How to win in Iraq
The story of Iraq after 2003 was very depressing.
America and Britain got rid of the oppressor of the Iraqi people,
and instead of gratefully building a new nation,
Iraqi killers began instead to slaughter innocents.
Tens of thousands of people,
most of them Muslim Iraqi civilians,
were killed by hate-filled Sunni and Shia jihadists
It is a true story of shame - not shame on America,
but shame on the Iraqis
and on much of the Islamic world that cheered on the killing.
It was unbearably depressing that the Iraqis didn't seize perhaps their only
chance for freedom
in this lifetime.
One was at many times inclined to just give up
on the Arabs,
and say they aren't ready for democracy,
and the allies will have to try again in 30 years.
Bush was urged by all sides (left and "realist" right) to give up, to
to the Iraqi jihad, civil war and genocide.
Leave in humiliation, as in Vietnam.
Ensure it was all for nothing.
But Bush did not listen.
War is a struggle of will,
and Bush "went long"
and won the war.
It turned out there were a finite
number of jihadis willing to kill and die for their evil cause.
- The West loses momentum, after 2004
Why Iraq Is Crumbling
by Charles Krauthammer, November 17, 2006
- "We have given the Iraqis a republic, and they do not appear able to keep it."
He thinks the US has made errors:
"not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away,
and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004"
But ultimately the Iraqis have failed to seize their great gift of freedom:
"Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture."
He refuses to concede yet that Arabs can't do democracy:
"the problem here is Iraq's particular political culture,
raped and ruined by 30 years of Hussein's totalitarianism.
What was left in its wake was a social desert,
a dearth of the trust and good will and sheer human capital required for democratic governance."
(like all of Iraq's hawkish friends in the West)
thinks prime minister
is corrupt and useless, unable to take on the Shia militias,
and part of the problem rather than part of the solution
in the sectarian civil war.
It may be that this insurgency is simply a war of attrition
- if America does not give up, then the jihad will simply give up
and move on to other battlefields,
as they did in Algeria
It may be that the allies simply need to convince the jihadis that
they will never give up
and then the jihadis will leave Iraq alone, and abandon the fight.
Only years of western resolve can do this - and the Democrats must support this
Iraqi general rallies Fallujah elders to support U.S. Marines
Talking about the Americans, he says:
"We can make them
use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country, it's your choice.
They were brought here by the acts of one coward who was hunted out of a rathole
- Saddam - who disgraced us all.
Let us tell our children that these men came here to protect us.
As President Bush said, they did not come here to occupy our land but to get rid of Saddam.
We can help them leave by helping them do their job,
or we can make them stay ten years and more by keeping fighting."
Washington War Wobbles: No Time For Doubt
by Amir Taheri
- "The nationwide anti-American insurrection promised by media headlines just a week ago has not happened.
Iraq is not about to disintegrate. Nor is it on the verge of civil war.
Despite becoming the focus of anti-American energies in the past year,
it is one of the few places in the Middle East where the United States still enjoys goodwill.
Notwithstanding the forebodings of doom coming from "experts" who know nothing of Iraq,
the newly liberated nation could, as President Bush has promised, become a model of democratization
for other Arabs. Iraq will be won or lost not in Baghdad or Najaf or Fallujah,
but in Washington."
Our Reptilian Brains, Victor Davis Hanson, May 28, 2004,
on people's inability to stay the course, to be patient,
to not panic with every setback.
"A majority of Americans, like a majority of mankind, does not embrace
a strong particular ideology that keeps them levelheaded and always resolute through
either bad or good news. Most simply wish to win, and to be identified with a winner
- they are as giddy with success as they are dejected with disappointment
The truth is that for all our education, nuance, and professed idealism,
too many of us think and act with our limbic systems, which are hard-wired to
appreciate perceived success and feel comfortable with consensus.
Our leaders should remember this volatility. In the long run, of course,
the present strategy is sound and in a decade will be judged as such by historians.
How could it not be sound to remove a mass murderer who posed a threat to the region
and our country and then sponsor a consensual government in his place?"
The Unwinnable War
by Jeremy Brown,
January 26, 2005
- The insurgency will fail because the Iraqi people don't want it.
The "resistance" are doomed,
they are dying for nothing,
and they should give up now.
- Map the Fallen
(Google Earth maps)
- Noemie Emery,
October 25, 2004,
on persisting, on staying the course.
Is a thousand American deaths too much in Iraq?
Should America give up now?
