Monday, October 22, 2007

Unknown Victory

The good news continues to roll out of Iraq - and straight down the Enemy Media black hole....

Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites are reaching out to each other as the "chaos" in their country continues to dwindle:
Aboard the seventy-mile flight from Baghdad to Ramadi was a top Pentagon envoy and a leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite political party. They were paying a visit to Sunni sheiks who have joined the U.S. battle against extremists.

The meeting Sunday was part of budding contacts between Iraq's rival Muslim groups that has shown promise where the nation's political leadership has stalled: trying to find common ground among Shiites and Sunnis.

The exchanges — which have bypassed the stumbling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — are supported by Washington as part its evolving strategies to tap the influence of religious authorities and tribal chiefs.
Hard not to notice the AP's bias in that third graf; the Maliki regime is hardly "stumbling," and has made significant progress in its own right in unifying Iraqis across sectarian lines, as exemplified by the recent visit of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi to Najaf - i.e. Shia Central - to meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. This reconciliation process is the product of the progress achieved, and momentum created, by the Petraeus "Surge" strategy over the course of this calendar year. Now that Iraq is being pacified, more and more Iraqis are discovering an interest in keeping it that way, and embarking on more constructive avenues of activity than killing each other.

Things have improved so much, in fact, that one of the most cautious and pessimistic of Middle East observers is ready to publicly broach the "V" word:
Should we declare victory over al Qaeda in the battle of Iraq?

The very question would have seemed proof of dementia only a few months ago, yet now some highly respected military officers, including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, General Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.

These people are not suggesting that the battle is over. They all insist that there is a lot of fighting ahead, and even those who believe that al Qaeda is crashing and burning in a death spiral on the Iraqi battlefields say that the surviving terrorists will still be able to kill coalition forces and Iraqis. But there is relative tranquility across vast areas of Iraq, even in places that had been all but given up for lost barely more than a year ago. It may well be that those who confidently declared the war definitively lost will have to reconsider.

Almost exactly thirteen months ago, the top Marine intelligence officer in Iraq wrote that the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate unless an additional division was sent in, along with substantial economic aid. Today, Marine leaders are musing openly about clearing out of Anbar, not because it is a lost cause, but because we have defeated al Qaeda there.
Michael Ledeen is not given to overstatement, gentles. If he says that victory is at hand, you're betting with house money, as it were.

I can't help noting, as an aside, the last graf of the Ledeen quote: "...the grim situation in Anbar province would continue to deteriorate unless an additional division was sent in." This illustrates what has always been true about Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and the larger War Against Islamic Fundamentalism: the question of victory or defeat is entirely up to us. al Qaeda and the Iranian mullahgarchy cannot defeat us unless we choose to let them win by quitting the field(s) of battle. If we maintain the will to "fight through to absolute victory," to quote FDR, the only question is when we triumph, not if.

That just emphasizes all the more that the American Left is not lamenting "another futile military quagmire," but rather actively seeks its own country's defeat for its own pernicious, seditious reasons. A "crusade" being made more and more of a, well, "futile quagmire" itself by the "Surge's" successes in changing the reality and direction of events on the ground in Iraq.

Thus, the increasingly frantic desperation of the Enemy Media's so-called "war coverage," of which intrepid war correspondent Michael Yon has had enough:
I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.

No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public. ....

Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic. But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe.

I wasn’t back in Iraq three days before this critical disconnect rocketed up from the ground and whacked me in the face. There I was with British soldiers, preparing for a mission with a duration of more than ten days in the southern province of al Basra, when someone asked me about the media reports alleging that Basra city had collapsed into violent chaos. Not wishing to trust solely to my own eyes and ears, I asked around and was able to quickly confirm what I’d already noted: conditions in this region had improved dramatically in the months since my previous embed with the Brits. ...

No one who’s actually been to this area in the last month could honestly claim it was swarming with violence. I’ve been with the Brits here for more than two weeks, during which time there have been only a few trivial attacks that could easily have been the work of an angry farmer with extra time on his hands and a mortar in his backyard. As to serious attacks on British forces, in the last eight weeks, there have been exactly zero. So, any stories that make it sound like Basra is in chaos are shamefully false.
This goes to show that those who make their living counting their "legacy media collapse" chickens before they hatch are talking out of their hats. At the very least, they're wildly premature in pronouncing the Enemy Media's demise. As I have written on numerous occasions, the EM is not the monopoly it once was, but it's still vastly more powerful and influential in framing and shaping the context of American political debate than talk radio, the handful of center-right newspapers and magazines, and the blogosphere. Indeed, the factor that began ponderously turning around American public opinion on the war didn't come out of the "new" media at all, but rather from two prominent Bush critics in the New York Times. And still the EM continues to try and bury any and all good news out of Iraq, even when there is now scarcely any other kind. If they can't tell the version of the war that they want to tell, they won't report on it at all.

What does it say about the press' Ameriphobic fanaticism and utter dearth of journalistic integrity that a genuine reporter like Mr. Yon has to offer his reports for free to members of the National Newspaper Association in order to have a chance of getting the truth of what's actually happening in Iraq onto the pages - much less the front pages - of American newspapers? What does it also say about them that the only beneficiaries of their defeatist distortions would be the enemy and their fellow-travelers in the Democrat Party?

Or, rather, America's "enemies, foreign and domestic."

Kinda gives the term "home front" a whole other meaning, doesn't it?