July 6, 2007
Winning Does Not Equal Losing, Ms. Phillips
Yesterday, Power Line posted this gloomy view by Melanie Phillips on the war against global hirabah (unholy war). I like Melanie and read her blog regularly; I think she is very insightful. But like Mark Steyn and Robert Spencer, her world view is far too pessimistic -- every silver lining has a dark cloud before it. Phillips was talking about the recent BBC's attempt to legitimize Hamas at the wake of their reporter, Alan Johnston's release:
And this Hamas coup is in turn but one part of a broader strategy. Hamas is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. All over the world, the Brotherhood is behind the pincer movement of jihad through terrorism and jihad through cultural capture. And manipulation is the name of the game it plays. It creates terrorist or insurrectionary pressure; it then poses as the ‘honest broker’ peacemaker; it thus turns its victims into its supplicants and can then turn the ratchet still further. It played this game in France, when the French government implored the Brotherhood imams to restore order in the wake of the Muslim riots in the banlieues (riots that it said were ‘nothing to do with Islam’). It has played it over Alan Johnston. And it is playing it in Britain and the US, where its proxies have been pushing hard for ‘engagement’ with the Brotherhood as an antidote to al Qaeda -- and where, with the British and American political elite now in such moral, intellectual and political disarray, it is now succeeding.
We are losing.
This is absurd: We are not "losing." On the contrary, I even venture to say that we are quite clearly winning by any objective metric.
For one thing, look at the pathetic terror attempts by those “doctors” in the United Kingdom. With all their neurosurgery brainpower, all they could come up with was a couple car bombs and a crash. And failed attempts at that!
Blowing up cars used to be al-Qaeda’s specialty. If they cannot even do that, it tells you how depleted their personnel resources must be. The MSM often deride our military as having a hard time recruiting young people (which is not true, by the way). But I wonder how well al-Qaeda’s recruitment office could possibly be doing with the slogan, “Be all you can be -- blow yourself up for a lost cause!”
Compared to this, the UK’s intelligence office is doing a remarkable job. Whatever Melanie has to say, even she must admit the swift arrest of dozens of terrorists by the UK police was quite impressive.
It is no coincidence that no terrorist attack has succeeded in the United States since 2001. The greatest strategic asset terrorists rely upon is the element of surprise; that is the only thing they have going for them. But once we're on our guard, we can roll up their operations pretty swiftly.
This is true throughout the West. A few days after the March, 2004 Madrid train bombing in Spain, Spanish authorities moved quickly to foil successive attempts by the same terrorist cell, which would have caused a lot more damage than the initial train attack. No terrorist attacks have succeeded in Spain since then; just as none has succeeded in Great Britain since the 7/7 terrorist bombing of 2005 and quite a few have been thwarted.
Once the element of surprise is gone, terrorists cannot succeed in the Western world. All they can achieve today is blowing up the only place where they still have local support: their own home turf, the ummah. But the strategy of "fouling your own nest" cannot continue indefinitely: If you keep blowing up your friends and neighbors, your popularity may suffer.
Consider Iraq, where more and more Sunni tribal leaders and tribesmen are turning against al-Qaeda.
The same thing is happening to Taliban in Afghanistan. Remember the "spring offensive" which they so loudly announced back in January? Have you heard what came of it? Well, it fizzled. But the NATO "winter-spring-summer offensive" has not let up from last December through today; we have already killed more than 2,000 Taliban fighters just since January, compared to a scant 3,000 for all of 2006.
The Taliban never had a chance to regroup and attack; they're too busy running, hiding, and dying. Before they realized it, spring came and went; now it's summer, and the Taliban's position is worse than ever.
As Strategy page reported few days ago, the Taliban, which used to be an actual fighting force -- deploying armies and armor in the field -- now resorts to suicide bombings, rapidly causing them to lose what feeble local support they still had:
June 25, 2007: The Taliban has admitted defeat, in their own unique way. In recent media interviews, Taliban spokesmen announced a shift in emphasis to suicide bombings. The Taliban also admitted that the Americans had infiltrated their high command, which led to the death or capture of several senior Taliban officials, and the capture of many lower ranking ones as well. There have also been some prominent defections recently, which the Taliban spokesmen did not want to talk about. [Emphasis added.]
Also, according to the Asia Times, Pakistan is now cooperating with us more than ever before: Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf will now allow NATO itself to enter Pakistan in hot pursuit of al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents (hat tip to Power Line Forum poster RogerS):
Since last September, North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan have been pressing Islamabad for the right to conduct extensive hot-pursuit operations into Pakistan to target Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.
According to Asia Times Online contacts, NATO and its US backers have gotten their wish: coalition forces will start hitting targets wherever they might be.
Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is expected to make an important announcement on extremism during an address to the nation in the next day or two....
[T]he US was even prepared to withdraw its support of Musharraf, who seized power in 1999, but after a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney to Pakistan, the general remains in favor. Cheney’s office is believed to run the United States’ Pakistan policy.
The reasons are probably twofold: the US needs Pakistan’s support should it attack Iran (covert operations into Iran are reportedly already taking place from Pakistan), and the US is concerned over the revival of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan
I am not saying we should let our guard down; we must remain vigilant. But Melanie Phillips notwithstanding, there is good reason be optimistic.
We should have confidence in the moral and physical superiority of Western culture over the hirabah waged against the world. The irhabis (terrorists) will not win... because when it comes to fighting, killing, and conquest, we are the greatest culture that has ever existed.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, July 6, 2007, at the time of 5:04 PM
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The following hissed in response by: RBMN
I agree. The ones closest to the GWOT--the American military tracking down and killing AQ in Iraq at this very moment--are not impressed at all with AQI's military skill, or bravery. We're winning the battles, "neutralizing" them, and not falling for their booby traps. So I don't know why American civilians, half-a-world away from the frontline, should think they know more than, and deserve more pessimism than, our own American military. Our side's learned ten times as much about al-Qaeda over the last six years, than they've learned about us, and it's beginning to pay dividends. This is no time for the winning boxer to take a dive. Take a dive for what? So that al-Qaeda can lick their wounds and recover to fight again?
The following hissed in response by: Davod
1. Some may agree with you that the speed with which the Brit police rounded up the people in the UK is good thing. Then again, this could be an example of "round up the usual suspects" (Do not forget that the Brits can lock someone up without charge for some time, which means they can release most of these people without it being noticed by the media). Or alternatively, they had these guys pegged but not enough to stop them from possibly killing and maiming many.
2. I do, however, think we are winning this part of the war.
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
The problem with people like Phillips or Steyn or Spencer is that they will not consider any outcome a victory unless or until Islam itself is gone. And that is not going to happen any time soon.
People need to set realistic goals and I think that the West is doing that more and more. And as for the jihadis? Well, there is no such thing as an experienced suicide bomber.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
In the end, our winning won't matter, since our political leadership is scurrying to hand over the middle east to al Qaeda and Iran. Today, Lamar Alexander and Judd Gregg joined the Democrats call for surrender.
It's so incredible.
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