Friday, October 14, 2005
As Bay describes, we have succeeded broadly against virtually any measure of success, tangible and intangible:
However, smashing Al-Qaida's claim to act on behalf of "all Muslims" is far more complicated than killing or arresting terrorists. Undermining its megalomaniacal appeal meant exposing it as the inhuman, ungodly Mass Murder Inc. it is. The optimal outcome would be to expose Al-Qaida as a threat to Muslims and detrimental to the best ideals of Islam.If our sworn enemies are privately admitting they are failing in their aims and losing the battle for hearts and minds, the battle is nearly done. They have been crushed militarily, they still pose a threat to civilian and Iraqi governmental safety and security, but it closer to a nuisance level not uncommon in the developing world than any form of vital insurgency (if it ever was even remotely that). They think they still have a chance to snatch victory from defeat, Vietnam template style, and there are harmonious voices in the West who echo that assessment.
When Al-Qaida's zealots blow up trains in Spain or subways in London, those are attacks of their choosing conducted on "infidel terrain." The genius of the war in Iraq is a brutal but necessary form of strategic judo: It brought the War on Terror into the heart of the Middle East and onto Arab Muslim turf. In Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's theo-fascists have been spilling Arab blood, and Al Jazeera has noticed that, too.
Arabs have also seen the Iraqi people's struggle and their emerging political alternative to despotism and feudal autocracy.
Zarqawi's murder spree has revealed fissures among Al-Qaida fanatics. Last week, the United States released a letter coalition intelligence believes Al-Qaida's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, sent to Zarqawi. Zawahiri describes Iraq as "the greatest battle for Islam in our era." But Iraq has become a political and information battle that Zawahiri realizes Al-Qaida may be losing. According to The New York Times, Zawahiri told Zarqawi to attack Americans rather than Iraqi civilians and to "refrain from the kind of gruesome beheadings and other executions that have been posted on Al-Qaida websites. Those executions have been condemned in parts of the Muslim world as violating tenets of the faith."
In February 2004, Zarqawi acknowledged a democratic Iraqi state would mean defeat for Al-Qaida in Iraq. To defeat democracy, he has pursued a strategy of relentless, nihilistic bloodbath. It's a brutal irony of war: In doing so, he is losing the war for the hearts and minds.
Clear-eyed commentators grow increasingly convinced we have turned the corner and rack up real victories. At precisely this moment, the nay-sayers are rewriting the critical success factors for the effort, recasting the basis for the war, revising the measures of success, or restating the terms and conditions for withdrawal. That is, if they are not still shrilly screaming “quagmire” or “catastrophe.” You’d think our enemies had gathered to assess their bleak position, and put out word that information operations must launch an all-out assault on public perception before all is lost. Doesn’t it?
Smash at Indepundit has it best, I think:
We’re winning. We’re winning. We’re winning.Okay, that's an excerpt, read the whole thing.
On the eve of victory, we may yet pull back, if we listen to those voices determined to prove us wrong.
Links: Indepundit, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Hooah Wife
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