Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Road Ahead

Hat tip to Donald Sensing, who links to the Braden Files:

The Army has more attacks because their AOR encompasses Baghdad and the surrounding areas where the bulk of the attacks have taken place. I've noticed the press does a poor job in reporting our response to these ambushes. To put it plainly, we kick butt! The usual 'real' report reads: "Five IZ (Iraqis) fired AK-47s and RPGs at patrol (or convoy), soldiers (or marines) returned fire resulting in 3 KIA, and 1 WIA, 1 escaped. RPGs missed, AK fire ineffective, no US casualties."

That's the ratio in ambushes. Where the US forces are doing the ambushing things are very bad for the terrorists. The Belmont Club's informal analysis is that about 60 perps are killed or captured each day, based on a sample of operations and known operational tempo. And that doesn't include what doesn't get reported. The most recent celebrity perp to fall is Chemical Ali, who was captured several days ago but kept out of the news while followup contacts were prosecuted. Although each American death is a tragedy, the terrorists are losing badly in the ruthless arithmetic of the battlefield.

Ralph Peters thinks the Islamists are whistling past the graveyard now. Despite a maximum effort to flood Iraq with every terrorist in Arabia, the number of US combat deaths has continued to decline, forcing them to switch to targeting the UN.

It's ugly. But it's an indicator of their weakness, not of strength. Demoralized by constant defeats, our enemies have become alarmed by the quickening pace of reconstruction. Consequently, we will see more attacks on infrastructure, on international aid workers and on Iraqis laboring to rebuild their country. We'll also see al Qaeda and other terrorist groups become the senior partners among our enemies, as Ba'athist numbers and capabilities dwindle. There is more innocent blood to come ...

Like 9/11, the Canal Hotel attack, though impressive at the moment, will prove another disaster for the terrorists. Our enemies are frantically trying to prove to the people of Iraq and the world that they remain powerful and viable. But they aren't powerful or viable: They're reduced to a faltering program of assassinations, blowing up aid workers and infrastructure attacks that will alienate the people of Iraq. Any support they gain through such actions will be negligible, while the anger they have rekindled can only harm their cause.

The Pacific War was essentially over in 1942 after the Imperial Japanese Navy was hurled back in the Solomons and at Midway. Japan was doomed from that point. Yet the hardest fighting and worst bloodletting was still to come -- Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Saipan, the Philippines, Okinawa -- and so it may be today. Radical Islam may have shot its bolt, but a long and bloody road remains ahead. The enemy, still unfought, holds many strong positions in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Central Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. Peace will come as surely as the sun will rise. But for now we must remember Churchill's words:

"Death and sorrow will be the companion of our journey; hardship our garment; constancy and valour our only shield."