Saturday, July 14, 2007

The State Of The War, In A Nutshell

al Qaeda has issued a "new" video from Osama bin Laden that looks like a cut & paste job of his previous ones over the past decade. It's a rather flaccid gesture on the part of the Islamist terror group, unless it's meant as a trigger for cells in Europe and the United States to launch new attacks.

Taliban military commander Mansour Dadullah, aka the "dean of Jihadi U.", promised as much to Charlie Gibson of ABC News. Which suggests that our enemies know who their friends are; it's hard to imagine, say, Irwin Rommel going on the radio with Edwin R. Murrow in 1942 to discuss the Afrika Corps' upcoming offensive against the "doomed" British in North Africa. But any leader of our current enemy can get on American TV pretty much any time they want.

Both factors are consistent with what intelligence sources have warned about terrorist "chatter" levels hitting new highs in recent weeks, which the Admiral suggests may indicate some logistical efforts to stage a new series of attacks.

Meanwhile, while the enemy prepares a new North American offensive, our own "surge" in Iraq is being hampered by what amounts to a self-fulfilling prophecy:

Local Iraqis touched by the surge of US troops seem grateful for the increased security, but some are scared of getting too close to the Americans in case they leave.

“I cannot help the coalition because I worry that if I do and the soldiers go then the terrorists will come back and kill me,” said Mokdat Ahmed Shahib, a 40-year-old security guard, who lives in a village near Patrol Base Murray.

Can you blame him? He can read American media headlines on the 'Net just as our enemies can. He's doubtless far from alone in his trepidation. Thus is the rectal-cranially-impacted caucus on Capitol Hill with its defeatist House resolutions and Senate withdrawal amendments that bear not the slightest resemblance to actual conditions on the ground creating the very conditions they seek for their own despicable political ends.

The Enemy Media is doing is own part toward that end as well:

Terry McCarthy on ABC News' World News Tonight files a two-minute piece, fighting relentless south of Baghdad, Triangle of Death, full of extremists. Clip of Petraeus saying this is al Qaeda. Second clip of Petraeus saying no one is happy about lack of progress of Iraqi government. Third clip of Petraeus saying he can't worry about Washington, he has to stay focused on the job at hand. Wrap up by McCarthy saying how tough fighting is south of Baghdad. Nothing about progress anywhere, or any signs of surge success.

On NBC Nightly News, Jim Miklaszewski reports on a rogue Iraqi police officer that was captured by U.S. Special Forces, and ambushed by the rest of the Iraqi rogue police unit. No American casualties, outcome is six dead Iraqi bad cops, seven dead militia. No report whatsoever that the surge may be working. Instead, impression is given that Iraqi security is increasingly infiltrated by Iranian forces, and we can't tell good cops from bad cops.

Jim Axelrod on CBS News reports no progress by both U.S. and Iraqi troops in former al Qaeda strongholds in Baquba and Ramadi, but instead hypes up two squishy Republican Senators who are breaking ranks and requesting a plan to draw down U.S. forces.

The same old defeatist slant across the dial. But of course, we MUST reimpose the "Fairness" Doctrine.

The one piece of unrelated good war news is that Pervez Musharraf has, for whatever reason, decided to get back into the fight, crushing an Islamist [and al Qaeda-affiliated] cell in someplace called the Red Mosque, and backing that piece of justice up with troops sent toward the previously privileged sanctuary of Wazirstan to send more than a message:

Thousands of troops were deployed to Pakistan's northwestern frontier to try to dissuade outlawed Islamic militants from launching a holy war against the government for its bloody attack on a radical mosque, military officials said Saturday.

As the troop movements proceeded in at least five areas of the North West Frontier Province, a suicide bomber struck in another region of the border, his explosives-laden vehicle killing at least eight soldiers in a military convoy, army spokesman Maj. General Waheed Arhad said. ...

"With help from local tribal elders, we are trying to ensure that militants lay down their arms, and stop issuing calls for jihad against the government," said a senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He said there were no immediate plans for combat operations against Maulana Fazlullah, a radical cleric who has pressed for the imposition of Taliban-style rule in Pakistan, much like the leaders of the Red Mosque.

After 9/11 Musharraf switched to our side because he knew we would have obliterated his country if he hadn't. He's eschewing his de facto neutrality of the past couple of years because he doesn't want to lose his regime - and his head - to the Islamists who want to get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

I can think of another reason why Musharraf might want to move against Taliban and al Qaeda elements now, though: if the United States runs away from Iraq, and then Afghanistan, non-Islamist governments like his are going to need to be in as strong a position as possible for the inevitable regional war to come. With no American help or support in the offing, allowing the enemy a foothold in your own territory would be rank, suicidal folly.

Musharraf, in other words, would be on his own. Just as we would be on our own after a disgraceful, humiliating collapse such as the one the Democrats and RINOs are trying to force on us. For all the Left's prattling about "building alliances," I can't imagine ANY country in the Middle East trusting the word of any American leader for generations after the hell to which we're about to consign them.

And ourselves.

UPDATE: Bill Kristol wonders if the Democrats may have finally overplayed their winning anti-war hand from 2006. It would certainly explain the all-out full-court defeatist press of the past week on the part of the entire left-wing establishment to panic the country, and the Bush Administration, into throwing in the towel just as the "surge" is producing big time results. Almost as if they're panicked themselves that they won't be able to keep a lid on those results for much longer, and they'll turn public opinion back around against them.

Perhaps that helps explain the timing of these prospective new al Qaeda attacks here. T'would certainly make it easier to argue that "fighting the terrorists over there" doesn't stop them from attacking us at home.

Other than, you know, the past six years, before we started to lose our nerve en masse.