Saturday, July 05, 2008
For your holiday reading pleasure, from a British newspaper:
American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.
After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul.
A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.
Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.
This victory occurred during a period of very low American casualties. Notwithstanding the operation against the jihadis in Mosul, we have now gone nine consecutive days without an American KIA (which, if memory serves, is the longest stretch without a single KIA since February 2004). The implication is obvious: Iraqis, not Americans, are now at the tip of the spear. That is evidence of a successful counterinsurgency.
MORE: A commenter notes that my memory failed. A quick scroll through iCasualties indicates that the last time we went nine days without a KIA in Iraq (although several deaths by non-hostile means) was May 2003.
Even in February 2004, the lowest month of casualties for years, there was no more than a 4 day period without casualties.
Iraq Coalition Casualties: February 2004
It will be interersting to see where this winds up in the New York Times. Choices:
A. Page 10 below the fold
B. Story held until the next American death.
C. No mention at all
I guess the best the Democrats can hope for is some other catastrophe to blame on the opposition.
I don't want to do any end-zone dances yet, but the current situation in Iraq reminds me of early 1865 or early 1945: the enemy still has plenty of fight in him and, I'm sorry to say, we'll suffer more casualties, ...but the ultimate outcome of the "contest" (as they used to say) is no longer in doubt.
A successful outcome in Iraq will be a "two-fer" by not only defeating Al-Qaeda but also the Iran/Syria axis on what they all considered to be their "home turf."
Perhaps this is why Syria is apparently now sending out peace feelers. The "Chinless Wonder" is an asshole, but he knows winners when he sees them.