- Bush may have made some errors, but
"His missteps in Iraq are about par for the course for the start of a big, serious war
against vicious opponents, under conditions not quite seen before."
She reminds us of the Allied disasters of World War Two
(and indeed, any war).
"in a training exercise days before D-Day, British and American forces lost
nearly as many forces as have already died in Iraq
to mistakes and confusion. Churchill and Roosevelt did not apologize, nor did their generals.
Nobody stateside complained."
- US soldiers killed per year:
- World War Two - 100,000 / year
- Korea - 20,000 / year
- Vietnam - 5,000 / year
- Iraq -
750 / year
600 / year
the rest in accidents etc.)
The Vietnam War had a draft, and had almost 10 times the kill rate of Iraq
(which rather explains why opposition to the Vietnam War was much stronger than
opposition to the Iraq War).
- In summary, the Iraq death rate
would be an impossible dream to anybody who ever had to fight a major war before
(appalling though it is that anyone at all has to die to defeat the jihad).
- As for Afghanistan,
far from being the "quagmire" that was predicted,
the War on Afghanistan hardly seems to count as a war at all, by historical terms:
- US soldiers killed per year:
- Another interesting comparison
is with the other "western" power to fight the jihad:
- Russian soldiers killed per year:
The jihad is not undefeatable.
It can and will lose.
The jihad won in Afghanistan against the Russians,
lost in Afghanistan against the US,
lost in Chechnya,
and the jihad will lose in Iraq - not least because the Iraqi people don't support it.
It is tragic that any brave American has to die to stop the Iraq jihad.
But it cannot be stopped by any other means.
Richard Waghorne on the 2,000th US death in Iraq
(or via here)
and the sneers of the left as they hope to bring the troops home in failure
and thus make their sacrifice a waste.
"What marks out much criticism of the Iraq War as singularly objectionable is the spirit in which it is offered.
The disdain and sneering tone of a shockingly large section of the anti-war lobby
... is directly relevant. If critics believe that Iraq is lost, that counsel should be offered in sorrow, not in triumph.
There are no winners if that judgment proves correct, none bar al-Qaeda and their allies.
If critics believe that there was not warrant to intervene, that argument should be made with due respect
for the nobility of the ideal attempted and the commitment of the fallen.
The 2,000 are not a rhetorical device. They are 2,000 volunteers in the service of freedom half-away around the world.
The war in Iraq is not lost, but something crucial to the health of free societies is perhaps in large part lost
- respect for the valour of those who serve, commitment to those elsewhere striving to create a free society
and a collective willingness to make the sacrifices freedom entails."
- Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
- U.S. troops death rate during the brief war to depose Saddam in 2003 - 1500/year.
- U.S. troops death rate since the war - between 1000/year and
- Brave Iraqi allied troops and police
fighting for democracy
(the real "freedom fighters" in Iraq)
- 3500/year (3500 dead in 2005).
- For comparison, U.S. troops had 850 dead in 2005.
The brave Iraqi democrats are fighting for their country,
dying at a rate 4 times the U.S. troops.
Service in Iraq: Just How Risky?,
August 26, 2006.
- Death rate of military personnel in Iraq, 2003-6:
3.92 deaths per 1000 people per year.
- Death rate of U.S. population as a whole is, amazingly, higher:
8.42 deaths per 1000 people per year.
But that includes the elderly, etc.
- Death rate for U.S. men age 18 to 39 is lower (one should hope so!):
1.53 deaths per 1000 people per year.
- Death rate for African American men age 20 to 34 in Philadelphia is,
4.37 deaths per 1000 people per year.
For a young black man in Philadelphia, it is safer to go to Iraq
than to stay at home.
- For comparison, death rate in Vietnam:
21.95 deaths per 1000 people per year.
- Being US President is riskier than serving in a major war:
- Death rate for
= 100 percent (1000 deaths per 1000 people) in
1841, 1850, 1865, 1881,
1901, 1923, 1945, 1963,
and 0 percent (0 deaths per 1000 people) in all other years since 1789.
For all of 1789-2008, that's a death rate of:
36.53 deaths per 1000 people per year.
More recently, for 1945-2008, the death rate is:
31.75 deaths per 1000 people per year.
- American political assassinations
- The assassination of JFK
The entire War on Islamist Terror has been one of America's smallest ever wars.
It may be that "going long",
staying the course, is not enough,
because Bush has simply not engaged
with some of his enemies
within Iraq (al-Sadr and the Shiite militias)
and outside (Iran and Syria).
