More good news on global war on Islamist terrorism — from the Gray Lady

posted at 8:00 am on June 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Either the New York Times has replaced its entire editorial board, or the US has become so successful against al-Qaeda that they can’t avoid reporting it. Today, Eric Schmitt informs the Times’ readers that the US-led efforts against AQ and radical Islamist terrorism has the enemy in collapse, with its funding all but gone and popular support dissipating. Perhaps Manhattan pharmacies should stock up on smelling salts:

The deadliest terrorist networks in Southeast Asia have suffered significant setbacks in the past three years, weakened by aggressive policing, improved intelligence, enhanced military operations and an erosion of public support, government officials and counterterrorism specialists say.

Three years after the region’s last major strike — the attacks on three restaurants in Bali that killed three suicide bombers and 19 other people — American and Asian intelligence analysts say financial and logistical support from Al Qaeda to other groups in the region has long dried up, and the most lethal are scrambling for survival.

In Indonesia, since 2005 authorities have arrested more than 200 members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic group with ties to Al Qaeda. In the Philippines, an American-backed military campaign has the Abu Sayyaf Group, an Islamic extremist organization with links to Jemaah Islamiyah, clinging to footholds in the jungles of a handful of southern islands, officials said.

The Times takes a properly cautious tone in reporting these advances. We have not won the war yet, and we could still see setbacks. Indonesia remains a problem even with the massive arrests, as they have tended to go easy on sentencing for the terrorists. Abu Sayyaf has tried breaking out of its pocket in the Philippines, with little success so far.

However, the Times and most of the American media did not expect to hear that radical Islam has retreated over the last few years. One of the main reasons why its grip has loosened is that the movement has killed far more Muslims than infidels — the radicals are their own worst diplomats. They have been forced into those actions by the aggressive forward strategies of the US and its allies.

One particular aspect of this aggressive strategy should get noted:

In Indonesia, the Australian police provided sophisticated electronic surveillance capabilities that allowed local security forces to locate within days several militants who carried out an even deadlier bombing in Bali in 2002. The Australians are still helping the Indonesian police monitor telephone traffic, and, along with American officials, have helped train Indonesian lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The best way to beat terrorists is to stop them before they strike. Effective surveillance of enemy communication has always been a critical component of victory, and in this war is even more important. We can’t use air supremacy or satellite imagery to see the movement of enemy forces. We have to find ways to unravel their plans before they can complete them and attack undefended cities and civilian populations.

Now that we know what is successful, we need to keep following those strategies and tactics — both in Asia and here.


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I blame Bush for spoiling the narrative.

elduende on June 9, 2008 at 8:05 AM

From the Times?

Surely this is one of the signs of the apocalypse…

heldmyw on June 9, 2008 at 8:07 AM

Follow the money, as they say…
NYT is losing so much money that they are willing to throw this baby over the side. Most people are losing interest, most people know we are winning, so why not sacrifice this one lamb to the profit God’s? Hoping that a conservative blog will begin with something like this:

Either the New York Times has replaced its entire editorial board,…

Hoping that a few people will be able to say “See the NYT is balanced”, using this one article (and maybe shift), this one stance to destroy the arguments of a thousand other liberal bias stories.
They finally admit the truth, guess they ain’t so bad afterall…

right2bright on June 9, 2008 at 8:11 AM

Still skeptical. They can’t look like MSNBC to the WaPo’s NBC. Also, this success allows Barry to withdraw.

The Times is like Clinton–better dead than rehabilitated.

JiangxiDad on June 9, 2008 at 8:15 AM

Definitely, Bush’s fault. What will the Democrat Socialist lie about next? Probably something totally loony and off the wall like man is warming the planet.

tarpon on June 9, 2008 at 8:21 AM

The NYT will not change! The reasons (causes) for this story may not be apparent at this time, but one things for sure, the NYT is 100% pure anti-war and 100% pure Liberal agenda driven propaganda tool in the tank for the DNC.

JD nailed it, better to see this beast die rather than reinvent itself.

Keemo on June 9, 2008 at 8:29 AM

Psyops.

