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August 24, 2007

The rehabilitation of William Shawcross

Notorious Vietnam era leftist, William Shawcross of Sideshow fame, who blamed the US for the killing fields of Cambodia, has apparently recanted his previous Cambodian assertions, and even better is now behind what we're trying to do in Iraq.

...Amid unbelievably bloody civil war which they would do everything possible to provoke,al-Qa’eda would try to reconstruct bases such as they had in Afghanistan before 9/11. They would be 1,000 miles closer to the West and in the midst of what is potentially one of the richest and most sophisticated countries in the world: very different from Afghanistan, very much more dangerous.

It need not be so. As we have run down our commitment so the Americans have courageously increased their own and have a policy that works. President Bush authorised General David Petraeus, one of America’s best soldiers, to conduct an entirely new strategy and ‘surge’ 30,000 more troops into Baghdad and the northern Sunni provinces. They have had a real and beneficial effect. In Baghdad the numbers of car bombs and the level of civilian casualties are down. Whole neighbourhoods are far safer than they have been for years.

I talked to Lieutenant-General Graeme Lamb, Petraeus’s British deputy, who has recently returned from a year in Iraq. ‘We are defeating the al-Qa’eda brand,’ he said. When he arrived a year ago US Marines were facing 80 attacks a day in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad, where the Sunni and al-Qa’eda uprising was fiercest. Al-Qa’eda seemed in control. The Americans reported that the province was virtually lost to the Marines. Local tribal leaders had fled to Jordan.

Not now. Al-Qa’eda atrocities have revolted the population. Slicing people’s faces off with piano wire, decapitating children, throwing the severed heads of their victims into the streets with the warning that no one be allowed to touch them — all this and more has not won hearts and minds...

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posted by Purp at 10:49 AM

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