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."
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.)
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?