Via Charles Johnson at LGF: Al Qaeda Documents Show They’re in Big Trouble
There’s new evidence tonight that Al Qaeda in Iraq is falling apart: U.S. Military Says Seized Docs Show Al Qaeda in Iraq Is Weakened.
BAGHDAD — A diary and another document seized during U.S. raids show some Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders fear the terror group is crumbling, with many fighters defecting to American-backed neighborhood groups, the U.S. military said Sunday.
The military revealed two documents discovered by American troops in November: a 39-page memo written by a mid- to high-level Al Qaeda official with knowledge of the group’s operations in Iraq’s western Anbar province, and a 16-page diary written by another group leader north of Baghdad.
In the Anbar document, the author describes an Al Qaeda in crisis, with citizens growing weary of militants’ presence and foreign fighters too eager to participate in suicide missions rather than continuing to fight, said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman.
“We lost cities and afterward, villages… We find ourselves in a wasteland desert,” Smith quoted the document as saying.
The memo — believed to have been written in summer 2007 — cites militants’ increasing difficulty in moving around and transporting weapons and suicide belts because of better equipped Iraqi police and more watchful citizens, Smith said.
David Ignatius of the Washington Post also nails the point that those who were saying “more troops!” was the answer were completely missing the point of what works in Iraq in COIN operations:
Traveling in Iraq and Afghanistan in late January, I kept encountering two themes that cut across the usual U.S. political debate about these conflicts: The hard-nosed operations of U.S. Special Forces are increasingly effective, and so are the soft-power tactics of provincial reconstruction teams.
The debate over troop numbers may be missing the point. What’s making the real difference isn’t how many Americans are on the ground but how they are being used. That’s true at both ends of the spectrum — hard power and soft. And, as commanders learn to use these tools of counterinsurgency effectively, they may also be able to operate with fewer people and a lighter footprint.
As I said before, Senator McCain was wrong.
Also, as Charles Johnson notes, so too was Senator Obama, who stated last August that the war effort in Iraq was a “Complete Failure“. Note above that the memo citing the failure of Al Qaeda was written last summer… right around the time that Presidential Candidate Obama was declaring Iraq a “Complete Failure”.
Yet this man is set to become the Presidential Candidate for the Democrat Party. Brilliant.
Via Michael Yon: RUBs: Photo of the Year?
These words come to you from South Baghdad, where signs of progress are unmistakable. I am with 1-4 CAV in an area that was among the most dangerous in Iraq during early and mid 2007. But a few days ago I walked down a road — wearing no body armor or helmet — where just 7 or 8 months ago tanks and Strykers would have been in great danger. Signs of progress are everywhere and encouraging, but I sense the criticality that we keep funding flowing to commanders here. Money is ammunition in a counterinsurgency, and commanders have learned to use it effectively at local levels. They say it is better to open schools, build sidewalks and clean up soccer fields than buy tanks or lethal weapons.
BAGHDAD – Hard choices face Iraq’s political leaders on how to stabilize the country despite promising new signs of progress toward reconciliation, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday.
“They seem to have become energized over the last few weeks,” Gates said. The Pentagon chief told reporters who traveled with him from a conference in Germany that he wants to “see what the prospects are for further success in the next couple of months.”
In an interview on the trip to Iraq, Gates cited the recent passage of an amnesty law as an example of political progress. He said he would ask Iraqi leaders to assess the prospects for other important steps such as passing a law that would spell out power-sharing between the provinces and the national government.
He compared the struggle over that idea to the U.S. founding fathers’ quest to find a constitutional compromise on how to share power in Congress between big and small states.
Gates said he would make clear to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other political leaders that “our continued eagerness for them to proceed and successfully conclude some of this legislation” considered essential to reconciling Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
[ ... ]
It was Gates’ first visit this year and possibly his last before Petraeus and Crocker return to Washington in April to recommend to President Bush whether to continue reducing U.S. troop levels after Petraeus’ current drawdown plan is completed in July. By then, four brigades are to have gone home, leaving 15.
“I would be interested in how they are planning it — which units are coming out” between now and July, Gates said.
The trickier question is whether Petraeus will tell Bush that security conditions in Baghdad and elsewhere have improved enough to permit even more troop cuts without risking a deterioration in security. Petraeus’ strategy is based on an expectation that improved security over time will give Iraqi political leaders an impetus to make compromises on legislation and other moves toward reconciliation.
Asked whether he would question Petraeus about the possibility of recommending a pause in the troop drawdown this summer, Gates replied, “I think our conversation will cover the whole range of possibilities.”
[ ... ]
Before Gates’ arrival, the U.S. military said a diary and another document seized during raids showed that some al-Qaida in Iraq leaders fear the terrorist group is crumbling and that many fighters are defecting to American-backed neighborhood groups. But violence also raged Sunday. The U.S. military said a car bomb exploded near an Iraqi checkpoint in an open-market area north of Baghdad, killing at least 23 civilians and wounding 25.
