Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Good News from the 'Nightmare Without an End'

In spite of General Sanchez's gloomy account of the situation in Iraq as a "nightmare with no end in sight," even critics of the war seem to be coming around to the point of view that we are winning there.

In today's New York Post, John Podhoretz takes note of the significance of two of the Washington Post's staunchest critics of the war, collaborating on an article reporting encouraging signs that Al Qaeda in Iraq may really be on its last legs:


October 16, 2007 -- TO the extent it can be said that news from an active war zone can be good, we're now into the third month of good news from Iraq.

It's not just that violence has receded in the most dangerous places both for American soldiers and Iraqis, though it has by every measure.

It is that the good guys are making genuine advances for the first time against the enemy in a war zone where there is no conventional battlefield - a war in which it is, by definition, difficult to measure gains as we're used to measuring them, by the amount of territory captured or controlled.

report in yesterday's Washington Post says flatly: "The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al Qaeda in Iraq in recent months."

This sentence is significant for two reasons.

First, it has not been the habit of the U.S. military to offer happy-talk assessments of our strategic position in Iraq - certainly not since 2003. Politicians, yes. Washington officials, yes. Conservative journalists and pundits (alas), yes. But not the U.S. military itself.

Second, the sentence was written by Thomas Ricks and Karen De Young.

They are, respectively, the lead military correspondent and the lead foreign-affairs correspondent for The Washington Post - and they have been the most pointedly pessimistic and negative voices among the informed U.S. media on the subject of the war in Iraq.

Both occupy a vaunted position - though not officially opinion writers, they plainly have wide latitude to write "news" stories that openly reflect their own views as much as they do the views of those they quote.

Ricks is the author of "Fiasco," a powerful and sobering book on the failures of the first two years of the war. De Young's view of the changing U.S. strategy in Iraq has been relentlessly downbeat.

Read the rest of Podhoretz's article here.

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