We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Since mid-2005, al Qaeda has aimed not to defeat the Coalition militarily, but to drain American public support politically. The strategy was forced on the insurgents by a string of failures in 2004 and 2005. The Baathist groups and their al Qaeda allies planned first to establish a geographic base of control within Iraq; second, to block Iraqi elections; and third, to prevent the establishment of the Iraqi Security Forces. They failed to achieve any of these goals.
The ensuing strategy was dictated by weakness. Mass killings of Shi'ite civilians - a tactic designed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi over the initial protests of the al Qaeda leadership - replaced military confrontation as the insurgency's operational focus. Civilian atrocity is, by definition, easy to implement, as it targets what is undefended. The strategy does nothing to "win hearts and minds." Support for al Qaeda has dwindled to under 2% among the Sunnis of Iraq; among other groups, it doesn't register at all. Nor can atrocities advance a political agenda, or control real estate.
"The Coalition and al Qaeda are fighting two different wars. While General Petraeus strangles the insurgent hydra head-by-head, al Qaeda's message of slaughter and despair saps the American public of its will."
The worst part is how, in this day of big budget ad campaigns and Pentagon experts and resources dedicated to public information, al-Qaeda’s successful media war costs them next to nothing-- only the blood of innocents, some video and editing tech from Best Buy, and nominal postage or transmission fees to zealots Mullah Keller, el-Imams Moyers and Monbiot, qadi Katie Couric, al-Franken, sheiks Cooper and Anderson, Muftis Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Plett and many, many more.