As long as these hostile enemies can kill,
and fund and arm killers, in Iraq with impunity,
the violence will never end.
Maybe it is impossible and unrealistic
to expect Iraqi freedom to flower
in the shadow of the aggressive, unreformed and emboldened terror states of Iran and Syria.
These states need to be at the very least deterred.
Destroy the militias
- Muqtada al-Sadr, and the sectarian Shia militias
Iran, Hezbollah support al-Sadr, April 07, 2004
- Iran understands
the threat that a free, democratic Iraq would pose
to their tyranny.
- "Iran does not want a success in Iraq.
A democratic Iraq is a death knell to the
KILL MUQTADA NOW,
October 26, 2006.
- Ralph Peters expresses my thoughts exactly.
He's telling Bush how to win, but Bush won't listen.
Bush did not kill
when he first emerged in 2003,
and now he's got a war of
sectarian death squads
as a result.
It's not too late to kill Muqtada.
- "Iraq deserves one last chance. But to make that chance even remotely viable,
we'll have to take desperate measures. We need to fight. And accept the consequences.
The first thing we need to do is to kill Muqtada al-Sadr,
who's now a greater threat to our strategic goals than Osama bin Laden.
We should've killed him in 2003, when he first embarked upon his murder campaign.
But our leaders were afraid of provoking riots.
Back then, the tumult might've lasted a week.
Now we'll face a serious uprising. So be it.
When you put off paying war's price, you pay compound interest in blood."
- "We must kill - not capture - Muqtada, then kill every gunman who comes out in the streets to avenge him.
Our policy of all-carrots-no-sticks has failed miserably.
We delivered Iraq to zealots, gangsters and terrorists. Now our only hope is to prove that we mean business - that the era of peace, love and wasting American lives is over.
And after we've killed Muqtada and destroyed his Mahdi Army, we need to go after the Sunni insurgents.
If we can't leave a democracy behind, we should at least leave the corpses of our enemies.
The holier-than-thou response to this proposal is predictable: "We can't kill our way out of this situation!" Well, boo-hoo.
Friendly persuasion and billions of dollars haven't done the job. Give therapeutic violence a chance.
There's still a chance, if a slight one, that we can achieve a few of our goals in Iraq -
if we let our troops make war, not love. But if our own leaders are unwilling to fight, it's time to leave and let Iraqis fight each other.
Our president owes
Iraq's treacherous prime minister
Get tough, or get out."
November 15, 2006.
- Ignore the Iraqi government.
Kill the militias now.
"That means killing the bad guys. Not winning their hearts and minds, placating them or bringing them into the government. Killing them.
If you're not willing to lay down a rule that any Iraqi or foreign terrorist masquerading as a security official or military member will be shot, you can't win.
If we want to give Iraq's silent - and terrified - majority a last chance,
we would have to accept the world's condemnation for killing the killers.
If we are unwilling to do that, Iraq's finished."
Hurt Iran and Syria
It is entirely in the interests of the terrorist regimes of Iran and Syria
to keep the violence going
and keep Iraq in chaos.
For if a stable Iraqi democracy emerged,
their own people might want the same.
So it is no surprise that Iran and Syria are materially supporting
the anti-American jihadi "resistance"
and both sides
of the Sunni-Shiite sectarian civil war.
Making Iran and Syria pay a price for stoking the violence in Iraq
need not mean full-scale war, invasion and regime change.
All that needs to be done is to hurt them hard to make them think again
about this fight.
Put them on the defensive.
Bomb cross-border training camps.
Sink their ships.
Help Israel bomb Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Destroy Hezbollah, and support the Lebanon democratic revolution.
Put Iran and Syria on the defensive again, as they were in 2003,
and press their regimes to the wall.
- Iran and Syria's support for the Iraqi resistance
- Iran and Syria next
The Road to Victory Goes Through Tehran
by Robert W. Tracinski (May 20, 2003).
- "President Bush called the military victory in Iraq "the turning of the tide"
in the War on Terrorism. That may be true, but the tide won't stay with us
- or carry us to victory
- until we are willing to take the war to Tehran and topple the most important
material and ideological supporter of Islamic terrorism."
The war against terror can be won only if we have the will,
by Michael Ledeen, 20 Aug 2003
- The Islamofascists of Iran, Syria and
Saudi Arabia are at war with:
"anyone who tries to
make Iraq a free and successful country. The terror
masters know that they would not survive successful
democratic revolution on their doorsteps, because their
own people would demand their own freedom."
