Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal in which I said we were winning the battle of Iraq. I came in for the usual derision from the anti-war crowd, which was desperately invested in our defeat in the Middle East, but the facts, as usual, were inescapable. It is very difficult for anyone to deny that things are very much better in Iraq, and the debate has now shifted to the consequences of the defeat of al Qaeda. Take a look at this piece, for example, from the “Guardian,” hardly suspect of being a mouthpiece for Bushhitlercheney:
Today’s Washington Times notes that there has been a significant drop in the number of “suicide attacks” in Iraq. And I am told that many of those recent attacks are actually conducted by remote-controlled vehicles, not by fervent martyrs-to-be. This suggests two things: Coalition forces are doing a better job patrolling the borders (especially the Syrian border, which has long been the route of choice for most of the terrorists), and the Islamic fascists are having increasing trouble recruiting young men and women to their ranks.
The defeat of al Qaeda cannot but shake the Islamofascist world. I have no doubt there are now serious ruptures within it, even though one or another alleged detail may be dubious. It must shake Tehran and Damascus as well, for they went all-out to drive us from Iraq. So this is also their defeat. It must therefore be heartening to the dissidents in Syria and Iran, who are constantly told by their oppressors that “America can’t do a damn thing,” that the Americans are losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the Mahdi will soon return to reign over a glorious imperial caliphate. Instead, the infidels and crusaders have smashed the several terrorist organizations funded, armed and trained by the mullahs, from al Qaeda to the Mahdi Army, the Taliban and Iraqi Hezbollah.
So this is another good moment to rally to the side of Iranian and Syrian dissidents, but nobody in the “Western world” has the stomach for it. We are still treading water with regard to our major enemies in the terror war. As I wrote last October,
Not a day goes by without one of our commanders shouting to the four winds that the Iranians are operating all over Iraq, and that virtually all the suicide terrorists are foreigners, sent in from Syria. We have done great damage to their forces on the battlefield, but they can always escalate, and we still have no policy to direct against the terror masters in Damascus and Tehran. That problem is not going to be resolved by sound counterinsurgency strategy alone, no matter how brilliantly executed.
There is still no strategy worthy of the name (unless you think sanctions will do the trick; I don’t), and they still get the first shot.
The longer we wait, the more lives will be lost, and the greater the cost will be. Which is, after all, why I keep saying “Faster, Please.”