Amid the liberal press’ opinings about the failed Bush strategy in Iraq comes a NYT Op-Ed entitled A War We Just Might Win, which outlines the recent real advances in Iraq. Should we stay? Can we see a free Iraq before pulling out? Time will tell, but the recent shift of Iraqi opinion AWAY from Al Quaida and the Salafists may indicate a chance for success. The growing unity of non-terrorist Islamists can also be seen in the celebrations over the recent Iraqi Asian Cup win (NPR).
A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been
the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist
groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi
These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized
average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and
seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been
that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists
and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and
best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six
months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the
Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al
Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines
were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its
streets without body armor.