How We Are Winning in Iraq

This is how you fight terrorists... by winning hearts and minds; and by making it safe for civilians to speak out against the terrorists:

This time last year, even most military people concluded that Anbar Province was irretrievably lost to al Qaeda. But General Petreaus was not ready to give up: A few short months ago, he told Anbar’s traditional leaders, the tribal sheiks, that if they’d ally with the U.S., their people and their lands would be liberated from al Qaeda’s “occupation.”

They agreed. Since then al Qaeda terrorists by the score have been killed, captured, and driven out of Anbar. Mneimneh wondered: How would the sheiks and religious scholars justify this alliance to themselves and their people? To put it bluntly, how would they explain partnering with infidels against fellow Muslims?

He found the answer in numerous sermons and publications — everything from books to blogs and websites. The truth, he discovered is that most Iraqis, unlike so many Westerners, do blame al Qaeda for the carnage al Qaeda has carried out. And most Iraqis have not embraced al Qaeda’s brand of Islam, with its barbarism — e.g. the murder of children to teach their parents obedience — and ultra-fundamentalism.

What’s more, Iraqis were deeply offended by al Qaeda leaders — almost all of them foreigners — saying their interpretation of Islam is flawed and inadequate, as has been that of their families and clans for generations. Mneimneh reports that Iraqi clerics have responded by calling al Qaeda’s version of Islam “excessive and unfair.”

To express such views while al Qaeda militants were walking the streets would have brought severe reprisals. But over the past few months, as the surge has been making progress, and as more Iraqis have felt more secure, they have been articulating these views loudly and clearly. Mneimneh believes they are being heard beyond Anbar, beyond Iraq and even beyond the Middle East. “This is coming out,” he emphasized.
This is why General Petraeus' strategy is working. And that's why the Party of the Donkey is both convinced and concerned that he will deliver a mostly positive report next month... convinced because they see it happening, as much as they wish it wasn't; concerned because to say they are heavily invested in American failure in Iraq is a gross understatement.

Now, if we can keep the Donkeys from pulling the rug out from under General Petraeus, perhaps we can bring our troops home soon--the right way!