What a remarkable image! Michael Yon describes the reopening of St. John's Church in Baghdad:
The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.Read Yon's account here.
Every day brings more and more reports of American and Iraqi successes in the battle against the insurgents and jihadis. For example this [ht, Instapundit]:
Sunni, Shiite tribes unite to fight Qaeda
By Abeer Diwani
Azzaman, November 7, 2007
A rare visit by a delegation representing Sunni tribes in the Province of Anbar to the predominantly Shiite Province of Qadissiya is yet another signal that Iraqis are keen to put an end to sectarian strife.
The Anbar delegation included major Sunni tribes who have formed a coalition and raised a tribal force to check Qaeda influence in their areas.
Anbar was the main stronghold of Qaeda in Mesopotamia but reports say the terror group’s influence there is receding.
The delegation held talks with tribal chiefs in Qadissiya Province centered on national reconciliation.
Ramadi, Anbar’s provincial capital, was for long a no-go area for Iraqi and U.S. troops as Qaeda fighters were almost in total control of its streets and districts.
Diwaniya, Qadissiya’s provincial capital, is currently one of the most restive cities in southern Iraq due to infighting among disparate Shiite militia groups.
Sheikh Mohammed Shaalan said both Sunni and Shiite tribes in the two provinces have vowed to bring national reconciliation to success.
Read it here.
Put them all together and you have something that looks a lot like (dare I say it?) "Victory"!
Don Surber, no shrinking violet he, writes:
Victory, man, it is spelled V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.
I am not saying that this is the end and everyone lives happily ever after. It took the French 10-15 years of going through a few republics to get it right — or at least to their satisfaction.
The reluctance of the American press to embrace victory is understandable. We all got burnt in April 2003 when the statuary was coming down. In January 2005, the purple-fingered majesty of an election also was a false start.
Maybe this is too.
But what is not false — what is for sure — is that eventually Iraqis will establish their own democracy. It will have its ups and its downs. But they will have 1 man to thank for giving them that shot.
President Bush was right. Deal with it.
Read it here.
Over at the "Long War Journal" Bill Ardolino notes several favorable recent developments in Iraq:
The "Surge" and counterinsurgency tactics seem to be working.Read it here.
The Iraqi people are rising against the jihadists and seeking reconciliation.
The Iraqi security forces are much stronger.
Sectarian cleansing and refugee flight have diminished dramatically.
There is a truce with al Sadr and the Mahdi army.
We are finally gaining control of the borders.
Wretchard at the Belmont Club notes that these encouraging factors are linked and reinforce one another. [here]
The NYT, on p A-19, reports grudgingly:
American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.Read it here.
And, wonder of wonders, the French President, Sarkozy, gave a speech that contained these sentiments:
From the very beginning, the American dream meant putting into practice the dreams of the Old World.He pledged that France would stand with America in its quest to transform the Middle East.
From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person.
America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who—with their hands, their intelligence and their heart—built the greatest nation in the world: "Come, and everything will be given to you." She said: "Come, and the only limits to what you'll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent." America embodies this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance.
Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.
What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind.
Today as in the past, as we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, it is together that we must fight to defend and promote the values and ideals of freedom and democracy that men such as Washington and Lafayette invented together.
Together we must fight against terrorism.... For me, failure is not an option. Terrorism will not win because democracies are not weak, because we are not afraid of this barbarism. America can count on France.
Together we must fight against proliferation. Success in Libya and progress under way in North Korea shows that nuclear proliferation is not inevitable. Let me say it here before all of you: The prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unacceptable....
Together we must help the people of the Middle East find the path of peace and security....
Together we must help the Lebanese people affirm their independence, their sovereignty, their freedom, their democracy....
And he concluded:
Read the whole text here.
Long live the United States of America!
Vive la France!Long live French-American friendship!
So much for the Democrats' claim that Bush has made the whole world hate us. Wait until they get a gander at Angela Merkel, another pro-Bush European leader who will soon be visiting this country. The old European leaders who opposed Bush are long gone and a new generation has replaced them, a generation who understands the greatness of Bush's vision and supports it.
I wonder what John Kerry thinks of that.