Cleaning out "the worst place in the world"
W. Thomas Smith Jr. makes a case for the impending defeat of the Iraqi insurgency today on National Review Online.
Col. Ron Johnson, commander of the 24th MEU, tells NRO that the operations have been seamless and effective. "We can tell by the reaction of the enemy," he says. "We can tell by the increase in their activity, for example the fever pitch at which they're laying IEDs [improvised explosive devices]. We're starting to suffocate them, and they're panicking. We have a large target list, and we're going to continue to stay after them."Another NRO contributor, Victor Hanson, has warned over the past few months that the final battles of a given campaign are often the bloodiest -- and these final battles often take place while the participants don't realize that their cause is nearly realized. Says Capt Nevers, the spokesman for the 24th MEU:
"This fight requires patience and persistence, and we have it in abundance. Time is on our side, not the enemy's. With each passing day, the Iraqi security forces get stronger and the day the Iraqi people are in full control of their destiny draws nearer."Perhaps the vast majority of the world thinks about elections in the wrong way. Sunni politicians, Kurdish politicians, the Arab League, the Europeans, even today, the Wall Street Journal, all see elections as some sort of reward to be bequeathed to an already stable society, rather than viewing them as a stabilizing influence on a society that could either move toward modernity or sink back into the dark ages. More than likely, the truth is that elections can have either effect -- stabilizing when properly conducted and supported, and fractious when a mere half-hearted effort is applied on their behalf. If that is the case, then we have much to look forward to: Statements like Capt Nevers' above show that the United States' dual political and military strategy for securing and stabilizing Iraq will use the election as a powerful tool to fight the insurgency. Rather than the destabilizing death knell or the panacea that critics are tempted to find, the US will ensure that elections are the political embodiment of a 22-month military campaign: the war continued by other means, to turn Clausewitz on his head. The Adventures of Chester predicts that the Iraqi elections will not be postponed.