The Campaign Spot

GOP Candidates Will Talk About This; Will Any Democrat?

Besides Romney, here’s the best headline for the rest of us in a while:

Al-Qaeda In Iraq Reported Crippled

That op-ed by Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack doesn’t look excessively optimistic now, does it?
I wonder if McCain will ask Edwards to keep calling the surge, “The McCain Doctrine.”
Highlights after the jump:#more#

…There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicide bombings, the group’s signature attack, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders over the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a “cascade effect,” leading to other killings and captures. The flow of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, although officials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broader al-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

…Describing frayed support structures and supply lines, Odierno estimated that the group’s capabilities have been “degraded” by 60 to 70 percent since the beginning of the year.
…For each assessment of progress against AQI, there is a cautionary note that comes from long and often painful experience. Despite the increased killings and captures of AQI members, Odierno said, “it only takes three people” to construct and detonate a suicide car bomb that can “kill thousands.” The goal, he said, is to make each attack less effective and lengthen the periods between them.

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