Bush, discussing the long-term U.S. relationship with Iraq, said in an interview broadcast in the United States: “We will be there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. … We won’t have permanent bases. I do believe it is in our interests and the interests of the Iraqi people that we do enter into an agreement on how we are going to conduct ourselves over the next years.”
Last year, Bush ordered five additional Army brigades to Iraq. One of those brigades left in December and the other four are due to come out by July, leaving 15 brigades, or about 130,000 to 135,000 troops — the same number as before Bush sent the reinforcements.
Those additional troops have not led to political change and American soldiers deserve better “than a policy of war without end,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who called for the U.S. to begin pulling its forces from Iraq. But House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, appearing on the same Sunday talk show, said “Democrats continue to be in denial about the success we’re having in Iraq.”
Petraeus recently said it would be prudent to “let things settle a bit” before embarking on a new round of cuts. Gates has not said whether he agreed with Petraeus, though the secretary noted other commanders and service chiefs would weigh in with their opinions.
Bush, who met with Petraeus during his recent trip to the Middle East, said, “My message to the general was success is paramount and therefore, whatever you recommend, make it based upon the need to succeed.”
“So we said, `What is succeed? What does succeed mean? It means there’s enough security and stability for this reconciliation to continue to take place and for democracy to take hold,” Bush said.
The president said he did not know what Petraeus or the Pentagon would recommend later this year on troop levels. “I will listen — give them careful consideration and make up my mind. But it’s going to be based upon whether or not we can succeed or not.”
In his speech at the international security conference in Munich, Gates said NATO’s survival is at stake in the debate over how the U.S. and Europe should share the burden of fighting Islamic extremism in Afghanistan.
He also said the Bush administration had learned from mistakes made in Iraq, including the need to more closely integrate the civilian-led stabilization efforts with the military efforts. He said the U.S. and NATO must apply that lesson in Afghanistan to assure success.
Via Alan Fraser, the father of a United States Marine, in The American Thinker. He writes:
“[T]he mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their [the mujahedeen] ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection…“The Americans will exit soon, God willing, and the establishment of a governing authority-as soon as the country is freed from the Americans-does not depend on force alone. [while Zawahiri misunderestimated Mr. Bush, he nailed the Democratic candidates...they're having a contest to see who can retreat the fastest...and FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK are turning over in their graves].“The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy. Because of that, we must be ready starting now, before events overtake us, and before we are surprised by the conspiracies of the Americans and the United Nations, and their plans to fill the void behind them. We must take the initiative and impose a fait accompli upon our enemies, instead of the enemy imposing one on us…“I say to you: that we are in a battle and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma. And that however far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one thousandth of the capabilities of the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us.” (emphasis supplied) Letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi, July 9, 2005
How has the media been demoralizing the ignorant and apathetic American Idol public? Mr. Fraser writes:
“[l]ast year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.”
“As support for the war in Iraq has declined, criticism of the war has translated into criticism of our nation’s troops, at least by way of criticizing the quality of wartime recruits. The current findings show that the demographic characteristics of volunteers have continued to show signs of higher, not lower, quality. Quality is a difficult concept to apply to soldiers, or to human beings in any context, and it should be understood here in context. Regardless of the standards used to screen applicants, the average quality of the people accepted into any organization can be assessed only by using measurable criteria, which surely fail to account for intangible characteristics. In the military, it is especially questionable to claim that measurable characteristics accurately reflect what really matters: courage, honor, integrity, loyalty, and leadership…” (emphasis supplied)
“Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a considerable increase in the attrition rate of Captain-level junior officers from the United States Army. Because the Army slowly develops its leaders from the ground up, this loss of junior officers becomes critical in reducing the number of future commanders and leaders available to guide the Army in future decades. Following the Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), an Army-wide draw down lasting until 1995 deliberately decreased the size of the Army without regard to rank. However, from 1996 until 2001, the number of Captain-level junior officers voluntarily leaving the Army did not stabilize. In fact, the attrition rate for these officers doubled during the period from the end of the draw down until the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (Vest, 2003). Following the attacks on the Pentagon and New York City, the attrition rate for Captain-level junior officers decreased considerably due to programs enacted by the Army to prevent the loss of personnel during the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.” (emphasis supplied)
“Based on the data…there is no reason to believe that a causal relationship exists between the Army’s increased deployment tempo [DETEMPO] and increased rate of captain-level officer attrition between 1996 and 2001…The consistency in deployment tempo does not correspond to the increase in captain-level officer attrition for the period from 1996 through 2001. The data contained in this study do not support the hypothesis that there is a causal relationship between the Army’s deployment tempo and increased captain attrition.” (emphasis supplied) “Deployment Tempo and Captain Attrition,”
Mr. Fraser concludes: