Bin Laden summed up his perception of Americans in an interview with ABC News reporter John Miller, published in Esquire in 1998: “After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle thinking that the Americans were like the Russians. The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized, more than before, that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows……would run in defeat.”
It seems Bin Laden only one got salient point wrong- it's not the American soldier who is the paper tiger, it's the American politician. And despite the military victories of the American soldiers and Marines in Iraq, it seems that US policy is now going to be retreat, though I'm sure it won't be couched in those terms. Whatever language is used, the enemies of the United States will know one thing- they have secured a victory. They know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that the USA does not possess the strength of will to wage a long term conflict where terrorists can utilise propaganda to maximum effect. They know now that they do not have to engage with American forces to defeat them; all they need is a steady diet of high-profile carnage for the Western press to lap up. Avoid all those armed, armoured, professional soldiers and murder innocent civilians instead. Safer for them and, it seems, much more effective in defeated their actual opponent. Who knew that it was so easy to defeat the world's major superpower, without even winning a single battle in the war?
Bin Laden bet on it, and now the ISG is backing him up. I don't know what the best solution is for Iraq but one thing is for sure; leaving now before the US's stated aims are achieved means only one thing- an emboldened enemy, an enemy who is as bloodthirsty and vicious as any history has conjured. An enemy who now believes that America is not strong enough to stand against him.
God help us all.