The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Security Agreement with Iraq May Lead to Dramatic Troop Reductions, Steal Dems' Thunder in Elections
Still, like the surge itself, this announcement and strategy carries with it both great reward (i.e. pulling the rug out for the Democrats' primary issue in an election year), and great risk (if Iraq is not yet fully ready for the withdrawals, and Iraq explodes violently again.).
Fortunately Ed Morrissey has been giving the attention to this "good news" story that the MSM seems not to want to report--at least not before the upcoming primaries. (Go figure.)
Can the Iraqis hold what we have gained? The remaining 50,000 troops obviously will serve as a quick-action reserve and logistics support for the Iraqi Army, and that footprint would allow for re-escalation if absolutely necessary. The IA forces have grown much stronger over the last year, having performed well in firefights and patrols jointly with American forces and increasingly on their own. If General David Petraeus believes that they can handle security with the US strictly in logistical support, then that's tremendous news ... but it's the first we've heard of it.
If the pullout begins in the late spring, it changes the entire tenor of the elections. Both sides can claim some piece of that victory (assuming this works and Iraq does not collapse). Democrats can claim that the Republicans finally capitulated, while the GOP can claim that they remained tenacious until victory was assured. Given the Democrats' inability to affect the war strategy, their argument will be rather weak, and they still will have to explain the rush to surrender in the spring of 2007, led by Harry Reid's declaration of defeat on the Senate floor.
I'm hopeful that we're pursuing the dramatic drawdown for the right reasons. Bush has not caved to political pressure in the past on Iraq when it could have done him much more good than this will do for him. If we can keep al-Qaeda from gaining a toehold again in Iraq and settle into a normal postwar security arrangement similar to those with Germany and Japan, then we have won an important victory -- and we will have more resources and political will to use in Afghanistan to tackle AQ at its source.