Woodward, the Surge and Bush's Legacy

Bob Woodward has a new book out. Flash: It’s not very favorable to President Bush. No surprise there. But it actually may tell a story different than what the author intends. It shows that Bush’s surge strategy may go down as one of the greatest turnarounds in American military history.

Yes, I know the jury is still out on Iraq, and things could still go wrong. And I also know that Woodward’s book shows the president was slow to adopt the surge strategy. But I also know that in the end he made the right decision, and his detractors in the Senate did not.

It was not long ago that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was saying the “this war is lost.” And he was not alone. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama agreed with Reid to the point of trying to cut of funding for our troops.

Now Obama says the surge was a “success beyond our wildest dreams.” But he still refuses to admit that he made a mistake. Even if he wins the presidency, any objective historian will have to judge him harshly for having sold our military and our country short in their time of greatest need.

Can you imagine the outcomes of some of our other wars if the Obamas and the Reids of the time had prevailed? Suppose someone like them had managed to cut off funding for, say, Lincoln’s forces in the grim days after Gen. Joseph Hooker got his tail kicked at the Battle of Chancellorsville. There were plenty of people in the North who wanted to throw in the towel after that. If they had got their way, and forced a negotiated peace with the South, things could have ended up very different indeed.

I wonder what Obama would have thought of that historical outcome?

Or imagine if some historic Reid or Obama, fed up with Gen. George Washington’s loss of New York City in 1777, tried to completely cut off all support that kept his little army alive on the banks of the Delaware River. There would have been nothing left to attack Trenton with a few weeks later. The game would have been up and the American Revolution lost.

I wonder what Reid would have thought of that outcome?

Luckily for America, Washington and Lincoln did not succumb to the defeatists of their times. They had a greater faith not only in their military forces but also in America’s cause.

And so did George W. Bush. This president has been maligned for many mistakes. He may not always have made the right decisions. And he did take a long time to get the military strategy right. But so did Lincoln and Washington. People should remember that when they judge Bush’s legacy.