Noticing Success

The Associated Press has noticed that some Democrats have noticed that the “surge” is producing results on the ground in Iraq:

One senator said U.S. troops are routing out al-Qaida in parts of Iraq. Another insisted President Bush’s plan to increase troops has caused tactical momentum.
One even went so far on Wednesday as to say the argument could be made that U.S. troops are winning.
These are not Bush-backing GOP die-hards, but Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, Bob Casey and Jack Reed. Even Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, said progress was being made by soldiers.
The suggestions by them and other Democrats in recent days that at least a portion of Bush’s strategy in Iraq is working is somewhat surprising, considering the bitter exchanges on Capitol Hill between the Democratic majority and Republicans and Bush. Democrats have long said Bush’s policies have been nothing more than a complete failure.

There are two possibilities here: either the Democrats are acting in good faith, and are honest enough to acknowledge success when they see it, or polls and focus groups have convinced them that they need to distance themselves from the MoveOn, anti-military wing of their party. Somewhat surprisingly, the AP suggests the latter explanation:

The Democrats’ choice to acknowledge the military’s progress in Iraq signals support for the troops, a message that voters want to hear.

I might be more charitable. Events, as usual, are in the saddle, and the Democrats can no more ignore signs of progress today than Republicans could ignore the trouble we’ve experienced in Iraq over the last several years. It will be some time before events make clear who, in the end, was right about Iraq.
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