I have written a piece at Contentions on the latest progress in Iraq. I wanted to tie those developments to a new argument being put forward by key Democrats, including former Senate Majority Leader and Obama advisor Tom Daschle. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Daschle, “Now that we are finally making progress in Iraq, why is Senator Obama still determined to get all of our troops out within 16 months?” Daschle responded, “Well, Chris, I think that’s the whole question. Why do we need them if things are going this well?”
A year ago the argument made by Democrats was that American troops should be withdrawn because the situation is so bad; now the argument is that American troops should be withdrawn because the situation is so good.
The reality on the ground is far more nuanced than Democrats pretend. Things have gotten considerably better since the surge was put in place, but we still have a long way to go. Progress has been made, but it’s been uneven and is reversible. To withdraw American troops in the fashion and at the pace Senator Obama has said would therefore be unwise and even reckless. Consider an analogy: Assume that a patient suffering from severe influenza is improving, thanks in part to antiviral agents. But the fact that the patient is getting better doesn’t mean the patient is completely well, nor does it mean it would be wise to prematurely stop medication and medical care.
Iraq has gone from broken to fragile and slowly mending. Even now, though, leading Democrats seem wholly uninterested in the outcome in Iraq; all they care about is withdrawing American troops. It is a commitment they hold with ideological and theological intensity – and if they are ever allowed to act on their convictions, misery and death and defeat would follow.
Gas prices matter – but a good outcome in Iraq matters more.