How many times did the NewYarnsToday stuff the NIE down our throat about Iran? How many times have they coughed out the AQ is bigger, better, stronger, faster because of Bush’s War?

This is an attempt to take the War out of the Presidential election. The strongest argument for McCain is national security. It is hard to argue national security if national security is old news.

Limerick on June 9, 2008 at 8:33 AM

Broken clock.

ZK on June 9, 2008 at 8:34 AM

Let me play the prophet of doom. The only thing that this current “victory” over the Islamofascist free agents achieves is a brief truce. In the meanwhile, the Islamofasicst nations build nuclear weapons and we get the apocalypse that they so stridently desire. We’d be better losing against the free agents. We could then get started with the war the muslims so fervently desire, and they would have less nukes.

thuja on June 9, 2008 at 8:39 AM

I’d have a little more hope for the NYT if they would print a front page article telling the “real” story about the historical event that took place that day on the Senate floor when the Democrat majority leader (Dingy Reid) told the world that America had lost the war on terror while American troops were busy kicking ass in two different countries.

How about a front page article telling the “real” story about how & why Congressman Murtha lied about the Haditha events; digging in to the story and actually investigating and reporting the facts.

How about a front page article telling the “real” story about the queen bee (Pelosi) calling General P a lier from the house floor.

I just slapped myself awake; I can now return to reality!

Keemo on June 9, 2008 at 8:40 AM

The Australians are still helping the Indonesian police monitor telephone traffic

But did they have warrants from the FISA court? Who cares that it’s Aussies helping the Indonesians, people have rights dang it! Just another example of Booosh trampling the Constitution.

trubble on June 9, 2008 at 8:44 AM

The deadliest terrorist networks in Southeast Asia have suffered significant setbacks in the past three years, weakened by aggressive policing, improved intelligence, enhanced military operations and an erosion of public support, government officials and counterterrorism ….

Why, it’s almost seems as if someone — a world leader of some type perhaps — boldy mapped out a complex strategy of enemy detection and capture (and in the face of widespread international doubt and with only minimal cooperation from our allies, no less), and has finally succeeding in rolling up these dangerous networks before they can do any more harm.

Geez, I wish the NYT had identified this brave soul so we could all thank him.

Blacksheep on June 9, 2008 at 8:44 AM

Wow. Hell has frozen over. Add this to CNN’s “hit piece” on Obama and Jake Tapper’s sterling work over at ABC News. Are we seeing “Change We Can Believe In” among the drive-bys?

infidel65 on June 9, 2008 at 8:46 AM

Imagine that. I wonder if Pelosi will apologize now or will she also thank Iran for being so kind and letting us win.

Oh. Wait. She is friends with that other liar Murtha.

My bad. Disregard.

Snooper on June 9, 2008 at 8:46 AM

I think a major issue that was completely ignored in the Times article was the economic side affects of the Jihad campaign. Indonesia gets a major chunk of its dollars from tourism which took a huge hit following the Bali bombing. The only way to start luring those Euro and Australian tourists back was to come down heavy on the Islamists. So they did.

JimK on June 9, 2008 at 8:47 AM

nah its more likely that they think the terrorists can SMELLELELEL what Barrack iscoookin!!!!!!$ andjust him winning theprimaries is enough to win the war (remember the Obama’s fist bump) Wonder socialist twin powers activate!!!!!!!!!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on June 9, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Broken clock.

ZK on June 9, 2008 at 8:34 AM

Huh…I thought their clock was digital, and therefore unable to be right even when broken.

James on June 9, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Either the New York Times has replaced its entire editorial board, or the US has become so successful against al-Qaeda that they can’t avoid reporting it.

Or you were wrong about their bias in the first place. You always seem to leave out the most logical answer.

Tom_Shipley on June 9, 2008 at 8:49 AM

My cynical suspicion is that the NYT is trying to prepare for what they hope will be a first move by President Obama – bringing the troops home. The paper starts hinting that there is progress, followed by a full scale declaration of success about November, followed by the proclamation of the President-Elect that his first action will be to bring the military home. Sort of the old declare victory and leave routine. Ironically, the paper is ignoring the fact that we are having success. We know that there will certainly be setbacks, but the general trend is in the right direction. And for once – by accident or design – the NYT is more correct on the story than wrong. Now, THAT is news!

