Iraq's prime minister said Saturday that the government has defeated terrorism in the country, a sign of growing confidence after recent crackdowns against Sunni extremists and Shiite militias.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched the crackdowns to extend the authority of the government over areas in Baghdad and elsewhere that have largely been under the control of armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"They were intending to besiege Baghdad and control it," al-Maliki said. "But thanks to the will of the tribes, security forces, army and all Iraqis, we defeated them."
He was speaking at ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the 2003 assassination of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, a leading opponent of Saddam Hussein who was killed in a truck bombing in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf after returning from exile in Iran.
Did you detect in there a startling, glaring omission? He says "the army" but he obviously doesn't mean the US Army or the US Marines--he means the Iraqi Army.
Does Maliki really think they've defeated terrorism? And in his premature "last throes" statement, did you hear him say anything about the sacrifice of American lives? Or the surge? Or of the American effort to make the Shia government reconcile with the Sunnis? Maliki tears the rug out from under Bush and McCain and laughs in the face of American sacrifice.
Americans have died--Americans have been wounded--Americans have spent months and years away from their families, making tremendous sacrifices in Iraq--and they don't rate a mention? The Prime Minister thinks his ragtag band of incompetent policemen--who regularly go AWOL, sell their weapons to insurgents and look the other way at death squads--did the trick? How many of his battalions can fight on their own? Without US assistance and without US troops bailing them out with helicopters and frantic convoys?
Outrageous. The timetable for US withdrawal can speed up now--to hell with a hundred year occupation. Why not pull our troops out by Christmas? The Iraqis defeated terrorism all by themselves, apparently. Why do our troops have to be there at all?