Al Qaeda Defeated by Fox News, Bloggers, and Bush
Harold C. Hutchison has a piece at StrategyPage assessing the collapse of al Qaeda, apparently prompted by yesterday’s news that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was running out of suicide bombers and thus redirecting his efforts along more conventional lines.
Despite the many brickbats of the media, al Qaeda has been defeated in Iraq, and is now retreating to lick its wounds where it can. If it can. Just over four and a half years, al Qaeda has gone from being the dominant terrorist group in the world to a defeated shell of its former self. In trying to defeat the United States, al Qaeda made three big mistakes: They fought the last information war, they underestimated the American leadership, and they also managed to anger the Iraqi people.
From the moment the United States and al Qaeda began fighting in Afghanistan, the terrorists were looking for a chance to re-create images similar to those of American troops being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993 or Walter Cronkite calling the Vietnam War a stalemate in 1968. It was hoped that such a moment would cause a dramatic drop in support for the war among the American people and force the United States out of Iraq. It did not happen.
Why not? The short answer is that Fox News, Matt Drudge, bloggers, and others would not let the liberal media get away with defeatest propaganda, the Bush administration is much less sensitive to bad press and poll numbers than its predecessor, and the terrorists miscalculated by turning its efforts against Iraqi civilians.
Aside from the facts that al Qaeda appears far from defeated and that the American public seems to have tired of the war effort even though Fox is the most popular network, this is some brilliant analysis.
Update: I should note, since it’s apparently not obvious, that the last clause in the original post was sardonic. Hutchinson is probably right in his observations about Fox News, bloggers, Bush’s resolve, etc. as far as it goes. The idea that they were major factors in defeating al Qaeda, though, would be dubious enough were al Qaeda actually defeated.