- Wider War
by Ralph Peters, 9 Apr 2004
- "Iran and Syria are at war with the United States.
In Iraq. Now.
Washington refuses to admit it."
"Iran, Syria and al Qaeda share one common goal:
Preventing the emergence of a free Iraq. They want to stop
democracy and social liberty dead in their tracks.
And they're willing to throw in all their reserves to do it."
The Iran We Cannot Avoid, Michael Ledeen, January 2, 2007
- "We cannot 'solve' the Iraqi problem without regime change in Iran.
We are in a big war, and we cannot fight it by playing defense in Iraq. That is a sucker's game.
In passing, it follows from this that the entire debate over more or less troops in Iraq, surge or no surge,
Baghdad or Anbar Province, all of it begs the central question.
As long as Iran and their appendage in Damascus have a free shot at us, all these stratagems are doomed."
To Win in Baghdad, Strike at Tehran, Robert Tracinski, January 04, 2007
- "An internal Pentagon review of the war, requested by Bush as part of his attempt to sidestep
the Iraq Study Group, has considered three options: "go big," "go long," or "go home."
But there is another, far more effective option: go wide.
Going wide means recognizing that Iraq is just one front in a regional war against an Islamist Axis centered in Iran
- and we cannot win that war without confronting the enemy directly, outside of Iraq."
The war against the free world, Melanie Phillips, January 5, 2007
- "In order to win in Iraq, it is essential to defeat Iran.
I have never understood how anyone could think that you can win a war by
refusing to fight the aggressors
and instead running around trying vainly to put out the fires they are starting."
US cross-border raid on Syria, Oct 2008.
- Ralph Peters
Ralph Peters, 2003
The Bush administration would do well to re-read these rules.
The clarity and strength they had in 2001-3
needs to be recovered.
- These rules also apply to Israel and its fight for survival.
- Some of the rules:
- 2. "Identify the type of terrorists you face
... "Apocalyptic" terrorists, no matter their rhetoric, seek your destruction
and must be killed to the last man. The apt metaphor is "cancer";
you cannot hope for success if you only cut out part of the tumor."
- 3. "Do not be afraid to be powerful.
... Our great strengths are wealth and raw power. When we fail to bring those strengths to bear,
we contribute to our own defeat. For a superpower to "think small,"
which has been our habit in the last decade (at least), is self-defeating folly.
Our responses to terrorist acts should make the world gasp!"
- 9. "When in doubt, hit harder than you think necessary. Success will be forgiven.
Even the best-intentioned failure will not."
- 10. "Whenever legal conditions permit, kill terrorists on the spot
(do not give them a chance to surrender, if you can help it)."
- 14. "Do not allow third parties to broker a peace, a truce, or any pause in operations."
- 17. "Whenever possible, humiliate your enemy in the eyes of his own people.
Do not try to use reasonable arguments against him.
Shame him publicly, in any way you can. Create doubt where you cannot excite support.
Most apocalyptic terrorists, especially, come from cultures of male vanity.
Disgrace them at every opportunity."
- 20. "Never declare victory."
- 22. "Do everything possible to make terrorists and their active supporters live in terror themselves.
Do not be distracted by the baggage of the term "assassination." This is a war. The enemy, whether a hijacker or a financier, violates the laws of war by his refusal to wear a uniform and by purposely targeting civilians. He is, by definition, a war criminal. On our soil, he is either a spy or a saboteur, and not entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Those who abet terrorists must grow afraid to turn out the lights and go to sleep."
Lunch in the White House with George, Irwin Stelzer, The Sunday Times, March 4, 2007.
Lists Andrew Roberts'
lessons of history for the modern conflict:
- Do not set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq.
- Will trumps wealth.
- Don't hesitate to intern your enemies for long periods.
- Cling to the alliance of the English-speaking peoples.
12 Myths of 21st-Century War, Ralph Peters, November 2007
"Unaware of the cost of freedom and served by leaders without military expertise, Americans have started to believe whatever's comfortable"
His myths include:
- Myth: War doesn't change anything.
"Our enemies believe that war can change the world. And they won't be deterred by bumper stickers."
- Myth: Victory is impossible today.
"victory looked a great deal less likely in the early months of 1942 than it does against our enemies today."
- Myth: Insurgencies can never be defeated.
"Historically, fewer than one in 20 major insurgencies succeeded."
