We noted here that Nancy Pelosi, making an unannounced visit to Iraq, seemed to acknowledge that the surge had successfully created an opportunity for political progress to be made:
The prime minister returned to Baghdad from Mosul — where he has been overseeing the crackdown — to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday.
Pelosi, a top Democratic critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, expressed confidence that expected provincial elections will promote national reconciliation.
She welcomed Iraq’s progress in passing a budget as well as oil legislation, and a bill paving the way for the provincial elections in the fall that are expected to more equitably redistribute power among local officials.
“We’re assured the elections will happen here, they will be transparent, they will be inclusive and they will take Iraq closer to the reconciliation we all want it to have,” said Pelosi.
It was refreshing to see such a positive reaction to developments in Iraq from a leading Democrat, but Pelosi’s “confidence” was apparently short lived. Yesterday, in an interview on NPR, Pelosi was her old self:
SEABROOK: And what was your message to them?
PELOSI: My message to them is a constant message. It’s a message that we voted last week in Congress: that the American people have lost patience with this war, we’ve lost far too many of our young men and women, we have too many injuries, we have loss in reputation in the world, loss in taxpayers’ dollars, loss in capability to meet our threats to our country and our friends wherever they may occur; that we had passed last week legislation that would call for the responsible, honorable and safe redeployment of our troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009.
SEABROOK: And I understand you speak with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki about provincial elections.
PELOSI: Prime Minister al-Maliki and the speaker both told us that the provincial elections would take place this year, that they would be transparent, inclusive, and that they would lead to reconciliation in Iraq.
I hope that’s the case. That’s what they maintained. But then we’ve heard that song before. ***
[T]he Iraqi government has had the opportunity with the secured time that the surge has given them to make the political changes necessary. They have not done that. ***
SEABROOK: Speaker Pelosi, you were last in Iraq just after the Democrats, you, took the majority in the House of Representatives. Have you seen any progress?
PELOSI: There may be a little progress. I don’t know. It’s not obvious.
And whatever it is, it’s certainly not enough for the cost it has been to us in terms of lives and dollars and reputation and military capability.
It was almost as if she’d never been to Iraq at all.