In the recent silence about Iraq (apparently no bad news is no news at all), we fail to appreciate that we are witnessing one of the most dramatic turnabouts in a war in our history, comparable to the 90 day radical change from June to September 1864.
In March 1918 Americans worried the German imperial army might break through into open country in Belgium and France-only to be in flight by July the same year. Gen. Eisenhower ran on the mess in Korea, but by the time he took office, Matthew Ridgeway had stabilized the front and restored South Korea. and Eisenhower essentially adopted Truman’s policies — the latter out of office incrementally regaining popularity
We don’t know what the future will bring, but so far the period between May and November 2007 ranks as one of the most dramatic changes in the perception of a war that we’ve experienced.
And if the past is any guide, there will be fundamental political adjustments from the trivial of pundits repositioning themselves by simple silence about the war, or suggestions they were never really anti-war, or that the improvements came only because of their principled criticism — to the fundamental of having the entire leadership of the Democratic either ignore Iraq, claim the victory was not worth the commensurate cost of the last four plus years, or take proprietorship over Gen. Petraeus’s success — anything other than demanding a timetable for complete withdrawal with an admission of de facto defeat in the manner of the now infamous NY Times editorial.
If Iraq is stable by spring of next year, the entire political landscape here at home will be altered. And more importantly the reputation of the U.S. Army will be not just restored but deservedly at an all time high of fighting a counterinsurgency war in almost impossible conditions-and defeating insurgents while gaining the trust of the local population, something thought almost impossible after Vietnam, Haiti, and Somalia.