- Myth: There's no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
"It would be a welcome development if negotiations fixed the problems we face in Iraq, but we're the only side interested in a negotiated solution. Every other faction - the terrorists, Sunni insurgents, Shia militias, Iran and Syria - is convinced it can win."
- Myth: When we fight back, we only provoke our enemies.
- Myth: Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs.
"Zarqawi's dead and forgotten by his own movement, whose members never invoke that butcher's memory. And no one is fighting to avenge Saddam. The harsh truth is that when faced with true fanatics, killing them is the only way to end their influence."
- Myth: The United States is more hated today than ever before.
- Myth: If we just leave, the Iraqis will patch up their differences on their own.
"The point may come at which we have to accept that Iraqis are so determined to destroy their own future that there's nothing more we can do. But we're not there yet, and leaving immediately would guarantee not just one massacre but a series of slaughters and the delivery of a massive victory to the forces of terrorism."
- Myth: The Saudis are our friends.
"Saudi extremism has done far more damage to the Middle East than Israel ever did. The Saudis are our enemies."
- Myth: The Middle East's problems are all America's fault.
"The collapse of once great Middle Eastern civilizations has been under way for more than five centuries, and the region became a backwater before the United States became a country."
How 268 Terrorist Groups Worldwide Ended, 1968-2006.
From RAND report,
How Terrorist Groups End
Terrorists, it turns out, are not invincible.
90 percent of terror groups eventually give up in defeat
get absorbed into politics.
Only 10 percent achieve victory.
Religious terrorists like jihadis fare the worst.
No religiously motivated group achieved victory in the entire study.
Strange as it may seem, in any given theatre the jihad will eventually give up
if it is fought for long enough.
The jihad simply gave up in Algeria, Israel, and now apparently Iraq.
All those young fanatic Islamic jihadis died (and killed innocents) for nothing.
Bill Roggio's estimates
Light red - where al Qaeda can operate.
Dark red - controlled by al Qaeda.
See original hi-res image
- The signs of victory:
- The 2007 "troops surge"
- the US shows it's not going to give up.
- Muqtada al-Sadr goes quiet
as he tries to stay alive.
- The "Anbar Awakening"
- the Sunni slow learners finally realise that Al Qaeda is their enemy.
- The liberation of Ramadi
What I see every day in Iraq: locals turning against the insurgents, Michael Totten, December 2nd 2007,
on the clearing of the jihadis from Fallujah.
"Not one Marine from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment has even been wounded since they rotated into the city two months ago.
No insurgent can plant an IED without getting turned in by war-weary civilians.
Fallujah was once the backbone of the insurgency. Today, .. "They avoid Fallujah now like it's the plague. ... They're afraid of the Iraqis."
Another Iraqi who works as a money changer told me, "They are finished. It will be a shame on all of us if the terrorists ever come back." "
- Bin Laden worried
about Iraq situation:
"In closing, I tell our people in Iraq, the patient ones garrisoned on the first line of the religion and sanctities of the Muslims: the malice has increased and the darkness has become pitch black"
Al Qaeda in Iraq documents,
captured November 2007,
describe a large number of fighters deserting their cause
to join the Sunni tribes.
"There are very few tribe members who stood by us".
"describes an Al Qaeda in crisis, with citizens growing weary of militants' presence and foreign fighters too eager to participate in suicide missions rather than continuing to fight".
"We lost cities and afterward, villages ... We find ourselves in a wasteland desert."
Sharp drop in suicide bombings in late 2007
Al Qaeda routed out of Baghdad
"Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated"
"the military agrees but is understandably paranoid about declaring victory over AQI prematurely".
- Is Iraq getting better?, 11 November 2007.
"There is no part of Baghdad in which al-Qaeda has a stronghold any more".
On the Mehdi Army:
"Many of the leaders have been arrested or killed by the Americans. Others have fled."
- Iraqis may finally be getting disillusioned with maniac religious killers.
"I hate Islam and all the clerics".
"The religion men are liars. Young people don't believe them."
"People have lost too much. They say to the clerics and the parties: You cost us this."
"They have changed their views about religion. They started to hate religious men. They make jokes about them because they feel disgusted by them."
"I used to love Osama bin Laden. .. Now I hate Islam."
"The sheiks are making a society of nonbelievers."
Its Own Worst Enemy: Al-Qaeda in Iraq's Islamo-puritanism sealed its doom, Deroy Murdock, July 15, 2008.
"Rank-and-file Iraqis tasted life under bin Laden-style Islam, and they gagged. They responded by collaborating with American and Coalition forces to expel these mad zealots from their midst."