Orson Buggeigh on June 9, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Please, PLEASE let me surrender to someone, ANYONE, PLEASE!

Oh, sorry, fell and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table, and woke up thinking like an Anti-American/Pro-Jihadi Lefist Democrat for a second…

Dale in Atlanta on June 9, 2008 at 8:54 AM

The MSM has defined the Iraq War as “unpopular”.
The GOP defines the Iraq War as “SUCCESSFUL”….

maverick muse on June 8, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Our military and their republican supporters have made this the most amazingly successful war since WWII. What the MSM and their democratic supporters have done in setting about to destroy this effort and the economy is the most successful propaganda campaign since WWII.

Beto Ochoa on June 8, 2008 at 6:05 PM

maverick muse on June 9, 2008 at 8:59 AM

Or you were wrong about their bias in the first place. You always seem to leave out the most logical answer.

Tom_Shipley on June 9, 2008 at 8:49 AM

You are the only one in America who thinks the NYT was not bias…even their editors acknowledge it.

THE PUBLIC EDITOR (Headline)

Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?

OF course it is.
By DANIEL OKRENT
Published: July 25, 2004

right2bright on June 9, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Effective surveillance of enemy communication has always been a critical component of victory,

Just ask the New England Patriots….

free-thinker on June 9, 2008 at 9:02 AM

Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?

OF course it is.
By DANIEL OKRENT
Published: July 25, 2004

You should NEVER confuse “Liberal” with “Anti-American”.

The NYT is NOT “Liberal”, it is blatantly, like most of the “Left”, “Liberals” and “Democrats”, Anti-American.

There is a difference.

Joe Lieberman is “Liberal”, and “Democratic”, he is NOT “Anti-American”; that cannot be said about the NYT and the rest of the Nutbags!

Dale in Atlanta on June 9, 2008 at 9:04 AM

@8:59

NYT is simply circling the wagons, realizing LATE that the public has mutinied and are repulsed by the obvious defeatism that has sickened us all, sapping our strength, dividing us at home and weakening us abroad.
NO MORE!

By no means does this grant the NYT a pardon.
They are guilty on record AND by literal association (AP).
Hang ‘em high with boycott and revulsion.

maverick muse on June 9, 2008 at 9:08 AM

thuja on June 9, 2008 at 8:39 AM

You are not an advocate for starting a war with Iran, are you?

Johan Klaus on June 9, 2008 at 9:19 AM

This report shows the desperation of the NYT to try to hang on to its dwindling readership. I can hear the editorial meeting now.

“We’ve got to do something, anything! We’ll all be out of jobs. Nothing is too radical; let’s hear some suggestions.”

“How about reporting the news straight? That’s pretty radical.”

(Half the editorial board faints.) “Only as a last resort.”

“But aren’t we there now?”

michaelo on June 9, 2008 at 9:21 AM

I have a friend who says that “it’s not worth the cost, we give up too much of our privacy rights!” I responded by saying, “hey, what rights have you lost? And, are you saying it’s better to be blown up than to have your phone-call to your friendly terrorist pal in Pakistan bugged?”

What these foolish leftist types don’t understand is that the only calls that are monitored are those that are incoming from foreign countries that are surreptitious in some way, i.e., terrorist oriented. Don’t have any terrorist pals? Then you’re free to chat away about the foot fetish you have.

Richard Romano on June 9, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Or you were wrong about their bias in the first place. You always seem to leave out the most logical answer.

Tom_Shipley on June 9, 2008 at 8:49 AM

Hoping that a few people will be able to say “See the NYT is balanced”, using this one article (and maybe shift), this one stance to destroy the arguments of a thousand other liberal bias stories.
They finally admit the truth, guess they ain’t so bad afterall…

right2bright on June 9, 2008 at 8:11 AM

Prophetic.

