The Tall Afar offensive
Though scarcely mentioned in the mainstream media, last week's U.S.-Iraqi offensive against the terrorist resistance in Tall Afar, near the Syrian border, went very well. Not many enemy combatants were killed, probably because they had advance warning, but at least that town is cleared of hostile elements for the moment. Little by little, the new Iraqi army is gaining experience and confidence, in spite of the continued attempts to intimidate recruits by bombs at Iraqi police and military bases. Most of the troops in that attack were in fact Iraqis. See Washington Post. Though the mere televised sight of such attacks make many Americans cringe, for most Iraqi people, it seems to have the opposite effect. This is discussed at strategypage by James Dunnigan, who explains "Why Al Qaeda Has Lost Its War in Iraq." A cartoon by Cox and Forkum makes this point graphically. There is a risk, nevertheless, that the insurgents will simply take refuge across the border in Syria, in which case there would be a possibility of a U.S.-led incursion into that rogue state, much like the brief incursion into Cambodia ordered by Nixon in 1969. The difference between the situation now and then is that the Ba'athist regime headed by Bashar Al-Asad is on the defense, under heavy international pressure because of the murder of the Lebanese politician earlier this year, and facing growing internal demands for more freedom. The "dominos" are leaning in the other direction this time, and a well-timed, properly justified U.S. incursion might just tip the balance.
Whether it was related to the battlefield success or not, the death of Al Qaeda leader Abdullah Abu Azzam today is a clear indication that the strategic situation is heading in the right direction, notwithstanding the surge of desperate terrorist attacks. More such leaders will arise to replace him, but it's still a very real, concrete victory.
On the all-important home front, a group of high school and college students traveled from Staunton to Washington for the "Support the Military Families" rally. See newsblaze.com.
As for the left wing (or "wrong wing," perhaps) folks, the silly grin worn by Cindy Sheehan as she was arrested outside the White House yesterday made it very clear what a riotous, unserious farce is the movement for which she serves as mouthpiece.