The news from Anbar is the most promising. Only last fall, the Marines' leading intelligence officer there concluded that the U.S. had essentially lost the fight to al-Qaeda. Yet, just this week, the marine commandant, Gen. James Conway, returned from a four-day visit to the province and reported that we "have turned the corner."
Why? Because, as Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, the Australian counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, has written, 14 of the 18 tribal leaders in Anbar have turned against al-Qaeda. As a result, thousands of Sunni recruits are turning up at police stations where none could be seen before. For the first time, former insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi have a Sunni police force fighting essentially on our side.
Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a major critic of the Bush war policy, now reports that in Anbar, al-Qaeda is facing "a real and growing groundswell of Sunni tribal opposition." And that "this is a crucial struggle and it is going our way -- for now."