It was great to find this story of encouraging signs from Iraq in “News.com.au" by Andrew Bolt. At this stage it is probably a little on the optimistic side, and we still need a lot of things to go right for us, but yes things are looking up.
THERE is a reason Iraq has almost disappeared as an election issue.
Here it is: The battle is actually over. Iraq has been won.
I know this will seem to many of you an insane claim. Ridiculous! After all, haven't you read countless stories that Iraq is a "disaster", turned by a "civil war" into a "killing field"?
Didn't Labor leader Kevin Rudd, in one of his few campaign references to Iraq, say it was the "greatest ... national security policy disaster that our country has seen since Vietnam"?
Yep, that’s our Kevy, always the optimist about our foreign policy. With the nation in election mode of course he’s just the guy to go to for a balanced view. When the war started to drag on and become a negative issue Labor hitched its wagon firmly to the ‘lets get out as fast as possible’ horse, with the result that any positive news is a disaster for them.
In what he refers to as the latest underreported news he goes on to say: -
Just 27 American soldiers were killed in action in Iraq in October - the lowest monthly figure since March last year. (This is a provisional figure and may alter over the next week.)
The number of Iraqi civilians killed last month - mostly by Islamist and fascist terrorists - was around 760, according to Iraqi Government sources.
That is still tragically high, but the monthly toll has plummeted since January's grim total of 1990. What measures of success do critics of Iraq's liberation now demand?
Violence is falling fast. Al Qaida has been crippled. The Shiites, Kurds and Marsh Arabs no longer face genocide. What's more, the country has stayed unified. The majority now rules.
Despite that, minority Sunni leaders are co-operating in government with Shiite ones. There is no civil war. The Kurds have not broken away. Iran has not turned Iraq into its puppet.
And the country's institutions are getting stronger. The Iraqi army is now at full strength, at least in numbers.
The country has a vigorous media. A democratic constitution has been adopted and backed by a popular vote.
Well, that sounds promising, unless you are a politician firmly rooted into a position against the war, in which case it is the last thing you would wish to hear, but wait, there’s more.
Al-Qaida's media arm last week released a video on the internet in which bin Laden - or a man masquerading as him - revealed how disastrously his war against democracy in Iraq was going.
He called for intensified fighting against the Americans and pleaded for Muslims in the region to come help.
Bin Laden even let slip how badly al-Qaida has been mauled by the Sunni sheiks who have stopped fighting the US troops and turned on bin Laden's killers instead, by pleading for "unity" from the Sunnis and admitting "mistakes" had been made.
To talk like this will, I know, choke many critics of the war with fury. How angry so many are to hear good news from Iraq. And how suspicious is their reaction. Don't we all actually wish for Iraq to be democratic, safe and free from tyranny? But, they'll splutter, but, but, but... I can hear them already.
But the bloodshed in Iraq is terrible! Call that victory?
And, yes, the killings are ghastly. Iraq is nowhere near safe, and our help is still needed to make it so. Yet the violence now does not threaten the country or its government.
But if Iraq is "won", why are so many Iraqis still dying?
Because some of the killers are just criminals, or are trying to kill their way to a piece of the action, or are - inevitably after so much cruelty and oppression - settling scores. Others are agents of Iran, which wants to make America pay and Iraq obey.
And more - and the worst - are fanatics who just want to kill for their creed, and are killing Iraqis as they are killing Pakistanis, Algerians, Egyptians, Israelis and anyone else in the way of their jihad. Iraq remains an ugly place, with lethal hatreds, yet none of these killers are winning and Iraq will not fall to them.
Consider: Iraq's official estimate of civilian deaths from violence is now about 25 a day. In South Africa, with twice the population, the official murder toll is 52 a day. That's a rate of killing equal to Iraq's.
Do you think those murders will topple South Africa?
The Labor Party has placed itself in the same position as the Democrats in the USA, who are in the main in frantic denial of any improvement. They really need to see more body bags arriving home, but they are doing something about it.
The attempt by the Democrat majority in Congress to censure Turkey, a key ally, over the 1915-1923 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire by labeling it a genocide by the Turks has caused tensions.