from the NRO Symposium on the NYT Op-Ed about Iraq:
Frank J. Gaffney Jr:
Those who persist in denying that General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy is having the desired, salutary effect and who insist that our defeat is inevitable are promoting a self-fulfilling prophesy. They are so determined to score domestic political points by unilaterally ending the conflict in Iraq that they are prepared to surrender the country to al Qaeda and various Shiite militias and their respective Saudi, Iranian and Syrian enablers.
Makes me so mad I could spit!
Victor Davis Hanson:
The irony is that should President Bush endure the hysteria and furor and prove able to give the gifted Gen. Petraeus the necessary time — and I think he will — his presidency could still turn out to be Trumanesque, once we digest the changes in Europe, the progress on North Korea, the end of both the Taliban and Saddam, and the prevention of another 9/11 attack. How odd that all the insider advice to triangulate — big spending, new programs, uninspired appointments, liberal immigration reform — have nearly wrecked the administration, and what were once considered its liabilities — foreign policy, the war on terror and Iraq — may still save it.
Republican presidents should never slouch leftward. But they often do, don’t they?…to their own detriment, and to the detriment of the entire country.
Clifford D. May:
But most Americans have heard only the drumbeat of the antiwar Left. The Left has been banging out the message that the Petraeus mission has failed — since before the Petraeus mission was fully underway. And most of the mainstream media have been unwilling even to suggest an alternative narrative. (A notable exception is the Times’ own John Burns, a reporter who is apparently not read by Times editorial writers.)
So the O’Hanlon/Pollack op-ed is important. It forces the conversation to re-open.
Let’s see if CNN, and MSNBC starts sounding more optimistic in their coverage.
We must prevail. General Petraeus and his troops have asked Congress for just two things: the time and support they need to carry out their mission. They must have both, however much the congressional Democrats seek to withhold them. That is why I will keep fighting to ensure that our commanders have what they need to win this war.
Did you hear that? McCain just said, the Democrats do not want to support the troops!
Mackubin Thomas Owens:
Time is running out, not in Iraq but in Washington, D.C., where, as more than one commentator has pointed out, the Democratic majority in Congress and the party’s presidential candidates all seem to have opted for defeat and disgrace. Thanks to these geniuses and the Republicans who enable them, we may be on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
James S. Robbins:
The weak link in the war effort is in the U.S. Congress. Politically driven assessments that downplay the progress of the war, pandering to antiwar groups, and a public that has tuned out, add up to grave difficulties in sustaining the war effort. Given more time, the progress in Iraq will become so clear as to be undeniable, and the troop drawdown could commence on more favorable terms.
Peter W. Rodman:
Journalists not driven by anti-Bush animus may now want to herd in the more positive direction.
We can always hope.
Joseph Morrison Skelly: (what’s with all these 3-part names? Sheesh).
The critics of this war will never alter their tune, since they have so much invested in failure. But the rhetoric of the skeptics may change gradually. Like the national mood, it will be influenced by events on the ground. Should progress continue, people will wish to be associated with it. We will thus witness the truth inherent in the well known adage, “Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”
There are a lot of orphans out there in the Democratic party.
Skipping past the blow-by-blow and getting to the bottom line: I sense there has been a fundamental shift in Iraq. One officer called it a “change in the seas,” and I believe his words were accurate. Something has changed. The change is fundamental, and for once seems positive. And so, back to the O’Hanlon-Pollack story in the New York Times, “A War We Just Might Win,” I agree.
I suspect many Democrats will agree to disagree.
I’m hoping that this more optimistic view from former war critics is the first of many more to come. But I won’t hold my breath.