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June 02, 2008

WaPo Asks: Why Is No One Noticing the Successes in Iraq?

Partly, of course, it's because the Washington Post joined the rest of the media in a conspiracy to denigrate or simply ignore the success of the surge.

But now they've decided that honesty compels them to admit the obvious.

This is a huge editorial. The rest of the MSM has to answer the WaPo's question; they can't easily be ignored, the way that right-leaning organizations and columnists are routinely ignored.

The Iraqi Upturn

Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.

THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is -- of course -- too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments -- and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).


...

If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama [and everyone in the MSM -- ed.], might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq's 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success.

Unhinged hack Andrew Sullivan has offered the predictable leftist response to this editorial -- basically, the success means that Obama has to push faster for surrender, because, um, the best time to surrender is when you're on the verge of victory, I guess.

That's as idiotic as most of Sullivan's oevure. Of course liberals and conservatives have the same ultimate goal regarding US troops in Iraq -- namely, get them out -- and I'm happier than most liberals about this rush of victory because, unlike most of them, I really do care that troops are being killed and see them as more than convenient, if thuggish, murderous, and troglodytic, props to be used in a political war against George W. Bush. I'd guess almost every conservative in America wants the troops home for the sake the troops more than almost any liberal does.

But of course this entire line of spin is ridiculous. If victory is coming, as it appears to be, of course most of the troops will return home, and the rest will remain in relative safely and calm as troops do in Germany and South Korea. There's no reason to push a "plan for withdrawal" when a plan for victory accomplishes both military victory and withdrawal just as quickly as any "phased over-the-horizon redeployment to Okinawa."

But most liberals actually do not want there to be a victory in Iraq, even if one could be had with no further US combat deaths. They crave defeat and surrender as a positive outcome, as it vindicates their long-held claims of futility and defeatism, undermines their hated enemy George Bush, and most importantly, chastens the evil America that sends troops to foreign lands and gives it a "teachable moment" in pacifism and isolationism.

Still, it'll be interesting to watch the rest of MSM begrudgingly admit "some" progress while repeating Sullivan's spin (hopefully more persuasively) that defeat can and must be snatched from the jaws of victory.

Unless, as is possible, the MSM simply decides to ignore even the Washington Post.

Even NPR... featured a reporter in Iraqi noting the great progress. I'm searching for the program -- I guess it aired around 3:15-3:30 or so Eastern time -- but I'm not finding it.

He offered all the usual caveats -- everything could fall apart, reporters still can't move freely in Baghdad due to the kidnap threat, etc. -- but was pretty definitive on the fact that there are remarkable improvements. Including, if I heard this right, that today or yesterday was the first day that zero bodies were discovered after having been kidnapped, killed, and unceremoniously dumped. During the worst of the violence, that number was something like 50-60 per day.


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posted by Ace at 01:48 PM

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