Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This is rich ... Did they clear this with the Kos-Kiddies?

I'm expecting a meltdown in the fever swap over this news article:

One senator said U.S. troops are routing out al-Qaida in parts of Iraq. Another insisted President Bush's plan to increase troops has caused tactical momentum.

One even went so far on Wednesday as to say the argument could be made that U.S. troops are winning.

These are not Bush-backing GOP die-hards, but Democratic Sens. Dick
Durbin, Bob Casey and Jack Reed. Even Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said progress was being made by soldiers.

The suggestions by them and other Democrats in recent days that at least a portion of Bush's strategy in Iraq is working is somewhat surprising, considering the bitter exchanges on
Capitol Hill between the Democratic majority and Republicans and Bush. Democrats have long said Bush's policies have been nothing more than a complete failure.

Now, if I were to stop right here, the Left would be howling at these guys. How dare these die-hard Democrats change their opinion on a failed war. But that's not the whole story, and while this would prove to be an interesting turn, don't hold your breath. This is not going to make things more palatable in Congress. The Democrats aren't going to step down from their rhetoric. They still believe this strategy is a failure, and the thought they may be reconsidering the strategy is a fallacy. They have no choice but to admit that much of the military strategy is working, but just wait for the other shoe to drop ...

The Democrats' choice to acknowledge the military's progress in Iraq signals support for the troops, a message that voters want to hear. But they still heap criticism on Bush and his Iraq strategy, which promises to be a prominent issue in next year's presidential election.

All of Washington is waiting for the September assessment from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker about the
Bush administration strategy. Bush has called the plan a "surge" because it poured thousands more troops into the country.

A key component of the January plan was that there be political progress in Iraq. Last week, the chief lawmaking body in Iraq went into recess until September without accomplishing much of what U.S. leaders had hoped they would.

Levin, while saying military progress was being made, said the troop build-up could not be considered a success because its purpose was to make way for political reconciliation, and that hasn't happened.

There's the "other shoe." The political benchmarks aren't being met, they shout. The Iraqis are on vacation, they seethe. Um, yeah, but so is our own Congress, or did the Left miss that point? As for the political benchmarks, yes there is still a lot to do, but on the ground, locally, things are looking better. Sunnis, Kurds, and Shi'ites are turning on the guerillas they have been dealing with, and helping US and Iraqi forces root them out.

Many have forgotten where General Petreus got his countrerinsurgency ideas. They came from a brilliant French lieutenant colonel named David Galula. Lt. Col. Galula was the brainchild of the French response to the Algerian crisis in 1955-1956. The French were losing to the terrorist forces in Algeria, and Lt. Col. Galula put together a strategy that is very similar to the one being used by General Petreus. (For a more in-depth explanation of this read this piece by Arthur Herman from the 29 March 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Not only does it explain how we can win in Iraq, but how we could lose, as well. Point being, we are winning now, despite the caterwauling of the Left.)

Are we turning the corner, as Bill Kristol wrote for the 13 August issue of the Weekly Standard? We think that a turn has been made in Iraq. And it appears to be a turn for the better. We can talk about the political side of this, but I have a question for the Left that no one seems to want to respond to:

Why should the Iraqi politicians continue to put themselves in danger while the surge is just starting when it is easier to step back, stay out of the way, and let the military quell the violence? When that's done (granted it will take longer than a month, but given the success thus far, the situation will be much better when they return at the end of August) then they can move forward decisively for the political solutions. Plus, nothing says that the Parliament members aren't speaking to one another while on break. For all we know, they could come back at the end of August with a number of solutions. This would give General Petreus an even bigger boost for his report if that happens.

Do these senators speak on behalf of their party? Nope. Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are still going to keep up the mantra that the surge -- barely in it's infancy -- is a lost cause, and the troops should come home. and don't worry, folks, the Democrats seeing success now will quickly change their tune by the time General Petreus arrives in September with his report.

Publius II


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