Monday, October 15, 2007

Al-Qaeda Crippled?

It is difficult fighting an enemy with no defined borders, no defined uniform, no defined strategy (other than death ti infidels). and most importantly, no fear of dieing for the cause. But the War on terror has bee a slow and progressive battle. Today we get this report from WaPo:
The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.
Encouraging, certainly, but we have beheaded this organization before only to have the hydra return stronger than ever. I am not alone in this thinking:
other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.

"I think it would be premature at this point," a senior intelligence official said of a victory declaration over AQI, as the group is known. Despite recent U.S. gains, he said, AQI retains "the ability for surprise and for catastrophic attacks." Earlier periods of optimism, such as immediately following the June 2006 death of AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air raid, not only proved unfounded but were followed by expanded operations by the militant organization.
The WaPo article is very good in laying on the realities here. Some good news, but also making it clear the historical resilience of this organization, and the myopic vision of their cause. It's not enough to make me think we aren't moving closer to victory, whatever victory may be in this war.


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