The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Winning the War in Iraq; Losing it in Washington
To a military professional, the tactical progress made in Iraq over the last few months is impressive. To a member of Congress, it's an annoyance.
The herd animals on Capitol Hill - from both parties - just can't wait to go over the cliff on Iraq. And even when the media mention one or two of the successes achieved by our troops, the reports are grudging.
Yet what's happening on the ground, right now, in Baghdad and in Iraq's most-troubled provinces, contributes directly to your security. In the words of a senior officer known for his careful assessments, al Qaeda's terrorists in Iraq are "on their back foot and we're trying to knock them to their knees."
Do our politicians really want to help al Qaeda regain its balance?
Gen. David Petraeus and his deputies sharply prioritized the threats we face in Iraq: Al Qaeda is No. 1, and Iran's Shia proxies are No. 2. Our troops hunt them relentlessly. And we don't face our enemies alone: Iraq's security forces have begun to pick up their share of the fight.
A trusted source in Baghdad confirmed several key developments that've gone largely unreported. Here's what's been happening while "journalists" focused on John Edwards' haircuts:
* Al Qaeda lost the support of Iraq's Sunni Arabs. The fanatics over-reached: They murdered popular sheiks, kidnapped tribal women for forced marriages, tried to outlaw any form of joy and (perhaps most fatally, given Iraqi habits) banned smoking. In response, the Arab version of the Marlboro Man rose up and started cutting terrorist throats.
* Since the tribes who once were fighting against us turned on al Qaeda, our troops not only captured the senior Iraqi in the organization - which made brief headlines - but also killed the three al Turki brothers, major-league pinch-hitters al Qaeda sent into Iraq to save the game.
Oh, and it emerged that the Iraqi "head" of the terrorists was just a front - in the words of one Army officer, Omar al Baghdadi was "a Wizard of Oz-like creation designed to give an impression that al Qaeda has Iraqis in its senior ranks."
* Al Qaeda has been pushed right across Anbar, from the once Wild West to the province's eastern fringes. The terrorists are still dug in elsewhere, from the Diyala River Valley to a few Baghdad neighborhoods - but, to quote that senior officer again, "our forces have been taking out their leaders faster than they can find qualified replacements."
Even the Democrats yearning to become president admit, when pressed, that al Qaeda's a threat to America. So why didn't even one of them praise the success of our troops during their last debate?