis are taking up arms and swearing on the Koran to rid their country of this pestilence.

And the result of this change in allegiance towards al-Qaeda has resulted in a dramatic change in the country. Gen Petraeus will be testifying about that to Congress in the coming weeks, but he is out now road testing the news about Iraq to allies around the world:

In the interview with the Herald in his office in the US headquarters in a former Saddam Hussein presidential palace, he used as a benchmark of progress the number of “ethno-sectarian deaths”, which have fallen steadily since December in Baghdad and in the rest of Iraq and have “come down for eight of the last 11 weeks to a level lower than for a year”.

In Baghdad, the monthly death toll has fallen by more than two-thirds. In the rest of Iraq, such deaths have dropped by more than 50 per cent, but General Petraeus said they were “still too high”.

Continuous improvement week after week and month after month. The Surge is producing the stability needed for Iraq to make political progress. The stability is too recent to even pretend (though a lot of naive liberals will do so anyway) that there can be political progress yet, but that will come. Give the effort time, success will not come over night.

It is important to see how many stories detailing the turn of events are coming out in the US media. The number of stories are indicative of the changes in Iraq – the more stories the broader the sea change occuring. But the echoes of these stories back here also have an impact on public opinion. This is the kind of rivetting story, in the NY Times no less, that will shed a very unfavorable light on the Democrats who almost gave al-Qaeda an easy win in Iraq:

Hawr Rajab had been under the dominion of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a predominantly Iraqi group that took its inspiration from Osama bin Laden and whose senior echelons are filled by foreign jihadis. The group’s fighters in Hawr Rajab were armed with AK-47s, machin

This day in early August, however, was to mark a turning point. Just a month earlier, the Americans acquired a new ally: Sheik Ali, a leader of the Dulaimi tribe. In an extraordinary development, a growing number of Sunnis who had sympathized with the insurgency or even fought American forces were now more concerned with removing Al Qaeda from their midst — so much so that they had chosen to ally with their supposed occupiers. Such expedient confederations were emerging across Iraq. They began last year when Sunni tribes and former insurgents in western Anbar Province began cooperating with American forces, cropped up later in the violent Diyala Province and even emerged in the sharply contested Ameriya neighborhood in Baghdad.

But Ali had a powerful motivation to work with the American troops. Al Qaeda militants had killed his father, kidnapped his cousin, burned his home to the ground and alienated many of his fellow tribesmen by imposing a draconian version of Islamic law that proscribed smoking and required women to shroud themselves in veils.

Ali had already provided valuable intelligence on Al Qaeda operatives and had been recruiting members of his tribe for what was to be a new, American-backed security force. Al Qaeda’s hold on the town had been weakened, and the sheik was one reason why. The trip to Hawr Rajab was to be a further demonstration that the group’s days there were numbered.

As I said, the story is rivetting and is one small example of what is being repeated across Iraq as the dominoes have been falling our way for months now. al-Qaeda overplayed their hand by appealing to their own sick bloodlust in dealing with the Iraqis. The result is a massive and growing rejection of al-Qaeda – note this story took place just last month. As the changes spreads the result is a reduction in killing and mayhem where the change has happened. Enticing more areas to make the shift.

But also now we are seeing the first hints of the political process responding to the changes (and it was always going to lag a bit behind the security effort). First Maliki met during Parliament’s summer break with Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni leaders to forge a plan for political reconciliation. And now, just in time to throw the liberals here in the US off balance with even more good news, we see some of the initial fruits of that compromise:

Up to 6,000 suspected Sunni insurgents are to be freed from Iraqi jails in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the country’s government from collapsing under the strain of sectarian in-fighting.

The release scheme, which could put some hardened combatants back on to the streets, is part of a high-stakes gamble by Iraq’s Shia-led government to win back the confidence of Sunni politicians after increasingly bitter squabbling and walkouts.

It is understood to have been central to a key accord last week between the five main Shia, Kurdish and Sunni political blocs to kick-start the government again after 15 months of near deadlock.

