Nov 20 2007

Why I See Victory Is At Hand In Iraq

Published by at 2:30 pm under All General Discussions

Update: Jeff at DadManly thinks the Iraqis deserve “Times Persons Of The Year” award. I agree, and the Nobel Peace Prize as well. – end update

I have to say I think we are moving from ‘winning’ in Iraq to ‘won’ in Iraq. As the stories of normalcy returning to Iraqi society continue to come out, there is less and less of a chance al-Qaeda, or one of its sister extremist groups, would even think of starting the bloody attacks again. Let’s let the NY Times set the stage today for the amazing changes that are rolling through Iraq:

Five months ago, Suhaila al-Aasan lived in an oxygen tank factory with her husband and two sons, convinced that they would never go back to their apartment in Dora, a middle-class neighborhood in southern Baghdad.

Today she is home again, cooking by a sunlit window, sleeping beneath her favorite wedding picture. And yet, she and her family are remarkably alone. The half-dozen other apartments in her building echo with emptiness and, on most days, Iraqi soldiers are the only neighbors she sees.

“I feel happy,” she said, standing in her bedroom, between a flowered bedspread and a bullet hole in the wall. “But my happiness is not complete. We need more people to come back. We need more people to feel safe.”

Mrs. Aasan, 45, a Shiite librarian with an easy laugh, is living at the far end of Baghdad’s tentative recovery. She is one of many Iraqis who in recent weeks have begun to test where they can go and what they can do when fear no longer controls their every move.

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

Peace is returning to Iraq. There are efforts at reconciliation all across Iraq – despite what the now debunked news media are claiming (recall their predictions of an endless quagmire?). With these images of Iraqi hope and the possibility of living a brighter future in your minds, speculate on what would happen if this peaceful, recovering Iraq were torn asunder again by al-Qaeda bombs. Picture these simple Muslims now dead. Picture a scene of children playing soccer one moment and then dead and dying in their own blood the next because of an al-Qaeda IED.

If al-Qaeda restarts the bloodbath now it will be clear to all it was not due to Americans – it will be the fault and crime of al-Qaeda. Once this peace began to take hold al-Qaeda lost its ability to use terrorism as a tactic in Iraq. I have noted already public calls by other Islamists for al-Qaeda to stop all actions in Arab/Muslim countries (see here and here and here). The reason is clear, if al-Qaeda taints Islamic Extremism as butchers of Muslims then all of them our going to be out of business (if not hanging from ropes in public squares around the Middle East).

The problem the left and media have had in understanding Iraq is pure arrogance. And I must ding some of the more thoughtful websites who address the terrorism threat for an inkling of the same. And I want to judiciously use a mea culpa from one of these sites I admire to illustrate my point (hopefully the folks there will understand I am trying to be constructive – in my usual blunt and brutal way).

Dr. George Friedman at StratFor has put up an excellent post that discusses how their view of Iraq’s potential future was wrong – they predicted some kind of forced alliance with Iran. It is a sign the folks ARE respectable and worthy analysts since they took the effort to assess their own positions and focus their powerful analytical skills upon themselves to see where they went wrong. And I want to add my meager viewpoints to their own self solid assessment:

Until last Spring, our view was that there would be a political settlement with Iran and that that would be triggered by Iranian perception of the surge. During the summer, we saw signs that the Iranians had concluded that the surge was failing and that they were looking forward to the Petraeus report admitting that. There was a great deal of pressure on Petraeus from senior Army officers to issue a negative report. We are certain the Iranians expected one. We did too. Therefore we shifted out analysis away from a settlement and started talking about redeployment.

Petraeus surprised us with his positive report, which ran counter to the National Intelligence Estimate, and which called for holding the general position. We understood his choice as a holding action designed to block Iranian domination of Iraq, accepting the cost of the mission as the price that had to be paid to force a negotiations.

We did not see that Petraeus had, in addition to the military strategy, a plan to bring a series of negotiations with the Sunnis to fruition. We knew they had been going on for a while and had not really come to fruition. We did not expect this to be a main element in his strategy.

That’s the point where we went wrong. We saw the holding action, we did not see his accompanying political action, which kicked off a series of chain reactions that reached in to the Shiite community.

Actually, the mistake was worse than that. It is the same mistake the news media is making now when claiming there is no reconciliation going on when there is. Reconciliation is being done without laws to mandate it. It is being done but in a manner that the far left will not or does not recognize. There is oil revenue sharing and de-facto de-baathification. The Iraqis knew it was needed and are doing it. The arrogance from the West is in the thinking no good can be done without a law to make it happen. So the fact is their premise is wrong because they don’t or can’t see all the forces at work. The Iraqis are coming together in many ways. Laws on books are irrelevant to the actions and changes taking place. If your analysis requires a law on the books to recognize the forces at work in Iraq your analysis is crap.

Similarly with StratFor’s analysis, they failed to take into account Iraqi initiative and efforts. They looked to Patraeus’ efforts alone. Patraeus is an opportunist – as all good military and counter-insurgency people are. He would not announce a goal or an effort if it was tenuous – but he would exploit it. The problem many people have had in assessing which way Iraq would go is they left too many variables out of the equations. Easy to see but driving variables. Initiative by the Iraqis to accelerate the path to success is the missing piece of many of the analyses I see out there. People naively assume nothing can be done by the Iraqis themselves. Bad assumption.

The reason I was so confident back in March the Surge would work was because Sunnis and al-Qaeda were already at each others throats. Sunnis knew if they turned on al-Qaeda they would be risking all they desired when they made the alliance with al-Qaeda in the first place. The fact they turned on their fellow Muslims and allied with the Great Satan meant al-Qaeda was more brutal than most human beings would care to imagine. It was the tipping point – it was when Iraqis took the iniative in a different direction, towards a different outcome.

Once the line was crossed there was no going back. Since al-Qaeda required Iraqi Muslim support to survive in Iraq the die was caste back then – al-Qaeda was going to lose and lose big. These were Iraqi driven changes. American leaders could hope for them, but they could not make them happen or predict with assurance they would happen. But they did happen.

One thing the media and many people have stated (including myself) is Iraq would have to be won by the Iraqis themselves. Well folks, the Iraqis have stood up with us and won it. They deserve a big congratulations for what they did. And they have probably done more to protect themselves in this act than all the US military equipment in the world. As I said al-Qaeda dare not send this Arab Muslim country of Iraq back into bloodshed. They cannot. Because if they did, this time it would literally be a noose around their necks.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Why I See Victory Is At Hand In Iraq”

  1. Neo says:

    It’s too much for Copperheads like Reid and Pelosi to apologize for their “Valladigham platform”. One hundred and forty years ago, they would have been just as happy to leave the Negroes in slavery in exchange for “peace” as they are today to leave anyone not as white or privileged as themselves in tyranny.

  2. Terrye says:

    I think Patraeus should get Man of the Year.

    Ed Morrisey made the point that the NYT owed the man an apology for pretty much calling him a liar a couple of months ago. That won’t happen.