Brother Lane has already covered this matter at great and effective length, but it is certainly worth noting anew that a little more than a year after we were being told by the bien pensant community that we had lost in Iraq, it is now clear that we are winning and that for all practical purposes, the military stage of the reconstruction effort may be reaching an end. I am a cautious fellow, of course, and I would rather that we not let up but if the question of whether we can let up is in any way a reasonable question to ask these days, it is solely and exclusively due to the surge, the counterinsurgency effort and the extraordinary leadership of people like General Petraeus–who, of course, was mocked for the very ideas that have so dramatically turned the tide for American forces in Iraq.
Of course, Barack Obama has tried to be a Johnny-come-lately on this issue, telling us that we can leave now because the surge he derided, the surge he still won’t admit was appropriate to implement, helped bring about a significant improvement in Iraq. He will tell us that our troops and General Petraeus performed brilliantly but he won’t admit that the very plan they so brilliantly implemented was one that he opposed and one that he still will not give credit to for making life in Iraq better. I don’t know if he will get away with using the surge to his advantage to pursue a withdrawal plan that may be precipitous and will not consider conditions on the ground. But if he does, then the electorate and the punditry class will have fallen down on the job and will have paved the way for the implementation of a strategy that could reverse all of the gains the surge and the counterinsurgency plan have made.
Just a thought: Let’s try not to let that happen.