One hundred years from now, 2007 will be known as the year of the US Military. Last year was the year we turned around the war on Islamic terror and put al Queda on the defensive. Putin should not be the Time man of the year and neither should General Petraeus (all though he would have been a much better choice).
In my book the 2007 “People of the Year” are the heroes of our Military. Those men and women who have been overseas protecting our asses. These are the people who put Osama and his band of criminals on the run…these are also the people whose successes are being ignored by the MSM:
January 2, 2008 — AS 2007 drew to a close, embarrassed journalists sought to play down American military successes and avoided questioning Democratic presidential contenders about their predictions of inevitable failure in Iraq.
Magically, Iraq disappeared from the headlines – except on those rare occasions when a problem could be reported. At the close of a year of stunning progress, media stories on New Year’s Eve leapt to report that 2007 had been the deadliest year for US troops.
You had to read deep into the columns to learn that those casualties occurred in the first half of 2007, as we battled and defeated the terrorists and militias – or that, in recent months, American and Iraqi casualties have plummeted as a relative peace broke out.
Still, all that was just hushing up dirty family secrets in the media clan and an effort by left-leaning journalists and editors to protect the politicians they favor.
The greatest media story of 2007 was the one you never read (unless you read The Post): The year was a strategic catastrophe for Islamist terrorists – and possibly a historic turning point in the struggle against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
While al Qaeda in Iraq can still launch suicide missions, such acts now serve only to further alienate the Iraqi people, who’ve come to hate the grisly foreign interlopers with a passion you have to encounter first-hand to appreciate.
That fundamental change in outlook, especially among Sunni Arabs, may well mark last year as Islamist terrorism’s high-water mark, the point at which fellow Muslims by the tens of millions publicly rejected the message and methods of self-styled holy warriors who revel in the slaughter of the innocent.
Tens of thousands of fellow Muslims, previously allied with al Qaeda, turned their weapons against the fanatics. It was the biggest global story since 9/11. And it was buried on Page 14, if mentioned at all.
Many factors came together to transform Iraq, including the fierce and incisive leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, the effectiveness of a new breed of subordinate commanders honed by war, the psychological impact of the troop surge and the pervasive Iraqi weariness of violence and destruction – a strategic mood swing.
Yet, for all that, the greatest strategic development – which will reverberate for years to come – was the Arab-Muslim repudiation of al Qaeda, an organization that claims to be the champion of Sunni Islam.
Islamist terrorism isn’t going to go away, of course. Countries from Algeria to Pakistan are newly endangered as fanatics turn from futile attempts to defeat America to punishing local populations. We’ll still see decades of bombings and assassinations.
But Islamist terrorism is no longer viewed as a solution by the masses of the Middle East.
That self-tormented region will struggle for decades with its religious civil wars. And terrorists may still muster the ability to strike the American homeland again in the hope of reinvigorating their cause.
But 2007 may have been to the struggle against Islamofascism what 1943 was to the Second World War: the year in which it became clear that, no matter how long the war lasted, civilization’s enemies couldn’t win.
The lack of attention paid to the disaster that befell the terrorist cause – essentially acknowledged by Osama bin Laden’s “holiday” audio tape – is as if, in 1943, the Allied media hadn’t reported any Axis defeats.
Instead, as Iraq improved, we only heard how things were turning bad in Afghanistan. Political and media critics of our efforts to defeat Islamist terror attempt to discourage the American people (and voters) by downplaying progress anywhere and by raising the bar for success impossibly high.
As this column has maintained for years, Afghanistan is never going to become Iowa. Much of the country is still decades away from the electric light. Impoverished, backward and torn by three decades of war, it just isn’t going to meet civics-class norms anytime soon.
But the essential question regarding Afghanistan isn’t how closely Kandahar resembles Des Moines this week, but simply this: “Is Afghanistan a better place today, for the Afghan people and for our own security, than it was 9/10/01, when religious fanatics ruled the country and al Qaeda had a homeland?”
The answer, of course, is “Yes!”
But that won’t do for journalists or pols who’ve staked their reputations and careers on America’s failure. And now we’re seeing a shift to declaring all our efforts in vain because of the rising terror threat in Pakistan.
Well, we helped create that situation – not because we supported Gen. Musharraf, but because we undercut him by insisting that his government share power with some of the most corrupt politicians in the world, including the cynical, unscrupulous and incompetent Benazir Bhutto.
(How many chances does a political leader deserve to wreck his or her country? Bhutto had two and left an astonishing legacy of malfeasance.)
The bottom line on 2007 is simply this: While many in the media want you to believe it was another disaster for the United States, it was the worst year for the terrorists since 2001.
Much could still go wrong, of course, in Iraq and elsewhere. We should never underestimate the genius for self-destruction ingrained in Middle-Eastern mentalities. And Islamist terror, to some degree, will be with us throughout our lifetimes.
But in 2007 we saw how superficial Muslim support really was for al Qaeda and its ilk. We learned that bloodthirsty fanatics who invoke religion can – and will – be defeated.
And we should have learned the utility of fighting, instead of letting liberal-elite America-haters inflict their defeatist agenda on our country and the world.
If the forces of civilization and freedom do as well in 2008 as they did in 2007, we’ll all have a great deal to celebrate next New Year’s Eve.
Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Wars of Blood and Faith.”