Speaking yesterday at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Virginia, President Bush said that there has been a “moment of success in the war on terror.” Bush supported his lofty rhetoric by citing the “dismantling” of al-Qaeda infrastructure in the Iraqi province of Anbar. A moment might be little enough to ask for after seven years of effort and the expenditure of something like half a trillion dollars on the so-called war on terror. One might have hoped for something more substantial than the dismantling of one al-Qaeda element in one Iraqi province, but they did tell us that this would be a “long war.” They obviously weren’t kidding.
As the Great Decider is clearly not comfortable with thinking too hard strategically he might want to fall back on his experience as a baseball team owner. He should get a score card to keep tabs on what has been going on in the terrorism world. Score one base on balls for Anbar province, but you have to put down two outs in the bottom of the ninth and three runs down over Iraq in general because prior to 2003 there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq at all. Elsewhere in Asia it looks like a late rally by the other team because the Taliban have returned to Afghanistan where they threaten to topple the government and drive out US and NATO forces. They have also established themselves in Pakistan, where they had no presence before 2001, which would pretty much be a shutout. Al-Qaeda is still thriving in the border regions, kindof three men on base for the bad guys and no outs, while al-Qaeda spin-offs have staged successful terrorist attacks in Britain, Spain, the Maghreb, and in Somalia, which would have to equate to back-to-back homers for the opposition. Also since 9/11, Hezbollah has won a war against Israel that was supported by Washington and has become more powerful than ever, a neat double play to retire the side, while Hamas has been elected in Gaza in spite of best US and Israeli efforts to destroy the group. That would be a triple driving in two runs, without a doubt. Who says they don’t know how to play baseball in the Middle East?