We're winning ... in Iraq at least

Sunday, November 20, 2005
Results. Another goal was to advance freedom and democracy in the Middle East--not just to help the people there but to change the mind-set of the region that produced the attacks of September 11. Before 2003, the dictators and authoritarian rulers of the region focused their peoples' inevitable discontent on the United States and Israel. Now the progress toward democracy in Iraq is leading Middle Easterners to concentrate on the question of how to build decent governments and decent societies. We can see the results--the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the first seriously contested elections in Egypt, Libya's giving up WMD s, the Jordanian protests against Abu Musab Zarqawi's recent suicide attacks, and even a bit of reform in Saudi Arabia. In Syria, the Washington Post' s David Ignatius reports, "People talk politics here with a passion I haven't heard since the 1980s in Eastern Europe. They're writing manifestos, dreaming of new political parties, trying to rehabilitate old ones from the 1950s."

Michael Barone

Updated 2005-Nov-20 10:21:26: Via Powerline, See also today's Washington Times ---

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Family members of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renounced the terrorist leader Sunday after his al-Qaida in Iraq group claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 suicide attacks on three Amman hotels that killed 59 people.

The family of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, reiterated their strong allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah II in half-page advertisements in the kingdom's three main newspapers. Al-Zarqawi threatened to kill the king in an audiotape released Friday.

"A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday."

The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.

"As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," the family members said.

"We announce, and all the people are our witnesses, that we - the sons of the al-Khalayleh tribe - are innocent of him and all that emanates from him, whether action, assertion or decision."

The statement said anyone who carried out such violence in the kingdom does not enjoy its protection.

Further update (speculative), added 2005-Nov-20 12:22:46: It occurs to me, having watched the Sunday morning talking heads, that we're not only winning the war in Iraq, but that the political calculations on the part of the Democratic Party in fact include in their calculations the fact that we're winning. Consider:
  • in the last week, we've seen Rep Murtha's "sense of the House" resolution demanding immediate withdrawal (except that it's only "immediate withdrawal" in Murtha's own words when he's talking to the press, but it's not an immediate withdrawal when challenged, and only an immediate drawdown if it's not a demand that the forces be increased, or a demand that the forces be mainted at current strength while it increases the risk of drawing them down.) This appeared, coincidentally, at the same time that the commander of US forces in Iraq gave the Department of Defense a plan for drawdown of the forces on a brigade-by-brigade basis. This plan exactly corresponds to the stated plans since time immemorial (in legacy media terms, more than three weeks ago.)
  • We have also seen Senator Kerry demanding an immediate drawdown of 20,000 troops, coincidentally at the same time as the Department of Defense was annoucing plans to draw down forces by about 21,000 directly following the December election.
  • Senator Biden (on Fox News Sunday this morning), while declaiming sonorously that the Administration either has no plan or that the plan is a failure (it was a little hard to tell which) demanded a change to a plan in which we draw down forces following the establishment of an Iraqi military capable of keeping peace in Iraq and fighting the insurgency, and the establishment of a government in which all the major tribes and ethnic groups have a stake. (It doesn't have to be a "liberal democracy", however. That's apparently too much to ask of Arabs.)
In other words, it appears that the actual stated demands of the Democratic opposition are to withdraw forces when it's safe, maintain them while they are needed, comply with already-existing drawdown schedules, and not leave until we've established a military capable of defending Iraq and a representative government supported by the majority of Iraqis across all ethnic groups.

A plan which is, as far as I can tell, completely indistinguishable in any stated goal or approach from the plan that has been in place and widely discussed by the Administration.

If the Democratic party leadership thought we were not winning, would they be demanding that we proceed exactly according to the stated plans?


Syl said...

Not that the usual suspects would notice or care, but the talk of Syrians getting excited about politics is so heartening.

They're still jailed for stuff like that, but just the fact that there's a buzz going around inside Syria is, well, wow.

Peter UK said...

The family of Abu Musab Zarqawi have taken out a newspaper advertisment, disowning him.This means he has lost the support of his family and tribe.Via Powerline

Seneca the Younger said...

Peter, I didn't see your comment while I was updating, but thanks for the pointer.

Peter UK said...

I am not sure how the familial and tribal ties cross borders in the area,bu this will restrict Zarqawis options of sanctuary.

To be demoted to "so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh" is fairly strong language in the Arab world.
The violent methods used by Zarqawi have been condemned by Ayman al-Zawahiri,al Qaeda second in command and his actions have earned undying hatred in a region where the blood feud is common place.

May I suggest that Mr Ballard opens a book on how soon Zarqawi is involved in a nasty shaving accident?

Anonymous said...

It is possible that Zarqawi has died. See http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3172080,00.html

Rick Ballard said...

