Friday, September 14, 2007

An Inconvenient Death

The President’s speech writer had to make a last-minute addition to his TV talk tonight about “the way forward” in Iraq.

Right after “The changes in Anbar show all Iraqis what becomes possible when extremists are driven out,” he had to add “Earlier today, one of the brave tribal sheiks who helped lead the revolt against al-Qaeda was murdered.” Abu Risha was the head of the Anbar Awakening Council with whom the President had posed for a smiling picture just 10 days ago.

“This is a tragic loss," Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, said of the Sunni sheik's death. "It shows how significant his importance was and it shows al-Qaeda in Iraq remains a very dangerous and barbaric enemy."

By the inverted logic that is by now so familiar, the assassination of the key man in our Anbar “victory” proves how desperate the defeated enemy has become.

As a reminder that we are fighting on at least two fronts, another U.S. general said today that an attack on our headquarters garrison this week was carried out with the kind of 240 mm rocket that Iran provides to Shiite extremists.

One person was killed and 11 wounded in the attack Tuesday at Camp Victory, the headquarters of Multinational Forces-Iraq, by a rocket from a Baghdad district infiltrated by breakaway factions of the Mahdi Army militia of Muqtada al-Sadr.

For anyone keeping score, that keeps the Sunni and Shiite murderers tied in what the President tonight termed “the gains we are making” in Iraq. But as he reassured us, it’s going to be a long contest, even if it has to go into overtime.

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