Just 4 1/2 years of our war against al-Qaeda started, its leaders are stateless, its foot soldiers dead or on the run, and it’s hated by its co-religionists. While there’s still plenty to go wrong in Iraq, the MSM claims of civil war turn out to be false and its politicians are building their democracy faster than Japan and Germany did. Strategy Page explains why (my ellipsis).
The End Of MSM Monopoly
…the terrorists were looking…to re-create images similar to those of American troops being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 or Walter Cronkite calling the Vietnam War a stalemate in 1968. It was hoped that such a moment would cause a dramatic drop in support for the war among the American people and force the United States out of Iraq.
But the lefty MSM no longer monopolizes what people see and hear – talk radio, Fox News and the blogosphere have seen to that.
…while al Qaeda hit its target, the effect was grossly minimized due to the fact that the “silent majority” now had tools by which they could be heard. The media created a false picture after the 1968 Tet Offensive, but was unable to do the same in Iraq.
Underestimating Their Enemy
al Qaeda assumed that the posture of the Clinton Administration…would continue. Instead, the Bush Administration went after al Qaeda’s host (the Taliban regime Afghanistan), then proceeded to go after another regime that sponsored terrorism (Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq – as indicated by documents recovered after the liberation of Iraq in 2003).
Then, when the media firestorms hit, rather than fold as the Clinton Administration did after the CNN images were shown in 1993, the Bush Administration stayed the course.
Killing Iraqi Civilians
Unable to significantly damage coalition forces, al Qaeda adopted the IRA practice of killing unarmed civilians:
This was intended to intimidate them into at least acquiescing to al Qaeda’s presence, if not supporting al Qaeda at all.
It didn’t work. Instead, as the car bombs went off , and drew CNN headlines in the United States, al Qaeda managed to become more and more unpopular with Iraqis. Even the Arab Sunnis began to view the Americans, who had displaced them from the power they had held under Saddam, as a better option than supporting al Qaeda.
Eventually, the Sunnis joined the democratic process and when that happened, al Qaeda’s eventual defeat was assured with increasing Sunni participation over three elections in the space of less than a year.
al Qaeda comes from an 8th Century culture that does not innovate or manufacture, so was bound to lose out against modern forces. The latter adapted quickly to the new threats of the suicide bomber and the IED – 90% of IEDs are now detected and neutralized, most IED teams are killed or captured, and al Qaeda has given up on suicide attacks.
The rapid neutralization of these weapons owes a lot to the “two Is” – Israel and the Internet:
Particularly useful have been the technology and techniques for spotting suicide bombers before they can reach their targets. Israel developed all of this during the last four years, as they fought, and eventually defeated Palestinian terror organizations (that were sending hundreds of suicide bombers into Israel).
The Internet empowered coalition forces in 2 ways: front line bloggers and emailers got the real story out quickly and accurately, so equipment shortfalls were rapidly identified. And using the secure data network, after action reports on every terrorist attack and coalition countermeasure were shared immediately across the entire force.