Why Peter, establishing a book requires a license which I do not possess. However, as a purely theoretical speculation on probability of occurence, my surmise is that the attack in Jordan plus the threat against the king make the likelihood of Zarqawi remaining upright through December 20th to be 1 in 5 which would rise to 1 in 10 if January 20th were to be used as the expiry date.

It will be interesting to watch what Jordan does concerning Sunni Iraqis "visiting" there. It would seem that issuing or extending visas to them would be a bit problematical.

terrye said...

It seems that Zarqawi has been fighting Americans for so long he has forgotten how things are settled in his own family.

Where can he go now?

Who wants him?

Other than George Galloway or Michael Moore who will give him sanctuary?

tic toc tic toc

Peter UK said...

One of the obstacles to informants disclosimg terrorists whereabouts and collecting the reward has been revenge,especially by families and tribes.Ooops!
This proclamation has, to all intents and purposes, waived the obligation to exact revenge,his family has signed his death warrant.

Buddy Larsen said...

"WE sever links with him until doomsday"...ah, a whiff of the old Arabian poeticism we all grew up loving, until the grislies and ghastlies made us forget it all.

Last week, was it, a spokesman for the royal family announced that KSA had lifted its ban on doing business with Israel? The little news item crawled past on the tv screen, and knocked me off the couch...but I've seen little commentary on it since. But, can you say "self-sufficient Palestine"? Where ever you are, Paul Wolfowitz, thank you!

Seneca the Younger said...

This proclamation has, to all intents and purposes, waived the obligation to exact revenge,his family has signed his death warrant.

And may I say, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

terrye said...


You have been linked by Roger...

Peter UK said...

His mother can't understand it,he was such a sweet little boy,she blames the kick in the head from the camel which was his only childhood friend.
Humphrey,they camel, disappeared in mysterious circumstances shortly after,Zarkawi was six and has been ever since.

Buddy Larsen said...

And those doctors who preferred camels in those old 'I Love Lucy' tv ads, eventually, I've heard, went back to women.

terrye said...

I take anything on Drudge with a semi load of sand but there is a report that Zarqawi is dead.

I have to say it would be a good thing, God forgive me.

Peter UK said...


Arial Sharon is to fly to Riyadh for the opening of Saudi Arabia's first bagel and cream cheese restaurant.A spokesman for the group said that the new Halal Bagel was a breakthrough in culinary technology and just a beginning in what was described as a new era in cooperation between the two countries.
Gefilte Figs opens on the 25th of December.

Peter UK said...

Zarqawi was more a creature of Belial.

Jim in Chicago said...

Wow, Biden has a pair of balls the size of watermelons, huh. He claims Bush has no plan, then gives his own plan, which is actually, um, Bush's plan. The pathetic thing is no one in the media will call him on it.

chuck said...

I am not sure how the familial and tribal ties cross borders in the area,...

The tribal areas also cross into Syria and Saudi Arabia. I would guess Kurdish influence crosses into northern Syria and Iran and perhaps the southern Shiite tribes cross into southern Iran. I don't know enough to say how the influence of a successful Iraq will spread in the region but Iraq is certainly central and I find the possibilities fascinating. Let's see, Iraq the Model once put up a map of tribal areas showing how they crossed the borders... but I can't find it. Here is another map. I expect every tribe located along the Iraqi border crosses over into the neighboring country. The boundaries of the current states in the middle east are pretty arbitrary.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

The boundaries of the current states in the middle east are pretty arbitrary.

That's true of Europe and Africa as well. That's what brought us ethnic cleansing and the Hutu-Tutsi tragedy.

There is some question as to the wisdom of trying to maintain the current boundaries. I don't think we've come to the final episode in the proper governance of the world yet.

Peter UK said...

Thanks Seneca,
Here is an intersting couple of items via Austin Bay

Peter UK said...

Murtha interviewed by Matthews the Commanders say what the Pentagon wants them to say..but without enthusiasm.
Is 73 perhaps a bit old?

Gary said...

Bush and the GOP are turning victory into defeat

We went to war to remove Saddam Hussein in power. He is no longer in power.

We went to war because of possible Weapons of Mass Destruction. We have found out there are no weapons of mass destruction.

We went to war to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. In a few weeks the people of Iraq will elect their new government.

We won. It is time to declare victory and go home.

Our magnificent troops fought well and have eliminated the threat of Saddam and many terrorists. It is time they came home to their reward.

Bush and the Republican party by insisting we stay there are turning our victory into a defeat. The longer we stay there the more we are viewed as occupiers, not saviors. Already 45% of Iraqis according to a British defense department survey approve of attacks on coalition forces as occupiers. Over 80% of Iraqis believe we should leave next year, we are making the situation worse.

