Democrat denial and Iraqi results
...Republicans need to turn Iraq into a losing issue for Democrats. So far they have been passive in that regard. I think Giuliani may be the best to attack Democrats on the issue, though Fred Thompson has also shown an instinct for attacking them on the issue in his own droll way. Romney has been ambiguous on the war issue as well as other issues and McCain, while proven right on Iraq is much too respectful of his Senate colleagues to attacking them the way they should be on the issue.
The pessimists and defeatists who declared the surge doomed and said we were digging ourselves into a deeper hole have been proven wrong. The story of Iraq now is that terrorists have been killed, captured or driven out of territory retaken and cleansed by American and Iraqi forces — a coalition that has stabilized much of the country.
But statistics are one thing, and the response of the Iraqi people is quite another. The most dramatic sign of improvement in Iraq can be seen in the number of Iraqi refugees who fled the violence at the height of the war and are now returning home in increasing numbers. Most of these returning Iraqis do so knowing their land is still a dangerous place, that the war is not over and that al Qaeda killers still have the power to strike.
But there is a sense that the tide has turned in the Iraqis' favor, at least for now. There is renewed hope for their country's future, hope that Iraq will one day be united and safe. And hope can be a very powerful ally to a people beset by war, imparting a strength that can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, hardships and grief. Little by little we are beginning to see a rebirth of hope in Iraq.
Perhaps the key part of Gen. David Petraeus' counterinsurgency has been his efforts to cement nationalist alliances with Shi'ite and Sunni tribal leaders who have turned against their common al Qaeda enemy.
One of the most interesting trends that has followed the offensive has been a growing confidence among many Iraqis, a feeling they are responsible for their country's destiny and must fight back when threatened by the thugs and killers in their midst....
You would never know anything had changed for the better in Iraq if you listened to the Senate Democrats this month. They refused to even acknowledge that the situation in Iraq had vastly improved.
Indeed, despite all the evidence proving President Bush's surge has been successful, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is still pushing legislation to set a timetable for the quick withdrawal of all U.S. forces. Mr. Reid and his cohorts do not want a successful conclusion to the war in Iraq. They want a political issue that will fire up their party's antiwar base in 2008.
But Mr. Bush, Gen. Petraeus and the Republicans are seeking something very different. They want to achieve enough progress there, and buy enough time, to allow the Iraqi military to take over the defense of their country so we can start bringing our men and women home.
As of last week, the surge was working better than anyone could have possibly predicted and the Democrats' political exploitation of the war as a campaign issue was losing.
The Politico reports that McCain actually does get tough on Sen. Clinton:
...We need more of this.
“Is that the same Sen. Clinton that said she had to suspend disbelief in order to acknowledge to that the strategy of the surge was succeeding?” McCain said in reference to Clinton’s statement that the United States should stop trying to intervene in a “civil war” in Iraq. “Clearly, it’s succeeding. You would have to suspend disbelief to believe that it’s not.”
McCain later said Clinton’s support for a phased withdrawal from Iraq “would have been a catastrophe for the United States of America.”
“Look, now the same people who were saying seven or eight months were saying you can’t succeed militarily, we’ve succeeded military. Sen. Edwards used to call it the ‘McCain strategy.’ He doesn’t call it that anymore,” McCain claimed. “Their record is wrong on this. My record is right.”