January 6, 2006
Over 180 people have been killed by suicide bombs in central Iraq in the past few days, a sudden and terrible escalation of violence. In Muqdadiyah, near the border with Iran, at least 42 mourners at a funeral were killed. In Ramadi, at least 80 Sunni Muslims at a police recruitment center were killed by two suicide bombers in rapid succession. In Karbala, 54 Shiite Muslims were killed outside the Imam Hussein mosque. To some extent, this represents outrage felt by Sunni Arabs at having lost the December 15 elections; many of them persist in the delusion fostered by Saddam Hussein that they are really the majority in Iraq. By all appearances, the desperate attempt to derail the ongoing transition by triggering a civil war is backfiring, as the Sunnis realize that they would certainly lose in such a bloodbath. More and more Sunnis are turning against the Al Qaeda-affiliated Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which may mean the end of the insurgents' dreams of terrorizing U.S. forces out of Iraq. Today's Washington Post and strategypage.com both describe the collapse in political support for the terrorists among all factions in Iraq. What it really signifies is the breakdown in the tacit alliance between the religiously-motivated Al Qaeda faction and the ethnic Sunni-based faction composed of Baath regime remanents. This "silver lining" around the dark cloud of horrific mass death has truly decisive implications for achieving a meaningful victory over the Islamofascist menace: If they can't win in Iraq, they can't win anywhere. One insurgent leader bragged that President Bush's plan to reduce U.S. force levels is proof that their side is winning, but what else would you expect the losers to say? At any rate, one should refrain from jumping to conclusions about the motives behind such attacks. Terrorism is inherently murky, and often irrational. Paying close attention to the rhetoric of terrorists is a fool's errand.
The situation is not quite so auspicious on the home front, however. Tony Blankley, former speechwriter for Newt Gingrich, worries about the absence of national unity in Real Clear Politics. He points out that Islamofascists draw courage from partisan divisiveness in the United States, and draws a link between the weak commitment to the national good and the "me first" attitude that is behind recent corruption scandals and pork barrel excesses committed by the Republican-led Congress. It is a provocative and rather compelling point to consider. Interestingly, he lays some of the blame on President Bush, which I think is appropriate, though Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog thinks otherwise.
Fifty nine American soldiers lost their lives in Iraq last month, bringing the total number of U.S. combat fatalities there to 2,163. Over the past twelve months, 833 American service men and women were killed in action, compared to 848 in 2004. May all Americans come to understand and appreciate the cause for which our braves soldiers sacrificed their lives.