CENTCOM announced today that they had captured al-Qaeda correspondence in Iraq that discusses the state of the insurgency, especially around Baghdad but also around the entire country. Far from optimistic, the documents captured in an April 16th raid reveal frustration and desperation, as the terrorists acknowledge the superior position of American and free Iraqi forces and their ability to quickly adapt to new tactics.
This quote from a captured document, for example, supports Ed’s characterization:
[T]he Americans and the Government were able to absorb our painful blows, sustain them, compensate their losses with new replacements, and follow strategic plans which allowed them in the past few years to take control of Baghdad as well as other areas one after the other. That is why every year is worse than the previous year as far as the Mujahidin’s control and influence over Baghdad.
So the terrorists say we’re winning in Iraq. Why is this fact so little recognized in America? Because the terrorists have been successful in one sphere only:
The policy followed by the brothers in Baghdad is a media oriented policy without a clear comprehensive plan to capture an area or an enemy center. Other words, the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the Americans and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them. This policy dragged us to the type of operations that are attracted to the media, and we go to the streets from time to time for more possible noisy operations which follow the same direction.
Or, again, Centcom quotes a translated document:
Al Qaida in Iraq attacks Mosques and other public places to draw media attention and is having difficulty recruiting members because the people of Iraq do not support its cause.
So, put it all together: al Qaeda in Iraq is failing. It has little military strength, and the Iraqi people “do not support its cause.” It has succeeded in one arena only: the American media. Yet, despite the despair manifested by the authors of the captured documents, that one success may be all that al Qaeda needs. Because the perverse negativity of the American press is the only view that most Americans get of the conflict’s progress. And, because of their shoddy coverage of the war, our reporters and editors provide the terrorists with their only gleam of hope.
And spare us the hate mail: I didn’t say it. al Qaeda did.
UPDATE: The Associated Press has a reasonably balanced account of the captured documents, except that–oddly–it omits any mention of the documents’ references to al Qaeda’s focus on the American press. Via Power Line News.