A further effect this Iraqi change of mind has had is it has resulted in much fewer US casualties, especially important since The Surge started operating at full force only a few scant weeks ago:

merican combat deaths in Iraq have dropped by half in the three months since the buildup of nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops reached full strength, surprising analysts and dividing them as to why.

U.S. officials had predicted that the increase would lead to higher American casualties as the troops “took the fight to the enemy.”

But that hasn’t happened, even though U.S. forces have launched major offensives involving thousands of troops north and south of Baghdad.

Momentum and acceleration. Concepts from physics which, when they occur in politics, can destroy conventional wisdom and alter the fortunes of political forces for years to come. That is because politics doesn’t see massive shifts very often. Usually the political changes are small steps which need to cummulate over a long period of time (for reference look at the conservative revolutions which started with Reagan and peaked under the current George Bush – before the far right started civil wars on their pet peaves). But Iraq is ripe for the rare, fast rising and powerful kinds of political shifts that can leave most pols and talking heads wondering what happened. And many are already wondering what happened to their dire predictions of doom and gloom in Iraq.

The reason I think this is occurring is because of the sea change in attitudes towards al-Qaeda, which created much of the change in security. That change involved, first and foremost, a change in the political support in Iraq for al-Qaeda’s methods and propaganda. Once rejected, al-Qaeda’s fortunes have fallen into ashes in a few short months. We are seeing the rapid collapse of a Muslim fantasy: a golden age of Islamic superiority. We are seeing the awakening of a people who realize the dribble al-Qaeda puts out is a lie, opposite to the existence these people saw under al-Qeade rule. The Emporer’s have no clothes and the people are in a lynching mood.

I believe the same momentum will now spill over into the reconciliation process. As more and more compromises are broached, and the peace and prosperity these compromises can bring come to fruitition, the act of compromise will become intoxicating. Like a starving man in the desert coming upon food and water, there will be no desire to not partake in satiating the thirst and hunger. The various factions will create a snow ball of reconciliation to remove the stench from
decades of domination by, and servitude to, thugs like al-Qaeda and Hussein.

One thing is for certain. The liberal media and talking heads had predicted none of this progress would happen, believing it was impossible. So as they now wander about trying to understand why it happened anyway, do not expect them to grasp what is happening until well after it happens. The ones who have a track record of erroneous predictions are the defeatists on the left. They garnered some support from some weak-kneed elements of the GOP. But that just made the pool of those caught off guard and now totally confounded as to what is happening larger than usual. The fact is the political shift in Iraq is so large and sudden, many people will find themselves out of step. The smart ones will simply admit the error of their assumptions.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Petraeus And Iraq, What We Will Hear About Our Future”

  1. Terrye says:

    Somethings just take a certain amount of time. Maybe the Iraqis are tired of all this themselves.

    Too bad the Palestinians can not get to that place.

  2. gwood says:

    Excellent post. The left and its supplicant media simply chose the wrong side to root for.

    Since there will be no formal surrender in this war, we will have to look to certain “benchmarks” to see our victory take shape. I personally will pay attention to how the jihad attempts to fight. Perhaps we will see a slow but sure lessening of the suicide component in future bombings. Some remote detonations have already begun to appear, indicating a clear lack of willing martyrs.

    I saw recently that “Iraqis” have been attempting to cross our southern border from Mexico, this could be the beginning of capitulation in Iraq, as the jihad will in the end attempt to save face by changing the venue.

  3. mcbridopone says:

    This would all be more interesting if it weren’t for the fact that Iraq is more violent than it was this time last year, and more U.S. troops have died this summer than last.

    Yes, violence is slightly down from a few months ago, but that’s a seasonal thing: violence goes down when it’s really really hot. If you compare it to this time last year, you’ll see that Iraq gets worse every year and that the Glorious Surge has accomplished nothing.

    So, given the fact that Iraq is getting worse, your only point is that Iraqis don’t like Al-Qaeda. But no one, not even Bush, has ever claimed that Al-Qaeda In Iraq (a different organization from the real Al-Qaeda, anyway) is responsible for the majority of the violence. The fact that the Iraqis don’t like AQ merely proves that AQ won’t take over Iraq when we leave.

