HH: Yesterday, on CNN, Senator Joe Lieberman said we’ve got the enemy, al Qaeda, on the run. We’ve chased them out of Anbar Province. We’ve chased them now to Diyala. All of this is possible because of the surge. And then Michael Ware, whom I know you respect for his courage, went on with Anderson Cooper and said that I’m afraid that Senator Lieberman has taken an excursion into fantasy. Who’s telling the truth here, Michael Yon?
MY: Well, you know, al Qaeda’s not been wiped out of Iraq by any means, and there’s still some serious fighting to do. But what we have seen is if you give al Qaeda time, they will alienate the local population for us. So I mean, they almost prep it for us to get rid of them. You know, a lot of them that were not killed or captured here in Baquba in the last three weeks did move out to other places. So they’re not gone. I mean, so there’s some truth to what Mick Ware says. However, there are fewer and fewer hiding places for them to go. They can’t go to the south in Basra. They’re not welcome there. They can’t, there’s only a few places they can go to in Anbar, and those are drying up. There’s fewer places in Diyala, and what is left is drying up. They certainly cannot go to the Kurdish regions, because they will be killed. So they can still go to Nineveh, but the ISF in Nineveh is up where Mosul is the capitol. They can go up there, but the ISF, or the Iraqi Security Forces up there are pretty well advanced, and they can hold their own now, and I saw them doing it again earlier this year when I was back in Nineveh. You know, I spent a good part of 2005 up there. So you know, I’ve seen tremendous progress in different parts of Iraq, but this is not going to be solved in six months or a year. We’ve just got to settle in for the long haul, but you know, if you’ve been here long enough, you can see that progress is being made.
Read the whole thing here.
The problem is that there is very little likelihood that we will be able to sustain the troop levels required for the long haul past September, and as I noted in the previous post, many experts feel that a lower level of commitment just won't work.