For the past few years I have written over and over again about the good news from Iraq. My friend, Arthur Chrenkoff, even had a regular column featuring that news that few in the mainstream media would report. I thought it was important to note the successes of our troops. To listen to people like Harry Reid declare we had already lost in Iraq was a slap in the face of every one of our men and women who had achieved so much in the region and it infuriated me.
As the news from Iraq improved over the past two years I continued to relay it to readers here. The liberal readers regularly told me I was crazy. If I posted information about a positive development in Iraq they would ridicule me and point to the latest bombing in Iraq — as if the only way there could be progress in Iraq was if there were zero casualties. (They evidently were not aware that people died in WWII and other wars as well.) Those people who were so invested in the defeat of the United States in Iraq in order to score political points against George Bush that they regularly ignored, denigrated and downplayed the incredible work of our armed forces there are the lowest on earth, in my opinion. Not only were they despicable, but they were dead wrong and so far I have yet to find one even today who will admit it.
This is a topic I could go on about for hours, but instead I will refer readers to Michael Gerson’s column today in which he points to the topic in the context of the decency of George Bush.
Election Day 2008 must have been filled with rueful paradoxes for the sitting president. Iraq — the issue that dominated George W. Bush’s presidency for five and a half bitter, controversial years — is on the verge of a miraculous peace. And yet this accomplishment did little to revive Bush’s political standing — or to prevent his party from relegating him to a silent role.
The achievement is historic. In 2006, Iraq had descended into a sectarian killing spree that only seemed likely to stop when the supply of victims was exhausted. Showing Truman-like stubbornness, Bush pushed to escalate a war that most Americans — and some at the Pentagon — had already mentally abandoned.
The result? A Sunni tribal revolt against their al-Qaeda oppressors, an effective campaign against Shiite militias in Baghdad and Basra, and the flight of jihadists from Iraq to less deadly battlefields. In a more stable atmosphere, Iraq’s politicians have made dramatic political progress. Iraqi military and police forces have grown in size and effectiveness and now fully control 13 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. And in the month before Election Day, American combat deaths matched the lowest of the entire war.
For years, critics of the Iraq War asked the mocking question: “What would victory look like?” If progress continues, it might look something like what we’ve seen.
I will be mining some of the comment threads of my posts from the past couple of years for examples of those who were sure all was lost in Iraq. I am curious about whether or not any of those who made such comments will admit that there is great progress in Iraq now, beyond anything they would have ever believed.