Al-Zawahri, wearing a white turban and gray robe and seated next to an automatic rifle, waved his finger for emphasis as he spoke in the two-minute excerpt aired by Al-Jazeera. "I congratulate (the Islamic nation) for the victory of Islam in Iraq," he said.
"Regarding your withdrawal timetable ... you have to admit, Bush, that you have been defeated in Iraq and are being defeated in Afghanistan and will be defeated in Palestine," he said, speaking calmly but forcefully.
Who else does he sound like? Let's see if we can recall some quotes (all italics mine).
Rep. John Murtha: "Once you lose the hearts and minds in a guerrilla war, you lose the war," said Murtha, D-Pa., in Boston to attend a Democratic fund-raiser. "You can't win this militarily now."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi: "I will be supporting the Murtha resolution," she said, adding that Congress needs to conduct a "serious debate" about withdrawing U.S. troops.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean: "We need to be out of there and take the targets off our troops back." Dean recalled that the strategy to stay the course in Vietnam cost thousands more lives to be lost.
"I wish the president had paid more attention to the history of Iraq before we had gotten in there," Dean said. "The idea that we're going to win this war is just plain wrong."
Sen. John Kerry, firmly astride the fence: "The way forward in Iraq is not to pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay 'as long as it takes,' " Kerry said during an address at Georgetown University. "We must instead simultaneously pursue both a political settlement and the withdrawal of American combat forces."
Sen. Ted Kennedy, presciently a year ago: "Second, for democracy to take root, the Iraqis need a clear signal that America has a clear exit strategy. The President should say immediately that America intends no long-term presence.
Third, once the elections are behind us, we need to disengage military, and negotiate a withdrawal. At least 12,000 American troops and probably more should leave immediately to send a signal about our intention. America's goal should be to complete the drawdown as early as possible in 2006."
Al-Zawahiri would be pleased.
UPDATE: Via the indispensible Ace of Spades, the other side begs to differ with Al-Zawahiri's assessment of the situation.
[Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie] went on to say that the Iraqi security forces had reached a critical mass and would soon be able to deal with the insurgents. He said army, police and border guards now numbered approximately 250,000.
"They have reached a very good level in terms of their training and equipment and their readiness to combat terrorism," Mr Rubaie said.
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