Any post-surge trip to Iraq is bound to be disappointing to Obama; at the very least it will force him to update his dusty read on Iraq, where things, Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi tells us, "have improved."
They have improved because al-Qaida in Iraq has been routed. Even the New York Times, the Iraq war’s persistent doomsday machine, has noted the change, not that any of this will have much effect on Times editorials. This far into the election season, politicians and partisan newspapers have already completed their narratives, their books have been sent to the printers, and any corrections will have to be posted in a second edition, hopefully after Obama has occupied the White House.
That is the way it looks, isn’t it? Sometimes looks are not deceiving.
In a few days – on July 17 – we will all be celebrating the great Democrat Party All Nighter of 2007. Had the Democrats been successful almost a year ago in moving US troops out of Iraq, the rout of al-Quaida in Iraq could not have been accomplished. But that was the point of the Democrat inspired bill supported by “Republican” Olympia Snowe of Maine, wasn’t it?
As reported in this spot nearly a year ago:
Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine supported the Democrat position: withdraw the troops from Iraq in 120 days. Waxing eloquent, she said at a news conference also attended by Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, "We are at the crossroads of hope and reality, and the time has come to address reality." Snowe accused the Iraqi government of "serial intransigence," in failing to suppress terrorists, many imported from Syria and Iran. According to the AP report, Smith, who is seeking re-election next year, "said that Iraqis appeared focused on 'revenge, not reconciliation' and that the administration needed to change its approach. The American mission is to make sure that Iraq doesn't fall into the hands of al-Qaida,’ he (Smith) said, rather than referee a civil war.’"
Looking back, with the success of the surge in our rear view mirror, we now know that Snowe’s serial intransigence was unrealistic, a hope crusher. The Iraqis were not intent on revenge. They were intent on doing what they did: supressing al-Qaida. The administration’s approach – which changed radically for the better two years ago, a change hardly noted in the editorial pages of the New York Times, until now – was pretty much the right corrective to a Bush strategy that previously had proven disastrous.
This perception has yet to penetrate Obama’s consciousness, not to speak of his stump speeches, which remain unchanged since they were launched many moons ago.
In the general election, some of Obama's ancient stump speeches will change to reflect the new reality.
Change is good.