Put up those White Flags, Hillary, Barack, Kerry et. al.

Richard Hobbs's picture

On Second Thought, Don't Surrender
In an important and surprising New York Times op-ed piece, Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, both from the liberal Brookings Institution, describe a visit to Iraq, where they find that things are not as bad as--well, as New York Times readers have been led to believe. The piece is titled "A War We Just Might Win":

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily "victory" but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated--many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

O'Hanlon and Pollack report that Sunni sheikhs in Anbar province "are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies," that "the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate" in the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul, and that "the American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners."

They say the situation "remains grave," especially on the "political front," but they counsel against a quick retreat, as many Democrats on Capitol Hill have been advocating:

How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

In a way, though, what is most telling about this piece is the introduction:

Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration's critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the authors are right when they claim the Bush administration has "lost essentially all credibility." Does this excuse the administration's critics for being "unaware of the significant changes taking place"--especially when some of those critics have, for reasons of partisanship, ideology or just plain animus, actively campaigned to destroy the administration's credibility?

In the critics' defense, one may say that they have not, by and large, been in positions of responsibility; that if things have gone wrong in Iraq, the administration deserves the lion's share of the blame.

On the other hand, those critics now include the leaders of both houses of Congress, as well as several politicians who would like to become president. For them, at least, it is a serious failure of leadership if they base their views on Iraq on their own disdain for President Bush, or the hope of exploiting voters' disdain for him, rather than on reality.

From the online version of the Wall Street Journal

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AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Tue, 07/31/2007 - 10:38am.

Because we know horse manure when we smell it.

In sighting "liberal white house critic" O'Hanlen, the author of this tripe failed to mention that this "critic" has supported the Bush policy since '03. Here is what Michael O'Hanlen wrote in The San Diego Union Tribune in October 2003:

"The U.S. led mission in Iraq is still quite likely to succeed over a time period of 3-5 years. The lack of any unifying ideology for the resistence there makes it unlikely we will face a snowballing, mass insurgency."

So, if some conservative water carrier of a blogger wants to distort the democratic (and majority of American's) opinion that we need to begin an ordered withdrawl from Iraq, and call it a hasty retreat, that's fine. But please review your sources first, because they may be full of horse manure. Reference the unifying ideology of pushing the west out of Muslim land that your source inexcusably did not see.

As for the REAL picture in Iraq:

If things are going so well, I assume we will be leaving as we wrap up our mission. Or perhaps General Patraeus will be leaving at the request of the Iraqi parliament which is unhappy with our deals cut with sunni insurgents. Or perhaps Nouri-al Maliki will leave under the pressure he is receiving from both sunni and Kurdish blocs of parliament. We know that the Danish are leaving and the Brits are certainly not far behind.

I do wish that more of the people who want this endeavor in Iraq to continue knew first hand the conditions they are asking our troops to remain in indefinitely. Then and only then would these cheerleaders know the true cost of their ideology.

Kevin "Hack" King

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