Morning Report: 2008-11-14

Unmistakable signs of progress, and a change of focus, in the war on terror.

"The war is over and we won." So says Michael Yon thru Instapundit:

Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. I've been walking my feet off and haven't seen anything. I've been asking Iraqis, 'do you think the violence will kick up again,' but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they're usually dour." There's a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that's a threat to the general situation. Plus, not only the Iraqi Army, but even the National Police are well thought of by the populace. Training from U.S. toops has paid off, he says, in building a rapport.

He says the big problem everybody is talking about now is corruption. But hey, we have that here, too. He'll be heading to Afghanistan next week. "Afghanistan is a bad situation, but on Iraq I can't believe things have turned out so well."

Voters more optimistic than ever about war on terror, Rasmussen says. Another grim milestone for the MSM: Rasmussen reports:

Voter confidence in the War on Terror has reached its highest level ever, with 60% now saying the United States and its allies are winning, according to the first Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey on the issue since Election Day. ...

Just 15% of voters say the terrorists are winning the War on Terror, which is the lowest level seen in tracking history dating back to April 2004. Another 18% say neither side is winning.

BTW, the paragraph at my ellipsis discusses lower voter confidence in "bringing the troops home from Iraq" during Obama's term, in case you were wondering. But that's a separate issue from winning or losing the WOT; and see Instapundit's comment. Shmuel Rosner at Commentary says: 'With more than two months until inauguration day–if these trends continue–it’s possible that all Obama will have to do by the time he takes the oath is to promise a continuation of Bush’s winning policies in Iraq.'

Britain to send 2,000 more troops to Afghanistan ... per request. The Telegraph:

The Government is considering sending extra reinforcements in order to meet an anticipated request from Barack Obama, the US president-elect, after he takes office in January, according to the BBC.

US strikes in Pakistan to continue. Bill Roggio at The Standard:

The U.S. military has struck yet again inside Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas. U.S. Predators hit an al Qaeda safe house in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. Twelve people, including five “foreigners” were killed in the attack.
The strike occurred just one day after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari protested the attacks. “It’s undermining my sovereignty and it’s not helping win the war on the hearts and minds of people,” Zardari said in an interview. On the same day, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry described the attacks as a “violation of international law.”
But the United States is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this issue. On one hand, the attacks risk destabilizing Pakistan’s government and turn Pakistanis toward the extremists. On the other, U.S. intelligence strongly believes al Qaeda has regrouped in the tribal areas and is actively plotting strikes against the West, using men with Western passports.

Commentary. Tony Bey recommends Michael Rubin's article at Forbes arguing against the strategy of trying to "pry Syria away from Iran". Rubin:

It is tempting to believe that U.S. diplomacy can flip Syria. The last rejectionist Arab state, Syria is a lynchpin not only in the Arab-Israeli peace process, but also in efforts to resolve Iraqi insurgency and Lebanese instability. Alas, as audacious as Obama's hope might be, Syria cannot be flipped. It may be fashionable to blame Bush for the failure to seize a Damascus olive branch, but the real problem has less to do with any U.S. administration and much more to do with Arab history and political culture.

For more than a millennium, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo have competed for the leadership of the Arab world. ...

Diplomats seeking to flip Assad are asking him to commit political suicide. Syria has less than 20 million citizens to Egypt's 80 million; for Damascus to work in the same coalition as Cairo is to subordinate itself to it. Absent the crisis of resistance, Assad has little reason to justify rule by his Alawite clan, a minority Shiite sect, among a disenfranchised Sunni Arab majority.

Go read it all.