A couple of weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal advocated for military planners and leaders to declare a "Victory Declaration" for operations in Iraq. While I vehemently opposed such an idea then, and still do now, maybe the Lt. General was more aware than many gave him credit. Last week, OBL released a video criticizing Al-Qaeda insurgents. OBL chastised the insurgents for straying from the main mission of combating U.S. forces and instead focusing on advancing their personal allegiances at the cost of the primary cause: defeating the Americans Occupiers. He went on to further condemn the Al-Qaeda insurgents for using brutal tactics against the Iraqi people, who have grown tired of them and have begun assisting American troops. Many feel the cooperation of the local Iraqi leaders with the coalition forces have been key to the recent American successes.
I may be wrong, but this is the first time I can remember OBL publicly and blatantly chastising his own Al-Qaeda fighters through a released video tape. He usually saves that mechanism for delivering his anti-western propaganda or, as some feel, delivering hidden messages. While I feel it would be premature and extremely detrimental to active troops in Iraq to make a "victory declaration", maybe there are signs that Al-Qaeda has been weakened. After four and a half years of fighting: any objective, positive reports should be welcomed by everyone regardless of political party. However, I feel it important to treat the analysis as a postive sign but not go overboard in making an premature declartions. If anyone should feel different, I implore them to remember our President and the speech he gave under the now infamous banner approximately two months after the Iraq invasion began in March of 2003.