Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Surge Worked

Get over it.

A couple of days ago Katie Couric asked an increasingly annoyed Barack Obama about the surge. A year ago Obama insisted that the surge would only make things worse. Now he admits that it made things better but refused to treat this as a positive result. Eventually he made it clear that he thought that winning in Iraq was a bad idea when the money it took could have been spent elsewhere. This gave McCain an opening to accuse Obama of being more interested in winning an election than winning a war.

A clip and transcript of the interview are here along with some rather slanted commentary. Since the commentary pretty much reads from Obama's playbook, I will address it.
Even if we could cast the "Surge" as an unqualified success, the overall strategy has netted America four major failures. And within the larger context of a failure to find WMDs, a failure to improve America's security, a failure to thwart or even impede al Qaeda in the wake of 9/11, and a failure to prevent malign regional forces like Iran and Hezbollah from increasing their regional influence, the "Surge" is entirely without relevance...

So, is the surge irrelevant? Not in the least. None of these four "failures" stand up to scrutiny.

First there is the WMD issue. The left buried it and the Bush administration allowed them to but it was proven that Saddam had the ability to reconstitute his WMD program as soon as sanctions were lifted. Had we not invaded then Iraq would probably be a nuclear power by now.

The next two "failures" are really the same thing said twice. Did the war in Iraq impede al Qaeda and therefore make America safer? Al Qaeda itself announced that it was making Iraq the center of its efforts. Had we simply left and spent the money elsewhere as Obama wanted then Iraq would have become a failed state, the sort of place that al Qaeda likes to use as a headquarters. By defeating them, we not only denied them a new base, we showed the world that we are stronger. Perceptions like this matter.

This tied into the final "failure". A failed Iraq would have been overrun by Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda to the benifit of all three. It would have taken decades for things to settle down.

It should also be pointed out that what the US did was not simply increase the number fo boots on the ground. We changed strategies. Soldiers stopped hiding in large bases. We built on the early Awakening movement and fostered it across Iraq. Anyone who thinks that the surge was nothing but extra soldiers patrolling the streets was not paying attention. This means you, Candidate Obama.

The Left has painted itself into a corner. They invested so much energy insisting that Bush was wrong and we could not win in Iraq that they are unable to admit victory. Obama is even deeper since his main qualification to the presidency is his judgement. If he admits that McCain was right about a major policy issue like the surge then he is admitting that he has no business in the White House.

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