Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Best Reason to Get Rid of al Qaeda? Al Qaeda

Even the Democrats are conceding that things are looking better in Iraq. The reason that they are better is that as time goes on, more Iraqis see that the US Military has much more integrity than al Qaeda.

Even though accidental deaths are higher for the month of August, the death rate is still about that of July--part of a lower trend of US military deaths. Even considering the large scale killing in the otherwise peaceful northern Iraq this month, civilian deaths are maintaining their downward trend. Democrats in the US Congress are conceding that we're making progress. Why is this?

First of all because the surge is working. The general populace is being treated with more respect by the US military. The insurgents are getting their butts kicked. But there's another reason.

As the smoke begins to clear from the surge, Iraqis are beginning to see a distinctive difference between the US Military and al Qaeda. You can trust one but not the other. Michael Yon, who currently resides in Al Anbar, puts it this way:

Ironically, in Anbar Al Qaeda has become our best ally for killing al Qaeda. They’ve managed to do this directly, just by being al Qaeda. Despite the promised carrots, what Al Qaeda consistently delivered here was mostly stick, and with a special kind of hypocritical contempt that no sensible person would believe possible. (Not unlike the notion of baking the children of resistant parents or ordering shepards to diaper the corrupting genitals of goats.)

Al Qaeda has a management style—doing drugs, laying up sloppy drunk, raping women and boys, and cutting off heads, all while imposing strict morality laws on the locals—that makes it clear that they have one set of principles for themselves, and another for every one else.

In that kind of scheme, it didn’t take long before people in Anbar realized that any benefits from Al Qaeda having control would not be distributed equally. Once that realization spread, the tribal sheiks—almost all Sunni—had to consider the alternatives.

With the success of General Petraeus's plan, even some of the bigger fish are trying to call a truce. Captain's Quarters noticed this interesting development.

Earlier today, the Italian news service AKI reported that the presumed leader of the largest insurgency in Iraq will start cooperating with the Iraqi government. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, one of the highest-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's government, reportedly pledged to work with Iraqi and American forces to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Things have been improving, and they continue to do so. But it looks like our counterinsurgency tactics, which have been bearing fruit for quite some time now, are reaching critical mass. Hopefully, future improvements will be larger and/or more frequent.

al Qaeda is no good. They are not good Muslims. The Iraqis are starting to notice this en masse. Even a couple of Democrats have as well. What happens if things continue to improve? Democrats asking for Bush to serve a third term?


rmwarnick said...

Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel, Frank? Or is General Petraeus correct, that we have to fight for at least ten more years. The Army can't do that without a massive reduction of troops in theater or else reinstatement of the draft, which brings other problems.

Frank Staheli said...

No I actually can't. Al Maliki is a loon, and it's hard to imagine political success in light of his cavorting with the Iranians.

But the people are seeing something at the end of the tunnel, and they're hoping it's the light of peace rather than an oncoming train.

We can't stay there forever, but I'm not sure how you thought that's what I was implying. All I'm saying is that things are improving. If we can get the people to elect a good government then things would really get better.

rmwarnick said...

It's hard for me to see how things are improving. The US military says Iraqi civilian casualties are down, but AP checked and found that in fact civilian casualties have doubled.

rmwarnick said...

The latest news: the Sunni Islamic Army has signed a ceasefire with Al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to spokesman Ibrahim al-Shammari.

“Bush foolishly announced to the world that all the Sunnis in Iraq were fighting Al-Qaeda so he could claim to have achieved a great victory,” Shammari said. “It’s nonsense.”

Frank Staheli said...

Interesting, his take that Americans have been spreading innuendo to inflame the conflict between Islamic Army and al Qaeda. You might be right.

Time will tell.