    So let’s review: Iraq is getting worse, and Bush refuses to do the only thing that could possibly make Iraq better — implement a phased withdrawal. Instead Bush prefers pretending that violence is down, even though it’s actually up. Why? Because Bush would rather see America defeated and humiliated than admit he was wrong. The longer we stay in Iraq, the worse Iraq gets and the worse America’s defeat becomes. But Bush has decided that American defeat and an Iraq bloodbath is a small price to pay for the ability to blame the next president for withdrawing.

  4. Dc says:

    What will you hear about your future?

    You can listen to these putzes…or you can listen to the people who’ve actually held the guts of their friends in their hands.

    Yes…mcmegaphone…and it was easier for Clinton to pass on AlQueda to the next president. They did what they could do..given the congress..the CIA..etc..and the media/public support they had at the time.

    Here’s the difference….Clinton actually knew where Osama was…watched him…and couldn’t kill him. Today..if given the same opportunity..he’d be toast. Now..what’s the difference? Come on…you can say it. Why is that so!! Could it be…no…it couldn’t. could it be because of 9/11???


  5. gwood says:

    It must really be getting bad for the SURREAL SURRENDER COALITION, when they have to blame the war’s trajectory on the weather. McBridopone has been paying way too much attention to Al Gore.

    We withdrew from Beirut, we withdrew from the port of Aden, we withdrew from Mogadishu, and all it got us was the dearth of respect that emboldened the jihad, and became the principal cause of the 9-11 massacre. Withdrawal won’t make Iraq any safer, and it will definitely make any American, anywhere, a target for death. Our enemy is going down to a humiliating defeat, despite the perfidy of the left in this country, and it’s easy to see that a defeat for the jihad in Iraq is also a painful defeat for those who hate Bush.

  6. Smooth Jazz says:

    Great post!! Thanks so much for the message. The tide is indeed turning when the MSM HAS to report the good news, unfiltered. The transformation in Iraq is occuring with such suddenness, that the hapless “Surrender First” Liberals cannot even sense the tide is turning. Keep up the great work!

  7. owl says:

    Bush in Iraq…..heard it very early this morning on ABC. So I listened to hear if they could identify exactly his location. Their Martha sure tried but the kicker came from the other ABC reporter. They just can not help themselves. They hate Bush.

    Lady Vet (over @lucianne’s) asked how long it would be before the first reporter talked about a plastic turkey. Not long. Very, very early ABC’s guy said “his first visit, a surprise, where he brought out a plastic turkey for the troops”. ABC still tops my current list of scumball political operatives playing as journalists.

  8. MerlinOS2 says:


    The hot news today will be President Bush’s visit to Iraq, but something that has been lost is things like this post by an Iraq blogger which says volumes.



    Although recently a bombing killed more than 500 people in an area dominated by Yezidis, a little known religious group in northern Iraq, the Al-Aimma bridge tragedy has been the worst single event in the war. Last year we brought you a story from Sami Rasouli, who told about Othman Ali Al-Obeidi, who is famous in Iraq because he had a Sunni name, but his father’s name, Ali, is traditionally a Shi’a name. Othman was on the Iraqi swimteam and died saving Shi’a pilgrims from drowning in the Tigris. The second anniversary of the tragedy has just passed, so we are again remembering Othman and the other brave Iraqis who stood against sectarianism.

    Other media agencies are falling over themselves to discuss the onset of a civil war in Iraq. It is important to take these discussions with a grain of salt. That is not to say sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, and general chaos, insecurity, and disorder are a daily experience in Baghdad, they are. But the violence may be more organized than now discussed. Just over a year ago, Der Spiegel reported on the experience of another man living near the Al-Aimma Bridge. He made it clear that the violence is not the crazed killings of madmen, but organized political violence.

  9. Terrye says:

    Violence in Iraq was up this month because of that one big attack. But otherwise numbers were better. Troop casualties were down too.

  10. Terrye says:

    Isn’t it something how important it is to the socalled anti war people for Iraq to be “worse”? One would think that if they were pacifists and all, they would actually hope for peace and success in Iraq, rather than cling pathetically to every bit of bad news they can find.