Jul 31 2007
The left is stunned that (a) things are turning around in Iraq and (b) some prominent liberals noticed. Anybody paying attention to events on the ground instead of MSNBC’s emotional rants could see that for the last few months that more and more local Iraqi leaders were swearing on the Koran to fight al-Qaeda and remove them from what were their safe havens of operation. al-Qaeda had brutalized the populace so much that they became the great evil – not us. So two critics of the war got off their backsides and decided to see what was happening for themselves, and they came back with the stunning conclusion we can win in Iraq.
Apparently the leftward fringes, who hate to have their little fantasy worlds disturbed with reality, are all up in arms with these turncoats who did nothing more than REPORT what they saw. One truly hillarious example is a guy at Think Progress (as opposed to ‘Make Progress’ – this whole envisioning thing is quite funny) who cannot understand why the graphs and charts at the Brookings Institute are not in line with the NY Times Op-Ed (think ‘update’ dude!):
In todayâ€™s New York Times, Brookings analysts Michael Oâ€™Hanlon and Ken Pollack argue that â€œthe administrationâ€™s critics seem unaware of the significant changes taking placeâ€ as a result of the Presidentâ€™s surge strategy in Iraq.
Just last week â€” on July 26 â€” Oâ€™Hanlon published a starkly different assessment of the conditions in Iraq. In an updated edition of the Brookings Institute Iraq Index, he wrote:
First off, it is clear the trip out to Iraq showed something to O’Hanlon the graphs cannot show. Reading through the NY Times article we see these observations:
In war, sometimes itâ€™s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadrâ€™s Mahdi Army.
These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.
Our Einstein wannabe at Think (hard) Progress doesn’t address the resulting shift in allegiance in the Iraqi communities away from al-Qaeda – because he has no graph to show him the way. Without a graph our Think Einstein is lost. Additionally, if you look at the charts he uses it is clear the data doesn’t go all the way to July, as the observations of the recent visit by these two men clearly do. In other words, the data is not up to date with their observations. An ‘update’ will be coming I am sure.
Our little Einstein conflicts national data without noting the regional data in the areas of The Surge are indicative of The Surge’s effects. People in Iraq note the beginning of efforts to upgrade basic services and Einstein scratches his head wondering why this doesn’t show up yet in the data (give them a few months, this not The Jetsons with a instant-results button).
This is classic denial. This is grasping onto a lost cause. This is pathetic. al-Qaeda is now the bane of Iraq because their evil brutality and murderous ways are THAT repulsive. So repulsive Muslims are turning against them and their methods. So repulsive we dare not let them have a hint of a win. So repulsive any sane person would know success is mandatory. But there are no graphs to point the way for all us. For those who can only process what they want to see and hear we can only offer our pity. Fear of being wrong, for some, is more frightening than an emboldened al-Qaeda operating out of their bases in Iraq and targetting innocent people in America and Europe. That is a lot of insecurity to deal with.
Me, I prefer to deal with what is happening on the ground and not on graphs from a DC or NY think tank. This is the kind of story which was probably seen once a week a few months ago, but which is now daily fair:
Coalition forces have uncovered more insurgent weapons caches in the first six months of this year than the entire previous year, Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Monday.
The record number of seizures is due largely to a new U.S. strategy that has moved American forces off bases and into neighborhoods, generating more tips from civilians. Offensives have also disrupted insurgent sanctuaries, Petraeus said.
Tips have increased as the promise of eliminating al-Qaeda became real. As Sunni leaders pledged their lives to purge their areas of the sickness that is al-Qaeda, the people felt safe enough to turn the tables on those who tortured and killed them under al-Qaeda. We are winning this war. I have been saying it for months because what happened in Anbar Province months ago was clearly sign of broad changes. Anbar was the prime al-Qaeda safe haven. For it to turn meant forces were at work that were powerful, if not clearly evident. The fact this repulsion of al-Qaeda has swept a nation suffering from al-Qaeda’s daily mass murders is, in hindsight, not surprising at all. But to some young Einstein’s wannabes they keep looking at 2006 data and wondering what changed? Our fortunes changed.