Foreign fighters have become disillusioned with jihad in Iraq and have begun to exit the theater.
"Foreign militants constitute about 10% of al-Qaeda's strength in Iraq, but .. a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq
said they make up about 90% of the suicide bombers."
Iraqi government finally takes on Al-Sadr's Shia militias.
lists the "Iraqi surge" of 2008 (the Iraqi government taking on all the militias).
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq says Al-Qaida in Iraq has never been closer to defeat, May 2008.
Attacks have dropped to the lowest rate since 2004.
As a comment puts it:
"we better hurry up and unconditionally retreat before we win".
The CIA has declared that al-Qaeda is virtually defeated in Iraq, May 2008.
In April, 75 Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police were killed, the lowest level since November 2004.
Moqtada al-Sadr's sectarian Shia death squads destroyed.
"Iraqi intelligence reports suggest the group's numbers have dwindled from around 50,000 to as few as 150 in the past few years.
An Iraqi intelligence official reports
as many as 2,000 Mehdi Army fighters were killed in recent operations in Basra, Sadr City and the provincial capital of Maysan, Amarah."
Even Al Guardian thinks America may be winning in Iraq! June 2008.
"Western intelligence agencies estimate that the number of foreign fighters is down to single figures each month.
The Islamic State of Iraq claimed 334 operations in November 2006 but just 25 a year later. Attacks dropped from 292 in May 2007 to 16 by mid-May this year."
As a comment says, America should keep it up, even escalate to finish them off:
"The simple truth is this. When you kill enough of the people who were trying to kill you and yours then they stop trying to kill you and try to preserve what they have left. That's the way all successful wars end.
Keep killing them, boys!"
Michael Yon, 14 July 2008:
"the war has ended. ... What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed ... the Iraq War is over. We won."
Michael J. Totten looks at the figures:
All attacks are at their lowest level in 4 years.
Civilian deaths are down almost 90 percent since the surge.
High profile attacks are down by 80 percent in the same time period.
American and Iraqi soldiers suffer far fewer casualties than they have for years.
Ethno-sectarian deaths from Iraq's civil war plunged to zero in May and June 2008.
- Brian Glyn Williams, July 21, 2008,
on how the jihadis are giving up on Iraq and moving on to other fronts:
"The Anbar Awakening really broke the hearts of a lot of al-Qaeda followers
who saw the jihad in Iraq in black-and-white terms. Sunni Arab al-Qaeda were pushed out by fellow Sunni Arabs.
Iraq is seen as a defeat.
The image of Afghanistan is seen as a more pristine jihad."
Leaders of Al Qaeda in Iraq reported as fleeing Iraq, July 2008.
They are fleeing to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"We do believe al-Qaida is doing some measure of re-assessment regarding the continued viability of its fight in Iraq and whether Iraq should remain the focus of its efforts."
Looks like they're giving up.
- Al-Sadr reported as giving up, Aug 2008.
Iraqi provincial elections held with no major violence, Jan 2009.
See moving report.
The jihad couldn't even manage a single successful mass killing of voters at a polling station.
The fascist resistance is over, and they have lost. Hard luck lefties. Your heroes lost. They failed. They gave up. They killed for nothing - for a worthless cause that has simply been abandoned.
The number of attacks in Iraq has dropped 85% over the past 2 years (as at Sept 2009).
- This really now looks like victory
- a devastating, humiliating defeat for the global jihad.
If so, the world should celebrate it.
The jihad must be humiliated.
We must point out that tens of thousands of jihadi idiots gave their lives for nothing.
They killed innocents for nothing.
They could have had families and happy lives.
But instead they threw away their young lives for an ideology of hatred
that was going nowhere.
The jihad must be humiliated.
It must look like yesterday's revolution, like an old idea.
And then young men will think twice before joining a losing cause.
- And if victory comes, if democracy comes to Iraq,
then the Iranian revolution will end,
and there will be hope at last for the Middle East.
Operation Phantom Strike: How the U.S. military is demolishing al Qaeda in Iraq, Mario Loyola, 3 Sept 2007,
claims that Al Qaeda in Iraq are losing:
"Al Qaeda in Iraq had many initial advantages
- including a message that, though false, was superficially appealing. But they never achieved national scope. They have never looked to anyone like they could actually govern a country. They never gained the open support of any foreign army.
