Reality in Iraq: Yes, America, we are WINNING
While the candidates for president here in the US have been battling it out in an effort to win your vote, while their primary campaigns went on earlier this year, the progress in Iraq carried over from the previous year. Two great articles today – one, shockingly from the NYT – slam that point home:
—– Dexter Filkins writes a piece for the NYT titled “Back in Iraq, Jarred by the Calm.” In it, Filkins writes about the Iraq he saw 2 years ago, versus the one he saw recently. Iraq is by no means a perfect place, Filkins notes, but the success of the surge cannot be denied.
—– On the WSJ opinion page, Matthew Kaminksi has written an interview he did with retired four star general Jack Keane, who Kaminski describes as a “close friend and mentor to Gen. Petraeus.” Of Gen. Keane’s contribution to the successful Iraq war surge strategy, Kaminski writes:
Talk to others, however, and the unusual and critical role he played these past two years becomes clear. Gen. Keane helped conceive the new Iraq war strategy and then sell it to the White House. He advised on its implementation, visiting Iraq often and reporting back to the president and vice president. As recounted in Bob Woodward’s new book, “The War Within,” George W. Bush stiffed his Joint Chiefs of Staff, who opposed the surge, and made Gen. Keane his back channel to the Petraeus command in Baghdad. The Pentagon “almost presided over an American defeat in Iraq, and Jack Keane helped save the day,” says Michael O’Hanlon, a scholar at the Brookings Institution.
Make sure to read the whole thing. Both of them together, in concert with what we’ve read from the embeds and others willing to give us the full story about what’s happened in Iraq over the last two years, make strong points about the remarkable turnaround there – no thanks whatsoever to defeatists like Barack Obama, who said a couple of months ago knowing what he knows now about the success of the surge and the downturn in violence that he still would have opposed it.
The economy is a front and center issue right now, but we must never forget that on the number one most important issue of our time – winning the war in Iraq as part of the overall Global War on Terror, John Mccain, an early proponent of the surge when not many others were listening, was right. And Barack Obama was wrong.
And still is.
Credit goes not only to Petraeus, Keane, Bush, McCain and other supporters of the Iraq war who never gave up on the idea that we, along with coalition forces in Iraq, could win this thing – but also to our brave men and women on the ground in Iraq, working in concert with both our coalition allies as well as courageous Iraqi men and women themselves, who have made it all happen. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re in a position now that few ever thought we’d be two years ago: on a clear course to win this war, to complete the mission that will bring a form of democracy and security to the Iraqi people. Once that happens, then the majority of our troops can finally come home – with honor, and the accolades they so richly deserve.