AQ, Obama and Kissinger – time to change those premises

On the day combat tours in Iraq were cut from 15 to 12 months we hear this:

The leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and several of his top lieutenants have recently left Iraq for Afghanistan, according to group leaders and Iraqi intelligence officials, a possible further sign of what Iraqi and U.S. officials call growing disarray and weakness in the organization.

U.S. officials say there are indications that al-Qaeda is diverting new recruits from going to Iraq, where its fighters have suffered dramatic setbacks, to going to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they appear to be making gains.

So tell me again how Iraq was a ‘diversion’ from the main fight against AQ in Afghanistan?

And tell me again how Iraq wasn’t, in fact, the “central front” in the fight against AQ?

AQ obviously thought it was, committed vastly more terrorists to its effort there than Afghanistan, openly called it the “central front” in its war against the US and is now diverting its assets from that effort because it has become an unmitigated disaster for them.

On a related subject, Dr. Henry Kissinger makes a stab at diplomatically pointing the out the obvious to the Obama campaign and the Democrats:

The U.S. presidential campaign has been so long and so intense that it seems to operate in a cocoon, oblivious to changes that should alter its premises. A striking example is the debate over withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Over the past year, many have proposed setting a deadline for withdrawal. Proponents have argued that a date certain would compel the Iraqi government to accelerate the policy of reconciliation; would speed the end of the war; and would enable the United States to concentrate its efforts on more strategically important regions, such as Afghanistan. Above all, they argued, the war was lost, and withdrawal would represent the least costly way to deal with the debacle.

These premises have been overtaken by events. Almost all objective observers agree that major progress has been made on all three fronts of the Iraq war: Al-Qaeda, the Sunni jihadist force recruited largely from outside the country, seems on the run in Iraq; the indigenous Sunni insurrection attempting to restore Sunni predominance has largely died down; and the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad has, at least temporarily, mastered the Shiite militias that were challenging its authority. After years of disappointment, we face the need to shift gears mentally to consider emerging prospects of success.


Establishing a deadline is the surest way to undermine the hopeful prospects. It will encourage largely defeated internal groups to go underground until a world more congenial to their survival arises with the departure of American forces. Al-Qaeda will have a deadline against which to plan a full-scale resumption of operations. And it will give Iran an incentive to strengthen its supporters in the Shiite community for the period after the American withdrawal. Establishing a fixed deadline would also dissipate assets needed for the diplomatic endgame.

Shorter version – “The facts have changed but your position hasn’t. It makes you look stubborn and unwilling to admit your mistakes. Isn’t that your criticism of George Bush?”

Kissinger goes on to point out that he is a friend of McCain’s and occasionally advises him. But his point is valid regardless of any relationship. Timelines have no business being considered in what is emerging as a success for the reasons Kissinger outlines.

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