And now, after giving the people of Iraq a taste of their brutal sadism
- after executing children for playing with American-donated soccer balls, after chopping the fingers off young men for smoking, after murdering entire families in front of the youngest son, so he would live to tell the tale - Al Qaeda in Iraq is more widely hated than feared.
In the words of one soft-spoken coalition planner in Baghdad, "We are demolishing them." After four long years, the coalition has finally grasped the keys to victory. Al Qaeda has begun to lose the staging areas it needs for attacks in Baghdad. Just staying alive and avoiding capture is becoming a full-time occupation for them."
How we've won the war in Iraq, Bartle Bull, The Sunday Times, September 30, 2007
- The justice of the cause:
"By any normal ethical standard, the coalition's current project in Iraq is a just one. Britain, America and Iraq's other allies are there as the guests of an elected government given a huge mandate by Iraqi voters under a legitimate constitution.
The United Nations approved the coalition's role in May 2003 and the mandate has been renewed annually since then, most recently this August. Meanwhile, the other side in this war are among the worst people in global politics: Ba'athists, the Nazis of the Middle East; Sunni fundamentalists, the chief opponents of progress in Islam's struggle with modernity; and the government of Iran. Ethically, causes do not come much clearer than this one."
- But not only is the cause just.
He also argues that the war is being won, and the enemy is failing.
Leader of the Anbar Awakening offers his help
in effort against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
"Al Qaeda is an ideology. We can defeat them inside Iraq and we can defeat them in any country."
On Bush he said:
"He is a brave man. He is also a wise man. He is taking care of the country's future, the United States' future. He is also taking care of the Iraqi people, the ordinary people in Iraq."
Iraqis lead final purge of Al-Qaeda, The Sunday Times, July 6, 2008.
"1,200 fighters [remain] from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000"
"The overall number of attacks in Iraq has fallen by 80% in the past year alone."
- The comments to the first article above are worth reading.
All-out war between the
lefties sneering at this victory
and those on the right who celebrate it and the allied troops and political leadership that made it happen.
- Comments point out that thousands of jihadis are dead
and there have been no major attacks in the US since 2001.
"we drew them to the killing fields of Iraq and they fell for the invite."
"So, while the war has had its problems, it did effectively bring the nut jobs into one concentrated location, so we could mow them down. And, likely discouraging many others from bothering to become terrorists".
- Could this be true:
"As an army man and a master of history I will say that the invasion of Iraq will be viewed in the future as one of the greatest strategic moves of all time. You took a disperse enemy and got him to mass his forces in one spot."
- And one states the obvious (yet so rarely heard):
Even if the US made some errors,
"Why do we blame the Americans? Did they ask Al Qaeda to enter Iraq ... supply them weapons? There is no moral symmetry. It's the Al Qaeda Muslim Jihadist that are making war."
Exactly. Blame the jihadi scum, not Bush.
This war since 2003 was their idea, not his.
- Hot Air:
"AQ has sustained an unmitigated defeat in Iraq. They have lost tens of thousands of recruits and fighters, men that would have otherwise volunteered for other missions in which they didn't have to face the American military."
Victor Davis Hanson on victory
Victor Davis Hanson, March 14, 2008, on whether the Iraq War has made us safer:
"Rarely in American history has a war been so often spun, praised, renounced, disowned, and finally neglected. And the result is that a number of questions remain not just unanswered, but unasked. We have not been hit since 9/11, despite the dire predictions from almost everyone of serial attacks to come.
What is never discussed is how many Islamists flocked to Iraq, determined to defeat the U.S. military - and never got out alive. Or, more bluntly, how many jihadists did the U.S. Army and Marines kill in Iraq rather than in Manhattan?
And what was the effect of that defeat not only on the jihadists, but also on those who were watching carefully to see whether the terrorists should be joined in victory or abandoned in defeat? Who really took his eye off the ball - the United States by going into Iraq, as alleged, or Osama bin Laden and his jihadist lieutenants by diverting thousands there to their deaths, as is never mentioned?
Again, whereas the conventional wisdom holds that we have radicalized an entire generation of young Muslims, it may turn out instead that we have convinced a generation that it is not wise after 9/11 to wage war against the United States."
Victor Davis Hanson, July 28th, 2008, on the history of American wars:
"None of this volatility is new in American military history. The American Revolutionary War ebbed and flowed for nine years, variously pronounced won, lost, and won again. The Union thought it had won, then had lost, and finally won the Civil War during the last 16 months of the conflict. ... No war was more mercurial than the Korean between 1950-53, in which the American public was convinced the war was hopeless before it ended in 1953 with the preservation of South Korea.
