A few years ago most on the left declared the war in Iraq lost. A couple of years ago those on the left said the surge could not work. A year ago some on the left were still saying the surge was not working. Several months ago Obama belatedly admitted the surge had been successful (when it became impossible to deny), but said he still would have voted against it. Even today many on the left laugh at the idea that one day history might judge Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in a positive light. I am sure they assumed if that ever happened it would be decades from now and they would probably be dead anyway. They might have assumed wrong.
William Shallcross wrote the following in The Guardian:
There were lamentable failures in the subsequent US occupation, which allowed the rise of the hideous sectarian violence that threatened to tear the country to pieces. But in the last two years the “surge” of US troops under General David Petraeus appears to have destroyed much of the terrorists’ infrastructure and support. Now, as US troops begin their phased withdrawal, the new American-trained Iraqi army is defending the country against Islamist violence.
There will be further setbacks. But who knows, Iraq may yet even become a model for democratic change in other Arab countries. If so, who deserves some credit? The much maligned President Bush. And Tony Blair.
For the defeatists who two years ago believed that a military solution to the violence and chaos in Iraq was impossible — and Obama must be included among them — now is the time for revision. According to Joe Klein, Maliki and his Dawa party succeeded in these elections because “he wooed and won Muqtada al-Sadr supporters.” That’s a funny way to describe a strategy that, last April, Klein was attacking as “the Maliki government’s recent abortive offensive against Sadr’s forces in Basra.” In fact, the offensive was just one of many tactical success facilitated by the surge of U.S. forces ordered by President Bush and almost universally opposed by his betters at Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times.
Every time I have written about success in Iraq I have added the warning that things are still extremely fragile and could easily be reversed. I still believe things there are fragile, but it appears democracy and freedom in Iraq are a big hit. When people achieve a certain level of liberty it becomes harder to ever want to “go back.” I still worry that an abrupt change in our Iraq policy could reverse the progress we have made there. Obama told us he would have withdrawn our troops a couple of years ago — before the mission was completed. We would have been withdrawing in defeat. I hope that the situation in Iraq has improved to the point that it cannot easily be “undone.” If we continue to see the kind of progress we are seeing now in Iraq, those on the left may even be forced to admit Bush and Blair were right during this lifetime. I’ll bet a year ago that would have been more than even George Bush would have dared hope. What is more likely is that those on the left will spin and “revise” as William Goldfarb discusses. Who knows? If Iraq eventually becomes an undeniable success those on the left might even figure out a way to take credit for it.
Update: This is the scariest, and most outrageous thing I have read in a while. I really hope the report is flawed because if Barack Obama is doing what Frank Gaffney and Bill Gertz report, I don’t see how he can be trusted with the security of this country.
Diplomatic sources said Barack Obama has engaged several Arab intermediaries to relay messages to and from al Qaeda in the months before his elections as the 44th U.S. president. The sources said al Qaeda has offered what they termed a truce in exchange for a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. ‘For the last few months, Obama has been receiving and sending feelers to those close to al Qaeda on whether the group would end its terrorist campaign against the United States,’ a diplomatic source said. ‘Obama sees this as helpful to his plans to essentially withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq during his first term in office.’ ”
I find this incredibly hard to believe. I sincerely hope this is not true because if it is I fear for this country. I will follow this one and update when confirmed or debunked.
UPDATE:I just heard back from a couple of people with some national security connections who say they think the story from the “diplomatic source” Gertz reported is bunk as far as the contact with al Qaeda operatives goes. I hope they are right.