Monday, October 22, 2007

Losing the Anti-War War

Evidence that the Iraq narrative has turned is everywhere.

“Victory Is Within Reach in Iraq,” a Wall Street Journal headline enthuses this weekend, claiming that “highly respected officers including the commander of Special Forces in Iraq, Gen. Stanley McCrystal, reportedly feel it is justified by the facts on the ground.”

The Washington Post reports “The Next Challenge in Iraq,” quoting Adm. William Fallon, head of the U.S. Central Command:

"I look at the numbers, and I say the success that General Petraeus and the guys have made is amazing. But how do we leverage that to get the Iraqi government to take decisions that will provide enduring security? How do we help them take advantage of this?"

The Los Angeles Times cites, “Tough going for antiwar Republicans,” reporting that “Despite months of pressure, no more than eight Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have backed any measure that mandates a troop withdrawal. And GOP strategists predict that is unlikely to change.”

How much our situation in Iraq has changed is highly debatable, but the battle is Washington seems to be lost. What do Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi do now?

Bush’s stubbornness and their own ineffectual legislative maneuvering have put them in a bind. To persist in railing against the war may only feed charges that they are “defeatist.” To back off efforts to get us out of Iraq will enrage those who gave them control of Congress to do just that.

In coming months, they will undoubtedly concentrate on domestic issues--health insurance, housing, tax reform--to persuade voters that Democrats can get something done.

Meanwhile, the dying in Iraq goes on. The numbers may be slightly smaller, but the blood is just as real as it was before Americans lost hope of stopping it anytime soon.

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