American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commander of United States forces in Baghdad, also said that American troops had yet to clear some 13 percent of the city, including Sadr City and several other areas controlled by Shiite militias. But, he said, “there’s just no question” that violence had declined since a spike in June.
“Murder victims are down 80 percent from where they were at the peak,” and attacks involving improvised bombs are down 70 percent, he said.
Good news as far as it goes, but questions remain. The Rightie blogs are flogging this of course as proof of something or other. Let’s back up for a moment. Baghdad was a populated predominantly by Shia Muslims that didn’t like Sunnis of any stripe much less Al-Qaeda. ( Ethnic Cleansing in a Baghdad Neighborhood? and here Ethnic Cleansing Takes Hold – “…he Health Ministry in Baghdad is controlled by the party of Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric.”). Now that the Shia dominated government that Bush has put in place, which has ties to “axis of evil” member Iran and is supported by your tax dollars have accomplished either killing many of the Sunnis or driving them to seek refuge in Jordan or elsewhere the violence has ebbed, for now anyway.
No matter how much the Right might try to get everyone to skip and hop through their quaint little narrative in the overall scheme of things, the big picture remains the same.
First we’re in Iraq in the first place for reasons that seem to vacillate between myths about WMD, al-Qaeda connection pre 9-11, some version of the flypaper theory where all the jihadists radicals in the Middle-east will flock toward and ultimately be neutralized. Then there is always the all encompassing claim that occupying Iraq is in the best interests of our national security. All of these reasons have ever been sold to America like a Chevy Vega by a disparate used car saleman. The administration and it’s defenders seem to pick one depending on which they think will have the most crowd appeal.The administration’s reasons for being in Iraq, echoed by their supporters and many of them obviously contradictory ( caring about the welfare of the Iraqi people for instance) has shifted back and forth among 27 different rationales.
Al Qaeda has been routed from Baghdad? Bush and his supporters should be ashamed to even bring up the subject. The only reason that al-Queada was in Iraq was because of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s ineptitude ( there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda before Bush pulled out the U.N. inspectors).They had no post invasion plan ( how many American soldiers died because the President of the U.S. couldn’t be bothered with having a plan). Since their ineptitude was directly related to the lack of secure borders they are also responsible for the violence that resulted from the decisions they made. By Bush’s own declaration he is “The Decider” and “The Commander Guy”. Where was the intelligent courageous leadership needed, where was the honesty from Conservatives who dominated every branch of government. Much like Bush and his service record they were AWOL.
Al-Qaeda was never the major source of violence in Iraq.The vast majority of violence in Iraq has been and continues to be sectarian and tribal motivated. Shia versus Sunni and divisions within those groups. If the Pentagon PR department is telling the truth about the number of deaths and Al Qaeda is becoming less of a factor in the violence that’s great, but it doesn’t bring back the dead. It doesn’t make up for all the administrations lies and blunders. The Newshoggers has a good post up on that report from WaPo, There’s No Post-Surge Plan, Is There?
The Forgotten Front By Caroline Wadhams, Lawrence J. Korb
The United States and the international community initially made great strides to oust the Taliban and Al Qaeda and stand up the Afghan government following the invasion in October 2001, but the situation has dramatically deteriorated since 2005. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have regrouped in the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan and are supporting the Afghan insurgency while strengthening their own capabilities. Although the current administration has portrayed Iraq as the central front of the “global war on terror,” Afghanistan and the borderlands of Pakistan remain the central battlefield.
Giuliani has been thrown on the defensive over Kerik and rightfully so. Giuliani is running on his self-proclaimed competence governing New York City and his association with Kerik calls into question something that is at the heart of his competence: his judgment.
Remember, Giuliani and Kerik aren’t merely buddies or former colleagues, Giuliani actually appointed Kerik to Department of Corrections commissioner in 1998 and police commissioner in 2000 before recommending him to head DHS
With that in mind take a walk down memory lane. The series of Bush administration and Republican scandals. All of them together would make an encyclopedia of modern cronyism and corruption. Some very fundamental undermining of American values and the rule of law. So uber right-wing Bush supporter Michelle Malkin writes, The Kerik indictment, Giuliani, and the GOP, By Michelle Malkin, November 8, 2007 08:43 PM
The grass-roots conservative base is sick and tired of cronyism and open-borders arrogance–two traits that dominate the Bush White House, two traits on naked display in the intertwined fates of Rudy Giuliani and Bernie Kerik, two traits that dangerously undermine public confidence and public safety.
They’ve supported that “cronyism and open-borders arrogance” for eight years and now they’ve declared they’re sick of the monster they created. That concludes the comedy portion of our program. Good night and good luck.
Edward R. Murrow: No one familiar with the history of his country, can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the Junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been confusing the public mind as between the internal and the external threats of communism. We must not confuse dissent from disloyalty. We must remember always, that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who dared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Sen. McCarthy’s methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it still exists in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the Junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his, he didn’t create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck.
from the movie Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)