Mark Bahnisch, academic:
The battle lines are relatively clear, with the right wing commentariat being the exemplars of tortured non sequiturs and ludicrous leaps of logic in the face of the collapse of the Iraq War. In any event, such voices are usually very muted (and fewer) now as reality has finally caught up with the faith based community. The probable election of a Rudd government will see the last embers of the fires of the Iraq War in Australian political debate die away very quickly, and hopefully we will have learned some lessons.
Yes; some writing lessons, in Mark’s case. Meanwhile, Peter Beaumont observes progress in Iraq:
In Mosul, which once hosted 21,000 US soldiers in the city, now only a single battalion, in the mid-hundreds, remains inside the city, matched by an equivalent drop in attacks. And it is not only in Mosul that security is improving. The sense that things are getting better is reflected in Nineveh Province. In two years US troop levels around Tal Afar, once the heartland of al-Qaeda, have been reduced from 6,000 to 1,200.
The general trend for acts of violence – despite some spikes – also has been steadily decreasing.
The Times has good news from Baghdad:
Fed up with being part of a group that cuts off a person’s face with piano wire to teach others a lesson, dozens of low-level members of al-Qaeda in Iraq are daring to become informants for the US military in a hostile Baghdad neighbourhood …
“They are turning. We are talking to people who we believe have worked for al-Qaeda in Iraq and want to reconcile and have peace,” said Colonel Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, which oversees the area.
And Iraq’s national security advisor Mowaffak Rubaie is also upbeat:
For those of us who actually live here, progress is visible to all but the most irreconcilable skeptics.