I believe them.

Declare victory and withdraw the troops now.

terrye said...


Most Iraqis want us to leave when it is secure enough in Iraq for us to do so. They are hoping that will be in the next year or so. I would imagine that with a major embassy there we might have a small contingency of troops in Iraq for some time. I think we should leave it to the military people on the ground who actually know what is going on.

If we abandon those people before their security forces are trained and if we do not help them create a stable government there will be no victory.

And frankly, I am sick of hearing the tired old canard about weapons. It always makes me wonder how people could just completely forget the 90's.

And there was a lot more to this war than weapons anyway, there always was.

We did not just abandon Japan, Germany, Korea or Bosnia...why would we cut and run from Iraq now?

Peter UK said...

"Our magnificent troops fought well and have eliminated the threat of Saddam and many terrorists. It is time they came home to their reward."

What reward would that be?

Peter UK said...

"We did not just abandon Japan, Germany, Korea or Bosnia...why would we cut and run from Iraq now?"

To make the Democrats look good,this is the final episode in the Vietnamisation of Iraq.
Push a withdrawal.in the hope that all hell will let loose as the last troop ship clears the Gulf,then claim a defeat.

Seneca the Younger said...

Our magnificent troops fought well and have eliminated the threat of Saddam and many terrorists. It is time they came home to their reward.

Bush and the Republican party by insisting we stay there are turning our victory into a defeat. The longer we stay there the more we are viewed as occupiers, not saviors. Already 45% of Iraqis according to a British defense department survey approve of attacks on coalition forces as occupiers. Over 80% of Iraqis believe we should leave next year, we are making the situation worse.

See, Gary, you've pretty much just done what the Democrats are doing. Bush, Rumsfeld, and DoD all basically agree with you. Nobody I can think of offhand wants to leave 150,000 troops there in perpetuity. DoD already plans to withdraw 21,000 after the election, and the plans already include a brigade by brigade drawdown.

So, instead of following the plans of the DoD and drawing down the forces over the next year, you want to declare victory and withdraw the forces. If it's done in an orderly fashion with proper support, that would mean ... a brigade by brigade drawdown over the next year. So you're either demanding the US follow the current plan --- or you really do mean the fastest feasible withdrawal, which is Murtha's abject retreat.

Barry Dauphin said...

These panic attacks by the Dems and anti-war folks are very similar to the ones before the January election. Considering how clueless some of the critics are, it bodes well for the situation in Iraq. These Congressmen know what the plans are and hope to get out in front. The planned draw downs will occur, but the Dems won't be able to convince enough people that they are happening because of the likes of Biden & Co. Biden kept talking this morning about how Saddam wasn't an imminent threat and how he has all of the footage from his TV appearances that proves he never said Saddam was an imminent threat but Team Bush did. One can be certain that Biden saves all of his TV footage and might even make a fetish out of saving it for the Joe Biden "second only to God" museum of Delaware. When Biden is reduced to recycling "imminent threat" rhetoric, I expect good news in the near future.

Syl said...

The updates weren't up when I first read and commented. Yes, I see a resemblance between the 'plans'.

But there is one difference I see between the Bush plan and the democrats 'plan', the Bush plan will not give guarantees because if anything changes on the ground, they need the option to use a little more time.

The democrats want to assure our enemies as to the exact timing of our withdrawal.

The Dems are playing politics, Bush is not.

Syl said...

re Zarqawi

There's no reason to believe he was there. I've seen noone claim they thought he was even in Mosul before the raid took place.

This is either a hopeful rumor started by the Iraqis, or disinformation started by Zarqawi himself.

But I'm glad they're doing DNA testing anyway :)

MeaninglessHotAir said...


I was with you until your third sentence.

We went to war because of possible Weapons of Mass Destruction. We have found out there are no weapons of mass destruction.

Here you went completely off the rails. We did find WMDs and lots of them. We've discussed that at length several times in the last few days, with links. For example, Buddy Larsen posted:

Richard Miniter--I think bro of the WSJ's Brendan, has a book out titled "Disinformation". here's a paste of one promo:

1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium

1,500 gallons of chemical weapons agents

Chemical warheads containing cyclosarin (a nerve agent five times more deadly than sarin gas)

Over 1,000 radioactive materials in powdered form meant for dispersal over populated areas.

This is only a PARTIAL LIST of the horrific weapons verified to have been recovered in Iraq to date. Yet, Americans overwhelmingly believe U.S. and coalition forces found NO weapons of mass destruction.

The question is... WHY do they believe this lie?

Terrye pointed to an article by The Anchoress which she mentions that the UN itself has detailed finding the WMDs moved out of Iraq during the buildup to the war.

