Sunday, July 29, 2007

A "Nixon goes to China" moment

When the New York Times publishes an editorial titled "A War We Just Might Win", its a signal for Al Quaeda to start looking for another failed nation to infect:
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.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.

It's also a signal for Democrats to get serious if they really want us to lose this war. The jaws of victory won't stay open forever.


Blogger Bret said...

The jaws of victory may not stay open forever, but they'll be open well the next election and changing of the guard. Plenty of time.

July 30, 2007 4:43 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

I don't think so. This development will help Hillary Clinton, who has positioned herself as a centrist within the Democrat party. She's never admitted to regretting her support for the war authorization, which hurt her with the far left, but an improving situation in Iraq works to her benefit now. See Rich Lowry's essay Hillary the Underestimated.

Americans aren't wedded to defeat, they just get demoralized and impatient when victory doesn't come quickly or unambiguously. If there is hope of a light at the end of the tunnel, then most Americans would rather see us do the right thing and win it, in my opinion. The Democrats, those that really want a defeat, really have to nip this nascent optimism in the bud if they want to avoid a situation in the 2008 elections where the Republican candidate is not tainted by ignominious defeat in Iraq.

July 30, 2007 7:02 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I heard a similar coming to China moment last week on NPR.

It was a Mr. Jaw meet Mr. Floor with loud, anvil-like clang moment.

July 30, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

I didn't say we would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, only that there is plenty of time to do so. If we withdraw completely from Iraq any time in the next several years, Iraq will descend into chaos and our enemies will be emboldened. That's my definition of defeat.

July 30, 2007 6:36 PM  

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