James on June 9, 2008 at 9:22 AM

the attacks on three restaurants in Bali that killed three suicide bombers…

I love it when they count the murdering terrorist scumbags among the victims.

labrat on June 9, 2008 at 9:27 AM

You are not an advocate for starting a war with Iran, are you?

I’m advocating finishing the war with Iran. They declared war on us in 1980… when Jimmy Carter was president.
They’ve been at war with us for 28 years. In the last 5 years we’ve had 4,000 fatalities in Iraq. Iran has been responsible – either directly or indirectly – for more thatn half of them.
It’s been a one-sided war; it’s about time we fought back.

infidel65 on June 9, 2008 at 9:29 AM

I have a friend who says that “it’s not worth the cost, we give up too much of our privacy rights!” I responded by saying, “hey, what rights have you lost?

I have a peer at work, who since 9/12, has been railing against “Bush stealing our civil liberties”, exactly the same type of crap!

So, I ask him exactly the same type of question you do “Tell me what civil liberty you’ve personally lost??”

He starts sputtering, ranting against Bush, the Iraq War, etc., and when I pin him down on the exact question, this is his answer “I…I….I have to take my shoes off when I go to the airport!”

Wow, Anti-American Leftists and Logic, like North/South on a magnet, polar opposites!

I also ask him, “Ever think of blaming the actual Bombers and Terrorists for the fact you have to take your shoes off, instead of say…..President Bush!”

That’s usually enough to make him start swearing and turn around and walk away!

Ah, gotta love the Anti-American/Pro-Jihadi Left (TM)!

What a pathetic bunch…

Dale in Atlanta on June 9, 2008 at 9:32 AM

I am bitter.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 9, 2008 at 9:38 AM

It’s been a one-sided war; it’s about time we fought back.

infidel65 on June 9, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Amen.

Johan Klaus on June 9, 2008 at 9:42 AM

One of the main reasons why its grip has loosened is that the movement has killed far more Muslims than infidels …

Oh, ok, so if the terrorists were killing more of us and less of them, they’d be in full zombie support mode. That’s great. Allahu akbar! LALALALALA!!

Tony737 on June 9, 2008 at 9:44 AM

What a pathetic bunch… – Dale

Ha, yeah, I think we’ve all had this same conversation. I crack up when they say “Uh, um, well, now the govt knows what library books I check out!” I ask ‘em “When was the last time you went to the library?” Sputter, studder, stamp feet, curse, walk away.

Tony737 on June 9, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Regarding Al-Qaeda ally Abu Sayyef in the Philippines–
I have a friend who runs a soul-winning, gospel preaching children’s outreach literally in the shadow of a mosque in Davao City, & the neighborhood loves him & his wife. He’s never had any threat from AQ or AS.

jgapinoy on June 9, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Wonder socialist twin powers activate!!!!!!!!! -Wasteland

Form of … anti-American anti-war hippie protester!

Shape of … NYT reporter!

Hey, we really ARE twins!

Tony737 on June 9, 2008 at 9:56 AM

“When was the last time you went to the library?” Sputter, studder, stamp feet, curse, walk away.

Tony737 on June 9, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Here’s one that KILLS them, when they start whining about “wiretaps” and “loss of Civil Liberties” and “checking out my Internet sites”!

I say: “Will I don’t care, I pay my taxes and don’t cheat on them, I served in the Military so the Government knows exactly where I am; I don’t talk to Terrorists, nor plan terrorist attacks, I don’t do drugs or deal drugs, and I don’t visit kiddie porn sites, and don’t abuse or have sex with kids, so what do I have to worry about? In fact, which one(s) of those do you do, that you’re so worried about the Government knowing what you do??”

That shuts them up everytime!

Answer: Leftists believe in all, and do everyone one of them, that’s why they’re Leftists, but they’ll never admit that!

Dale in Atlanta on June 9, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Hell, even the NY Times is reporting on the progress in the WoT? That must’ve been a hard pill for them to swallow. They’re normally so eager to report EVERY setback and repeat it often.

The NY Times is correct to be optimistic but cautiously so. Things can still go wrong but I’m glad to see even them reporting progress (might benefit the Bush Admin. or something.. can’t have that).

