Media Blog

“Petraeus’ Victory”

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of the Iraq troop surge. In large part, it has worked. Sectarian violence has declined in recent months, the number of car bombings and suicide attacks has plummeted, American casualties are down sharply, and an increasing number of Iraqi refugees are returning to the country.
So what do those in America who spoke out so forcibly against the surge have to say now? The New York Post notes, in an editorial titled “Petraeus’ Victory,” that:

… Uber-dove Ted Kennedy grudgingly conceded the success of the surge yesterday (while sneeringly referring to it as “the escalation”).
Said Kennedy: “The violence has declined.”
His disappointment was palpable – but not surprising. He was among the congressional Democrats who so arrogantly predicted (hoped?) one year ago that the surge would fail.
Indeed, four days before Bush announced the surge, the top two Democrats on Capitol Hill – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – defiantly declared that “adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans.”
New York’s own Sen. Chuck Schumer, who normally knows better, complained that the president had offered “a new surge without a new strategy.”
And those Democrats who even then were hoping to succeed Bush as commander-in-chief piled on.
“The president’s plan has been flawed from the outset,” said Sen. Barack Obama, adding: “At what point do we say, ‘Enough’?”
John Edwards called on Congress to de-fund the surge and demanded the immediate withdrawal of 50,000 US troops.
And Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – newly converted to fervent opponent of the war following the Democrats’ 2006 wins – complained that the surge “will take us down the wrong road.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
… Iraq, to be sure, is far from a pacified country. Neither can it be said that political normalcy is just around the corner.
But it remains that no political progress could have been made amongst the chaos and bloodshed that marked daily life a year ago – and today Iraqis are infinitely closer to being able to rebuild their country unfettered by Islamist terror.
This is good news.

“But are any of the Democratic candidates honest enough to admit they were wrong?” The New York Post continues:

Are you kidding?
Indeed, as Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman wrote yesterday in The Wall Street Journal: “Had we heeded their calls for retreat, Iraq today would be a country in chaos: a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran.”
Instead, “the forces of Islamist extremism are facing their single and most humiliating defeat since the loss of Afghanistan in 2001.”
… But Democrats – especially the party’s White House hopefuls – either refuse to admit their error or display willful cut-and-run mulishness.
Do none of them understand the consequences of failure in Iraq?
Do they even care?

Tom Gross — Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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