This is fantastic news if it turns out to be true:
Al Qaeda in Iraq and its presumed leader, Abu Musab Zarqawi, have conceded strategic defeat and are on their way out of the country, a top U.S. military official contended yesterday.
The group’s failure to disrupt national elections and a constitutional referendum last year “was a tactical admission by Zarqawi that their strategy had failed,” said Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who commands the XVIII Airborne Corps.
“They no longer view Iraq as fertile ground to establish a caliphate and as a place to conduct international terrorism,” he said in an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Gen. Vines’ statement came as news broke that coalition and Iraqi forces had killed an associate of Osama bin Laden’s during an early morning raid near Abu Ghraib about two weeks ago.
If this is true, I will watch with glee John Murtha, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean and the rest of the anti-war, America surrender first crowd squirm as they try to spin this as another defeat for America.
Update: Ed Morrissey offers his analysis:
If true, it will demonstrate that the US has the will and the strength to face down terrorists. We will have gone some distance in reversing the damage done in retreats from Somalia, Beirut, and Teheran over the past three decades as well as our unwillingness to engage terrorists after attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers blast, the demolition of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the USS Cole. We should all hope that General Vines’ analysis proves correct in the coming weeks.