Buried deep in this AP report, between news of a crackdown on al Qaeda in Mosul and a suicide bombing in Baqouba, is Nancy Pelosi’s concession that the surge is succeeding. According to AP, the Speaker, who made a surprise visit to Iraq, “expressed confidence that expected provincial elections will promote national reconciliation.” She also “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.”
As Abe Greenwald points out, in February Pelosi said that “the purpose of the surge was to create a secure time for the government of Iraq to make the political change to bring reconciliation to Iraq; they have not done that.” Since she now finds the government is making the changes that will promote reconciliation, it should follow that, in her estimation, the surge is well on its way to accomplishing its purpose.
Perhaps this is the prelude to Pelosi adopting Senator George Aiken’s prescription for Vietnam, “declare victory and leave.” But acknowledging this much progress is dangerous for those who advocate our withdrawal since (a) the public may be less enthusiastic about pulling out entirely if it thinks we’re succeding and (b) in the event of serious deterioration post-withdrawal, it will be clear that we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
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