Today's Reading Assignment
Ralph Peters in the New York Post, with another of those stories you didn't see on the Top 10 for 2007: "Terror on the Run." As he writes:
The greatest media story of 2007 was the one you never read (unless you read The Post): The year was a strategic catastrophe for Islamist terrorists - and possibly a historic turning point in the struggle against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
While al Qaeda in Iraq can still launch suicide missions, such acts now serve only to further alienate the Iraqi people, who've come to hate the grisly foreign interlopers with a passion you have to encounter first-hand to appreciate.
That fundamental change in outlook, especially among Sunni Arabs, may well mark last year as Islamist terrorism's high-water mark, the point at which fellow Muslims by the tens of millions publicly rejected the message and methods of self-styled holy warriors who revel in the slaughter of the innocent.
Tens of thousands of fellow Muslims, previously allied with al Qaeda, turned their weapons against the fanatics. It was the biggest global story since 9/11. And it was buried on Page 14, if mentioned at all.
But 2007 may have been to the struggle against Islamofascism what 1943 was to the Second World War: the year in which it became clear that, no matter how long the war lasted, civilization's enemies couldn't win.
The lack of attention paid to the disaster that befell the terrorist cause - essentially acknowledged by Osama bin Laden's "holiday" audio tape - is as if, in 1943, the Allied media hadn't reported any Axis defeats.
The bottom line on 2007 is simply this: While many in the media want you to believe it was another disaster for the United States, it was the worst year for the terrorists since 2001.
Much could still go wrong, of course, in Iraq and elsewhere. We should never underestimate the genius for self-destruction ingrained in Middle-Eastern mentalities. And Islamist terror, to some degree, will be with us throughout our lifetimes.
But in 2007 we saw how superficial Muslim support really was for al Qaeda and its ilk. We learned that bloodthirsty fanatics who invoke religion can - and will - be defeated.
And we should have learned the utility of fighting, instead of letting liberal-elite America-haters inflict their defeatist agenda on our country and the world.
Right on cue, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is promising, if elected, to withdraw virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq during his first 10 months in office. Mr. Edwards, conveniently oblivious to the recent, stunning progress in Iraq, illustrates that America can still lose the War on Terror, at its own choosing.
Edwards' comments came in an interview with Michael Gordon, the respected national security writer for The New York Times. Mr. Gordon politely notes than the candidate's Iraq proposal "runs counter to assessments by intelligence agencies, military officers and a Congressionally mandated study:"
American military commanders have publicly cautioned that a rapid withdrawal of troops risks a new escalation of sectarian violence, which has been substantially reduced in recent months. A National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that was issued in January 2007 by the United States intelligence agencies also warned that the withdrawal of American troops over the ensuing 12 to 18 months would probably lead to “massive civilian casualties and forced population displacement.”
Mr. Edwards acknowledged that there was a risk that a speedy troop drawdown might lead to substantially increased sectarian violence. Under Mr. Edwards’s plan, the United States would keep a quick reaction force in Kuwait and perhaps Jordan to respond to terrorist threats and possible “genocide.”
But those risks are apparently acceptable to John Edwards, who is (obviously) more concerned with placating the anti-war wing of his own party, rather than achieving lasting peace and stability in Iraq. With his feckless proposal, the former North Carolina Senator gives new meaning to phrase "invested in defeat."