The Iraq War is over. Flames still burst from various sources and wild cards remain, such as the potential that Muqtada al-Sadr might stomp his feet and encourage his diminished militias to attack us. Yet support for Sadr among Shia is hardly monolithic. In fact, many Shia view him as a simpleton whose influence derives strictly from respect for his father. Others cite the threat from Iran, but the Iranian participation in the fighting here remains overstated.
Nobody knows what the future will bring, but the civil war has completely ended.
The Iraqi army and police grow stronger by the month, and even the National Police are gaining a degree of respect and credibility.
Iraqis are tired of war and ready to get back to school, to business and to living life as it should be.
- Independent correspondent Michael Yon, in the New York Post
Michael Yon is braver than the rest of us for declaring the war over, but it’s important to understand that there are no final battles in counterinsurgencies and it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact dates when wars like this end.
The anti-Iraqi insurgency – a war within a war – really is effectively over.
As long as another such war within a war doesn’t break out, Yon will appear more perceptive than the rest of us in hindsight when the currently low levels of violence finally do taper off into relative insignificance.
None of this means terrorism and violence in Iraq are over. Violence is never over in the Middle East, and Islamist terrorism will be with us for years, if not decades.
There may yet be another war, a different war, in Iraq. It would be foolish to dismiss that possibility or assume there is no more work to be done.
- Michael Totten, commentarymagazine.com