In most of these struggles, the efforts of just a few rare individuals - a Washington, Grant, Sherman, Ridgway - proved crucial. We remember their names, not the thousands of pundits who declared them incompetent and their wars lost. Long after a Seymour Hersh, Moveon.org, Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, Harry Reid and others are forgotten, Americans will still remember what David Petraeus did for our country."
The Tragic Truth of War: What we dare not say: Killing the enemy brings victory, by Victor Davis Hanson, February 19, 2010, on how Iraq was won.
- "what is unspoken is also the sheer cumulative number of al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists that the U.S. military killed or wounded between 2003 and 2008
... in those combat operations, the marines and army not only proved that to meet them in battle was a near death sentence, but also killed thousands of low-level terrorists and hundreds of top-ranking operatives who otherwise would have continued to harm Iraqi civilians and American soldiers. Is Iraq relatively quiet today because many who made it so violent are no longer around?"
- "Contemporary conventional wisdom tries to persuade us that there is no such thing as a finite number of the enemy. Instead, killing them supposedly only incites others to step up from the shadows ... Or so we are told.
We may wish that were true. But military history suggests it is not quite accurate. In fact, there was a finite number of SS diehards and kamikaze suicide bombers even in fanatical Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. When they were attrited, not only were their acts of terror curtailed, but it turned out that far fewer than expected wanted to follow the dead to martyrdom."
- "Perhaps the most politically incorrect and Neanderthal of all thoughts would be that the American military's long efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq to kill or capture radical Islamists has contributed to the general safety inside the United States. Modern dogma insists that our presence in those two Muslim countries incited otherwise non-bellicose young Muslims ...
A more tragic view would counter that there was always a large (though largely finite) number of radical jihadists who, even before 9/11, wished to kill Americans. They went to those two theaters, fought, died, and were therefore not able to conduct as many terrorist operations as they otherwise would have, and also provided a clear example to would-be followers not to emulate their various short careers."
Aymenn Jawad on why the war ended
I'm not quite sure what happened to
Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi
since the following debate,
but I'll leave this old material up anyway.
argues that the surge did not end the war.
Rather, he (rather bleakly) argues that it
ended because the Sunnis gave up when the Shia successfully ethnically cleansed them.
And they then saw their situation was hopeless.
- I'm not totally convinced.
Many armies and terrorists have been in a hopeless situation before and have still not given up.
The surge may have been the last straw that
finally killed the enthusiasm.
War is a contest of will.
And my point is that seemingly invincible jihadist armies will give up
if opposed with resolution.
It has happened before, and Iraq is just the latest example.
- Jawad is correct to point out the shameful ethnic cleansing that went on.
But that is Iraq's shame, not America's.
Assessing The Surge In Iraq by Aymenn Jawad, December 22, 2011.
- Jawad argues for a range of causes of the end of the war,
the worst being:
"the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis ... which led Sunni insurgents to realize that hopes of reclaiming the pre-2003 status-quo were lost".
But more positive ones include
"Sunni disillusionment .. with al-Qa'ida and like-minded terrorist groups",
Bush's psychological decision to "stay the course"
in the contest of wills,
and the U.S. military fighting a smarter war with technology.
- Interestingly, he says thinking the Americans caused everything is wrong. Iraqis are actors too (for good and for evil).
There are limits to what outsiders can do.
But he says this in a way sympathetic to the outsiders.
He does not blame America for Iraqi sins.
He notes the irony that the left, by seeking to blame the West
for everything wrong in the Islamic world,
treats non-Westerners as non-actors:
"Part of the problem has to do with the spread of "anti-Orientalist" and postcolonial discourse
... one of the consequences of the success enjoyed by Edward Said's famous book Orientalism (1978) has been the emergence of historical works that deny "Asians, Africans, or Polynesians 'agency' in their own histories
more thoroughly than had the nineteenth-century Imperial writers.""
- He says the "right" must beware of a similar view - that the things that go right
in the Islamic world
were because of western actions alone.
Victory in Iraq
, 22 Nov 2008.
"Iraq was rubbish, we did nothing but look at kids. Northern Ireland was boring. Afghan, however, was brilliant: we were fighting every day."
A British soldier, Jan 2010, rather nicely expresses two things:
(1) Allied soldiers are not victims. They joined up to fight.
(2) Iraq is over. The jihad lost.
All those jihadis died for nothing.
They wasted their lives.
The allies won.
Obama throws away victory in Iraq