A short time ago, John Murtha, a powerful member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Defense, perhaps the most persistent critic of the war in Iraq, returned home and pronounced the surge a success, news that now is trickling down through the Democrat grapevine.
Murtha’s announcement is not likely to win him many friends in the frothing progressive community. His grudging admission, however, was attended with an important qualification: The political situation in Iraq is still a mess – no argument there. It is still being argued in some quarters, by presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd, among others, that American troops should quickly be withdrawn from Iraq. Dodd has proposed a withdrawal by March.
Those who believe that security and efficient politics in Iraq are unrelated have a quarrel with history that they cannot win. Even in Iraq, there are signs that the two are intimately related.
In a blog piece titled “What Happens After The Surge?” -- published both on his own site and in Pajama’s Media -- Omar Fadhil provides evidence of the vital connection.
The government, he notes, has begun to crack down on two pestiferous groups in Iraq: “… the Association of Muslim Scholars, an organization of Sunni clerics sympathetic to al-Qaeda and believed to have even been involved in leading, funding and hosting insurgent groups that have been responsible for countless attacks against Iraqis and Americans alike , and corrupt officials from Sadr’s movement and the Fadheela Party.”
The important datum is this: “Unlike previous operations, this one is different in that the troops were sent following a request submitted to the government by the department of Sunni endowment, an entity in charge of overseeing Sunni mosques and other religious activities. The chief of the Sunni endowment, Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour Samarraie, is a moderate Sunni cleric who has renounced the insurgency and explicitly accused the association of assisting al-Qaeda by justifying their murderous attacks against Iraqis.”
These are very hopeful signs on what may be a road to political security in Iraq.
“In my opinion,” Fadhil writes, “what we’re seeing right now is an exploitation of the achievements of the surge strategy in the direction to establish rule of law-step by step.”
These are good tidings that ought to be more widely distributed. Perhaps Murtha should take a second look at the political changes in Iraq or, at the very least, take a trip to Fadhil’s site.