The most relevant part is:
UNMOVIC executive chairman Demetrius Perricos detailed not only the export of thousands of tons of missile components, nuclear reactor vessels and fermenters for chemical and biological warheads, but also the discovery of many (but not most) of these items - with UN inspection tags still on them — as far afield as Jordan, Turkey and even Holland.

Further links can be found on her site.

So, when you deny the facts, what is it exactly that motivates you?

Morgan said...

Aiy! The Democrats are terrified that things might work out, and they'll do whatever they can to make sure things don't.

It's as clear as day that "stay the course" will inevitably be successful here. The Iraqis support their government, they support its democratic nature, and they want to forge a new, stable, nation.

All they need is time - time to allow the new government to establish itself and protect itself from those who would take it down. Give them enough time, and they will, with the evident support of the Iraqi people, be able to do that. And then they win, and we win, and Bush wins, which is the outcome that must be avoided at all costs.

I believe now as I have believed since before this war started that this is the long-term, strategically correct thing to do. Plant the flag of self-determination in the middle of the Middle East, support the new nation vigorously, so that it can prosper, and let the neighbors look on what it has become with longing.

Will it make Islamist extremism disapear? Of course not. But if we pull out only when Iraq is self sustaining, and support them as they struggle to find a new national identity, we may just tip the entire region toward modernity, prosperity, democracy, and hope, and away from extremism. We will certainly gain an ally in the most volatile region in the world.

heather said...

I posted this at Roger's:
I had a real honest to gosh inspiration today. Someone I met told me that George W Bush shows the symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and further, that this is believed by yet another person in Alaska. You know, she said, 'not taking consequences into consideration..."

Which is plain downright insane.

Then, History came to my rescue. Republicans literally HATED FDR in the 30s. And Southerners HATED Kennedy in the 60s.

Bush is President during a time of very rapid change for a lot of Americans (let alone people in the Middle East.) Facts do not matter to Crazy people, though. People with FAS cannot become President of the USA. That is a Fact. The invasion of Afghanistan has been successful, both for many people in that country, and certainly for the American people. Iraq is becoming a success for the Americans, and it will very probably become a functioning democracy, after a lot of false starts (check out Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries...); These are Facts. The American economy is in excellent shape, at least in part because Bush's administration has reduced taxes. That is a fact.

America is not a Fascist State. That is a fact.

But Hate makes people Crazy. And change makes some people Hate. And that is a fact.

Posted by: heather

Buddy Larsen said...

Beautifully said, Morgan. Never hurts to bear in mind the utilities, either. Satisfied that there'll never be a full replacement for liquid BTUs bubbling freely out of the ground, world powers need to be able to plan around a guaranteed allocation of this dimishing and crucial resource. Who can (and will) protect and maintain that open market? What will happen if no one can or will? How 'bout a sho-nuf WWII re-do, with even better (that is, worser) weapons?

Gary, your concern for the soldiers is well-taken, but you must relize that left alone, the Mideast guaranteed (guarantees) a demand on the armed services perhaps magnitudes more grave.

Buddy Larsen said...

Can you find a great bloody war anywhere in history, Gary, any war that killed hundreds of thousands (to WWII's 60 million) and burned cities and nations, that couldn't have been avoided by a decisive, earlier, far less bloody (yet probably unpopular in some quarters), act of intervention or preemption on the part of one of the players?

Peter UK said...

Here is a piece which ties the some of the threads together Zarqawi and the latte drinking surrender monkeys

terrye said...


For symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome one needs look no further than the Kennedy clan.

And I could say some really nasty things about Clinton.

Partisan politics can make people stupid.

the sad think is these people hate the Republicans enough they would rather see Saddam back in power and the US shamed than see democracy in Iraq.


Buddy Larsen said...

Terrye, reading Prospero it becomes more clear. The whole thing is about atonement within the religion of White Guilt. WG can't quite grasp the meaning of arrogance--its actual sin--therefore the atonement has to be universal, without limit and totally destructive (which of course must ipso-facto also require atonement, but let's not get too far ahead of the WGs--they get really frustrated and vindictive).

Peter UK said...

Just one amendment,the liberal left are the shamen,it is we who they want to make atonement.
"We are are all guilty!" except them.
The day they give up their worldly goods and dedicate their lives to washing the feet of lepers,I will start listening to them.

Buddy Larsen said...

Peter, you're right, tho all in sheep's clothing, not all are sheep.

Peter UK said...

The opposition found out that the liberal left are sheep in wolves clothing.

Buddy Larsen said...

Har--good one!

Buddy Larsen said...

...like good theater pros, able to change rapidly between the first and second acts.