Occasionally, a national news organization will take a step away from advocacy and attempt to present useful news. Brian Lehrer who hosts his eponymous show on NPR and WNYC, in conjunction with Bobby Ghosh, the Baghdad bureau chief for Time magazine, deserve credit for attempting to shed light on the current status of the troop surge in Baghdad. Ghosh is in Baghdad and made his first report last Thursday; today was Part II, with two more to follow. Brian Lehrer asked about the comments made by several of the Democratic candidates to the effect that we need to withdraw most of our troops and confine our efforts to fighting al Qaeda. Ghosh's response was surprising and should receive wide dissemination.
Ghosh started by describing how the Sunni tribes have been breaking their ties with al Qaeda and forging alliances with the Americans in Iraq. He offers several reasons for this and does not hesitate to describe the current alliances as based more on bottom line utility than any profound philosophical awakening to the value of Democracy. He also points out that the recent statements repudiating al Qaeda by the leader of the Sunni scholars and Imams in Iraq is extremely significant. His conclusions are striking. He makes it quite clear that any efforts to withdraw would endanger all of these advances. The tribes, for purposes of self preservation, would not only immediately drop out of the fight against al Qaeda, but the Sunni provinces would in short order become al Qaeda mini-states, offering a source of manpower, training, funding, and support that they currently do not have anywhere in the developed world.
Anyone want to give odds that we will actually see these conclusions addressed to the Democratic candidates at their next debate? Or that such facts on the ground will actually be part of the debate over the war sure to follow General Petreaus's report on our progress due in September?
The bad news comes courtesy of Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley. You might think the headline offers more good news, but you would be mistaken: