Progress in Iraq

Two vocal critics of the Iraq War went to Iraq and have a surprisingly positive take on the war.

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.

I think all of us should know, at a gut level, that things were not being handled well for a good while. Those of us who support the war, at least most of us who have not bailed, had an equal sense that things would get corrected if given the time.

It appears that this is happening. By most reports the plan is starting to work. The biggest problem is that the media equates the surge with the plan. They are not the same thing. The surge is just one of a large number of tactical changes. And we’re getting results.

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.

This has been one of the Bush administration’s mistakes. We’re not going to have “victory” in Iraq. We are going to make it possible for the Iraqis to stand up and exert positive responsibility.

And that’s a good thing.

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Erick Erickson

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1 Comment

  • Well I watched Mr. Pollack being interviewed on CNN with Blitzer this afternoon, and he said that he his co-writer would have never gave this title to the op-ed. Pollack went on to back pedal quite a bit by saying that he and the other writer were only in Iraq for eight days on a military sanctioned/guided tour. If you noticed, Pollack did not interview NCOs and grunts in this writing. Any interactions with the soldiers is restricted in order to paint a prettier picture. Pollack said that he was “guardedly optimistic” because there were many problems with the sectarian violence.

    Would I like a win, you betcha but when the war became political in 2004 “Mission Accomplished,” and the decision was made to not fight the fight with the military, the war was a disaster in progress. The war was not a cakewalk and no war is ever a cakewalk. I talked to veterans at Snow’s Memorial last year on Veterans Day, and they were glad they were about to retire, the active duty ones that is because they complained about the politicization of the war. When the autrocities happened at Abu Grah (sp?) that is another chalk in the butt of our military efforts. We lost the trust of the Muslims throughout the world when this was exposed. It is just sickening all of the things that have made our military look bad. The people that did these bad things are not typical of the military, and many of the bad things happened because of contracting out too many activities that the military should have been directly responsible for.