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July 30, 2007

Surprise: NYT Op-Ed From Fellows At Liberal Brookings Institution Proclaim We Just Might Win In Iraq

I take back everything I ever said about liberal paranoia -- there is a neocon conspiracy afoot, and They put out the word to bring everyone in on this.

Who did They mean by everyone?

Well, everyone.

Worth reading all the way through, of course, but here's the obligatory teasers:

VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

If this Blogging Heads exchange is any indication (it's loooong), at least some of the less moonbattish of liberal war critics aren't quite certain any longer we should abandon Iraq to genocide and Al Qaeda. Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus can't quite endorse a continuing presence in Iraq, but it's good to see they are at least grappling with the newer facts on the ground, as well as with something liberals claim to have in great quantities yet often demonstrate little of -- "the politics of uncertainty," as the One True Conservative on the Internet calls it.

It's something, at least.

Actually... Wright's hemming and hawing can just be an attempt to pay lip service to a mission he and other liberals supposedly believe in -- using American might to prevent genocide. It could just be that he's attempting to appear consistent, while having no real interest in actually being consistent on this point. Just wants the appearance.

But for what it's worth his ambivalence seems genuine to me.


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posted by Ace at 01:36 PM

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