It also seems that similar tactics that work in Iraq are also working in in SE Asia. More focus on civil projects to improve infrastructure to name one. Also, just like in Iraq, it seems the terrorists in question are victims of their own “success” of sorts in that their attacks kill more of those they’re trying to get on their side than anything else which turns aways those potential supporters.

Hopefully the trend of success continues here as well. Yes we can – win the war on terror.

Yakko77 on June 9, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Good news about the GWT?

The Times must be starting to make Obama’s bed.

drjohn on June 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Imagine how much better this war would be going if the NY Times hadn’t worked so hard to undermine and destroy the effort for the past 5 years.

Scum.

profitsbeard on June 9, 2008 at 10:20 AM

They’re just clearing the way for Comrade Obambi to grudgingly admit progress so he, and they, can start flogging the ‘Bring Them Home’ meme.

Watch and see. I’ll bet it happens pretty much exactly that way.

Might backfire, though, when people start looking at the wisdom of complete withdrawal with the threat of action against iran on the horizon. We’ll soon see.

techno_barbarian on June 9, 2008 at 10:26 AM

In Indonesia, the Australian police provided sophisticated electronic surveillance capabilities

FISA!…. Doh!

Romeo13 on June 9, 2008 at 10:29 AM

…This is an attempt to take the War out of the Presidential election. The strongest argument for McCain is national security. It is hard to argue national security if national security is old news.

Limerick on June 9, 2008 at 8:33 AM

That’s what it seems like to me. The NYT just ran a story on the al-Qaeda branch in the NWFP dictating terms to the docile Pakistani government, with nukes. That’s hardly comforting. Obama was right about bombing Pakistan, as he was about Jerusalem. His ‘gaffes’ are sometimes correct, as opposed to his real opinions which aren’t.

Beagle on June 9, 2008 at 10:51 AM

They are busy correcting The First Draft of History to whitewash their mistakes.

njcommuter on June 9, 2008 at 10:56 AM

techno_barbarian on June 9, 2008 at 10:26 AM

I tend to agree.

Connie on June 9, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Either the New York Times has replaced its entire editorial board, or the US has become so successful against al-Qaeda that they can’t avoid reporting it.

Or, as others have posted, there is a cynical reason–with Iraq off the table, as the US public has deemed it, acknowledging success paves the way for the one big issue that will determine the election — gas prices. It will be easy to blame the Reps for it, as they are just as guilty as the Dems for the debacle.

PattyJ on June 9, 2008 at 11:13 AM

You are not an advocate for starting a war with Iran, are you?
Johan Klaus on June 9, 2008 at 9:19 AM

I’m advocating finishing the war with Iran. They declared war on us in 1980… when Jimmy Carter was president.
They’ve been at war with us for 28 years. In the last 5 years we’ve had 4,000 fatalities in Iraq. Iran has been responsible – either directly or indirectly – for more thatn half of them.
It’s been a one-sided war; it’s about time we fought back.

infidel65 on June 9, 2008 at 9:29 AM

I agree with infidel65, but I would add that the muslims have enslaving and killing us Westerners for 14 centuries. And it’s just not us. Look how absolutely barbarically the muslims behaved in India–Hitler or Pol Pot level of evil.
China had better start taking Islam more seriously than Falun Gong.

thuja on June 9, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Let me know when the NYT reports on this.

Connie on June 9, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Guess someone from the NYT finally got their head out of their ass to see what’s actually happening in the world outside their corporate headquarters.

GarandFan on June 9, 2008 at 11:40 AM

This admission that we are winning in the war against the terrorists right in the pages of the New York Times, well, was this like an April Fool’s version or something?

And how was Bush to blame?

Tantor on June 9, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I think we should have just talked.

moxie_neanderthal on June 9, 2008 at 1:23 PM

They think all of a sudden they can report the opposite of what they have been claiming all along, and I’m supposed to be thankful for it?

The NYT can go to hell. That’s the nicest way I can say it, but far from how I’d really like to say it.

drunyan8315 on June 9, 2008 at 2:20 PM