For months, President Bush has been promising an honest accounting of the situation in Iraq, a fresh look at the war strategy and a new plan for how to extricate the United States from the death spiral of the Iraqi civil war. The nation got none of that yesterday from the Congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. It got more excuses for delaying serious decisions for many more months, keeping the war going into 2008 and probably well beyond.General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are not Political appointees. They have not shown any reticence in the past to express any differences of opinion. Why would they do so now? They don't owe their jobs to any Politically Elected official. And they did not sugar coat the fact that they too are disappointed with the Iraq Government. But what they did point out is the fact that prematurely leaving will have dire consequences.
The general claimed a significant and steady decline in killings and deaths in the past three months, but even he admitted that the number of attacks is still too high. Recent independent studies are much more skeptical about the decrease in violence. The main success General Petraeus cited was in the previously all-but-lost Anbar Province where local sheiks, having decided that they hate Al Qaeda more than they hate the United States, have joined forces with American troops to combat insurgents. That development — which may be ephemeral — was not a goal of the surge and surprised American officials. To claim it as a success of the troop buildup is, to be generous, disingenuous.Whether it was a goal of the surge is immaterial. It did happened as a serendipity result of the surge. To claim that it was not a goal of the Surge and should therefore not count as a success is, in the word of Editorial Writer, disingenuous.
The Editorial does make clear that a Military Success is necessary to allow a Political Solution.
The chief objective of the surge was to reduce violence enough that political leaders in Iraq could learn to work together, build a viable government and make decisions to improve Iraqi society, including sharing oil resources.Previously the Surrender Group has claimed we need to "re-deploy" the Troops first. Then negotiate a Political Solution. What they should have realized is a basic fact of Warfare. All wars are settled Politically by Diplomatic agreement when one side has suffered enough losses by the Military Actions of the Victor. In simple terms, the Loser is the first one to give up militarily.
The Situation in Iraq is not what we want, but if we leave because the Iraqi Politicians aren't measuring up, we loose, they win. As both the General and the Ambassador testified, we are making progress, and we can win. There have been mistakes. There have been set-backs. Success is not going to be achieved as quickly as everyone wants, but we can't leave just because things are not exactly the way we want them, unless we are willing to accept the consequences.
Those consequences are real and serious, and like an antibiotic medicine, "Don't stop taking this medicine until the prescription is used up".