The Blog

Consensus Response to bin Laden: Surge is Working

6:46 PM, Oct 22, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

John McCain put out the following statement in response to Osama's latest jibba jabba:

"The release of another purported Osama bin Laden audio recording reminds us that he and his henchmen must be hunted down and the al Qaeda terror network destroyed. But bin Laden's return to the airwaves to beg for unity in al Qaeda's terror campaign in Iraq is evidence of our success in Iraq, where we have effectively driven al Qaeda from Anbar province, and have them on the run elsewhere. That is a great credit to General Petraeus and the brave Americans he has the honor to command. Evidently, bin Laden has concluded what surge opponents Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the leading Democratic presidential candidates seem incapable of acknowledging: Our troop surge has put al Qaeda on the defensive and security in Iraq -- which bin Laden's top lieutenant calls al Qaeda's central battlefront -- has improved. We will succeed if we don't lose our resolve."

Interestingly, this is much the same analysis offered by Richard Clarke:

"It's always good news when they are divided," said Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism adviser, now an ABC News consultant. "It's reflective that U.S. tactics are having some success."

As Senators McCain and Lieberman wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last month,

The Bush administration clung for too long to a flawed strategy in this war, despite growing evidence of its failure. Now advocates of withdrawal risk making the exact same mistake, by refusing to re-examine their own conviction that Gen. Petraeus's strategy cannot succeed and that the war is "lost," despite rising evidence to the contrary.

The Bush administration finally had the courage to change course in Iraq earlier this year… [It's time for] congressional opponents of the war to do the same.

Now that Richard Clarke's statements are starting to sound a lot like those from John McCain, maybe congressional opponents of the war really will change course. Clarke, after all, is an adviser to Barack Obama. Does Obama see the same evidence of success in Iraq?

Also worth noting was this analysis of the bin Laden tape from a friend of the WWS:

The major shift in this tape that no one is noting yet is that UBL is publicly admitting that mistakes were made regarding the conduct of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). He also more or less admits that AQI screwed things over there. This is a major shift in his rhetoric and I think reflects two things: 1) He's well-established enough that he can start admitting mistakes and 2) The situation in Iraq is not going as planned and he needs to get at the forefront of that to start revising history in real-time. Look for Zarqawi (who is safely deceased and hence unable to comment) to play the role of the scapegoat.

To which our friend Michael Tanji responded: "I'm sorry did you just say 'Usama Lied, Jihadists Died'?"