Remembering Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Former NYC mayor Ed Koch, a staunch 9/11 Democrat, announces in a column today that he has abandoned support for the Iraq War. Without the time to dissect his arguments, I can say his disillusionment is understandable to some extent. However, his conclusion have left out some important pieces of the puzzle. For example, Koch omits mention of al-Qaeda.
Yet ironically, we learn today through PajamasMedia:

The U.S. command said Wednesday the highest-ranking Iraqi in the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq has been arrested, adding that information from him indicates the group’s foreign-based leadership wields considerable influence over the Iraqi chapter.

Khaled Abdul-Fattah Dawoud Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, also known as Abu Shahid, was captured in Mosul on July 4, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a military spokesman. [emphasis added]

Add that to the recent release of the Zawahiri tape, the rapid progress in stabilizing al-Anbar, and the ongoing reports from independent journalist Michael Yon, and you get the picture that our new strategy in Iraq is making a serious dent into our savage foe. So why of all times lose one’s nerve on Iraq now? Give the surge a chance, and let’s assess the situation in September.


  1. lalo says

    Your evidence for progress is very strained, at best. And you omit other reports discussing our complete failure to pursue al-Qaida in Pakistan, and the accelerating civilian death toll in Iraq. One has to discard a lot of information to say “our new strategy in Iraq is making a serious dent.” And yes, I’ve read the sources you cite.

    “Give the surge a chance, and let’s assess the situation in September.”

    So if we don’t have clear evidence that things are improving two months from now, will you actually consider redeploying our troops elsewhere? I’m skeptical.

  2. says


    Neither you nor I is an expert in counterinsurgency theory and strategy. But from what I read from those who are, we have several key pieces of anecdotal evidence that it’s working. Is it still rough, complex, challenging, and difficult in Iraq? Yes.

    Are Iraqi civilian deaths from violent acts increasing? Not from what I’ve seen. Please provide a reasonable source.

    All that being said, wars aren’t clean and neat and easy affairs. They bring with them ups & downs. But there is at least enough evidence coming out of Iraq that the 1-month-old fully implemented surge strategy is indeed making progress. If you choose not to see it for ideological or political reasons, there’s not much I can do or say.

    And you can be skeptical all you want, but let’s at least get the September report to see if the new strategy is working first. I am willing to concede that we may need to change course in a different direction then, but what is disgusting is your Senator Harry Reid saying “the surge has failed” with no evidence, before it’s scarcely begun.

    Our failure to pursue al-Qaida in Pakistan has very little to do with what’s transpiring in Iraq. Please provide a reasonable source that shows otherwise.

    But ultimately it’s up to you to answer the honest question of what will happen if we concede and withdraw from Iraq and give the field over to al-Qaida, allowing them not only to have free rein of terror in Iraq but also to claim a propaganda victory that will improve their clout in the Middle East. If you can convince me that isn’t likely to happen by withdrawing our forces at this point, or that it is likely to happen but the best available outcome at this point, you will have won me over.


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