She’ll be my uncle:
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.
It is hard to imagine a more complete display of sneering triumphalism than that gem offered up by Victor Davis Hanson at NRO, and as such, it is probably just mean-spirited to point out that what Hanson is actually celebrating is that the violence is now down to the levels where it was deemed so bad that we needed the surge in the first place. Huzzah! That isn’t to diminish the good news of late- less violence and fewer dead civilians and soldiers is undeniably good news, and I am glad to hear it. It is, however, with no accompanying political reconciliation (the stated goal of the surge), and with the surge ending, I might suggest it is a touch early to be breaking out the champagne bottles or erecting ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners.
Regardless, I will make Hanson a deal- if things continue to get better, and if Iraq is stable (and I mean stable, not just “as violent as it was a year ago” stable, but actually stable, with real political progress), I will be the first to throw $100.00 into a fund for a statue of George Bush, complete with the Powerline’s paean to his genius etched into the base, as long as we begin to bring the troops home. If it isn’t stable, Hanson will promise to be the first to call for an immediate troop drawdown and a timetable for complete withdrawal.
It is a bet I hope to lose, because I want a stable Iraq. I also want our troops home.
*** Update ***
This too, seems to be exceptionally good news:
In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.
Saad al-Azawi, his wife and four children are among them. They fled to Syria six months ago, leaving behind what had become one of the capital’s more dangerous districts—west Baghdad’s largely Sunni Khadra region.
More news like this would certainly make me happy.