The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Turning Point?

National Review Online reacts to yesterdays New York Times Op-Ed from Democrats Michael O'Hanlon and David Pollack (from the heavily Democratic Brookings Institution think tank...) with a symposium entitled "Turning Point?", including this from Frank Gaffney:
What are we to make of the fact that two of the Democratic party’s most knowledgeable critics of President Bush’s campaign to stabilize and democratize post-Saddam Iraq, Michael O’Hanlon and Robert Pollack, have publicly rejected the defeatists and called for a sustained U.S. effort there into 2008? The short answer is that they have the wit to recognize mistaken claims that all is lost in Iraq when they hear them — and the courage to say so.

This assessment is remarkable, of course, not only for the fact that its authors are breaking ranks with nearly all of the rest of the Democrats’ foreign-policy establishment. It is also noteworthy for being the latest and, arguably, most objective indicator that the situation on the ground in Iraq is, indeed, changing for the better.

As such, the O’Hanlon-Pollack report makes plain one other truth: Those who persist in denying that General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy is having the desired, salutary effect and who insist that our defeat is inevitable are promoting a self-fulfilling prophesy. They are so determined to score domestic political points by unilaterally ending the conflict in Iraq that they are prepared to surrender the country to al Qaeda and various Shiite militias and their respective Saudi, Iranian and Syrian enablers.

Public-opinion polling and anecdotal evidence suggests that Americans are beginning to appreciate the true nature — and potentially enormous costs — of the surrender in Iraq being advocated by many Democrats and a few Republicans. The O’Hanlon-Pollack op-ed may reflect that reality as much as shape it. Either way, its authors deserve our thanks.
James S. Robbins added:
There is no question that on the ground the war is being won. Baghdad is becoming more secure. Iraqi tribal leaders and even some insurgent groups are turning against al Qaeda in Iraq and other outsiders who are pursuing their own violent agenda and who care nothing for the people of Iraq. The activities of Iran, Syria, and other counties supporting the insurgency are coming under increasing scrutiny and public censure. Iraqi military and police forces are fielding thousands of new, trained recruits every month. The government of Iraq may not be addressing all of the legislative initiatives we would like them to, such as the energy law and sorting out power sharing in their federal structure; but it took our country 75 years to come to grips with the contradictions inherent in our Constitution, and with a great deal more violence. We can give them time.

The weak link in the war effort is in the U.S. Congress. Politically driven assessments that downplay the progress of the war, pandering to antiwar groups, and a public that has tuned out, add up to grave difficulties in sustaining the war effort. Given more time, the progress in Iraq will become so clear as to be undeniable, and the troop drawdown could commence on more favorable terms. There is a significant difference between withdrawal in the face of adversity and redeployment after meeting our stated objectives. It is the difference between defeat and victory.
Embedded blogger/reporter/former Green Beret Michael Yon finished a more lengthy post in the symposium with these lines:
Skipping past the blow-by-blow and getting to the bottom line: I sense there has been a fundamental shift in Iraq. One officer called it a “change in the seas,” and I believe his words were accurate. Something has changed. The change is fundamental, and for once seems positive. And so, back to the O’Hanlon-Pollack story in the New York Times, “A War We Just Might Win,” I agree.
The NRO symposium is well worth your time: besides the full entries from Robbins, Gaffney and Yon there are also posts from Victor Davis Hanson, Senator John McCain, Mackubin Thomas Owens, Joseph Morrison Skelley, Clifford D. May, and Peter W. Rodman.

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DiscerningTexan, 7/31/2007 11:06:00 AM |