In the case of Iraq, you get Osama bin Laden criticizing his followers. In a public forum. And, more to the point, a lot of angry, determined, Iraqi sheiks.
Taking a look at what doesn't make the headlines, it's obvious that American leaders and the rest of the coalition have much less time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat than headlines suggest.
The commanding officer of Regimental Combat Team-6, Colonel Richard Simcock, recently said, "... we get all sorts of congressional visitors who are looking for the 'Anbar' story, and let me tell you what I tell them: we are winning, but we have not yet won." [emphasis is mine]
Colonel Simcock made that statement in "Interview with Col. Richard Simcock," on military.com: ("Benefiting the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard").
The Iraq he described, at least Fallujah and the rest of the Anbar Province, is not the bomb-ravaged, fanatic-infested, America-hating, hopeless case that we've heard so much about.
The Iraqis he deals with sound a lot like most of the people I know, here in America:
"Q -- What do the local citizens want -- either from their mayor or from us?
A -- They want the same things in Fallujah as we have in America; health care, education, and technology. They want good schools, markets with food and stuff to buy, along with electricity to run their computers, air conditioners, and businesses."
The assassination of Sheik Sattar Abu Rishi (also Latinized as Sheik Sattar Abu Risha) had an effect: but not the one Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) intended.
Colonel Simcock said, "... they are not intimidated. They saw it as a very tragic event.
"It had the opposite effect that AQI wanted. AQI's message was “Look what happens when you work with the Americans, you wind up dead.” That is not what I am getting from the sheiks that I work with in AO Raleigh, it is just the opposite. They are saddened, but they are angry and makes them work with more energy to get to the same end state that we are trying to reach."
I strongly recommend reading all of "Interview with Col. Richard Simcock." Particularly if you've just heard the latest car bombing scores.
Doing research for this post, I ran into some unfamiliar acronyms used by the American military, and their definitions, from mytroops.com and michaeltotten.com:
|AQI||Al Qaeda in Iraq|
|AO||Area of Operations|
|ISF||Iraqi Security Forces|
|MiTT||Military Transition Team|