I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Will Petraeus Report on the Troop Surge Really Matter?

On September 15th, General David Petraeus, the commanding General in Iraq, will deliver his report to the President and Congress on the progress of the troop surge. Almost immediately after Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be the next commander in Iraq, the same politicians who voted to confirm him started to ridicule and question his ability to lead. The troop surge is the increase of 20,000 new troops being sent to Iraq to provide security in Baghdad and Al Anbar. The surge was initiated in February and just recently the last of the 20,000 new troops arrived in Iraq. The democrat controlled Congress has debated ever since over the outcome of the plan.

In June, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the war is lost and the surge is a failure. Let me remind you that not all of the 20,000 troops had arrived in Iraq, but yet Senator Reid has declared himself a prophet. He can foresee the future. Reid could see in June that we were going to lose. Or was it that he wanted the surge to fail for political reasons? Before the insults start, and I am inevitably called a variety of names, which by the way none of them are new, allow me to complete my diatribe.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has stated that she has already made up her mind that the surge has failed. She has said that it doesn’t matter what the commanding General in Iraq says in September, she believes it has failed. Even after good news was reported in Iraq, Pelosi said that the political situation hadn’t improved, so the military advances meant nothing.

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin went to Iraq and actually admitted that the troop surge was in fact working. He then decided that he needed to instruct the Iraqi Parliament to remove the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iraq. He said that the political environment in Iraq had not progressed far enough so Prime Minister Maliki needed to go. Have you noticed a trend yet?

House Majority Whip James Clyburn has said that if the report from Petraeus is good, it could be a big problem for Democrats. He was referring to the 47 Blue Dog Democrats that would then feel compelled to keep the troops in Iraq until victory is ultimately achieved. Many on the left have spun his remarks to say that he was not referring to the Democrats being politically invested in the defeat of our troops. If the Blue Dogs will be swayed by good news from Iraq and the rest of the Democrats will not be, what exactly are we supposed to think? If news that our troops are winning does not change the Democratic policy of surrender and defeat, then one can only surmise that they are only interested in our defeat.

The Democrats have tried to change their strategy of late. As more and more good news from Iraq comes out, the party leadership has tried to shift the focus off of military success to political success of the fledgling Iraqi government. Senator Hillary Clinton has changed her position to one of a hawk that would leave the troops in Iraq for at least 2 years after her hopeful election as President. She has gone from staunch supporter of her vote to send the troops, to Bush lied to me to get my vote, to I would bring them home as soon as I am elected, to now I would leave them there to finish the job. Is it any wonder she has the highest negative ratings of any of the current crop of candidates for President? It is very hard to support a candidate that decides which position to take on an issue by licking their finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

I admit that the news from Iraq over the past few years has not always been very good. I also admit that the Iraqi government has not done enough to help unite the opposing factions. We should not arbitrarily pull our troops out of Iraq, or leave them in Iraq just because it will benefit one political party or the other. I will admit defeat when I see it, but we are not there yet; especially when the report from Petraeus has not even been written up. I must ask a few questions of my friends that oppose the war. Is there any circumstance that you would admit that we have won? If the report from Petraeus comes out in a few weeks with all benchmarks met and the security of Baghdad and Al Anbar is under control; will it be a good thing for the United States and Iraq or a bad thing? Sadly, I believe that the Democratic leadership is anchored to the defeat of our troops and the Iraqi government; and nothing will change their minds.

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