Saturday, November 24, 2007

Democrats: It would be folly not to acknowledge the gains in Iraq

So say the advisers to Obama and Clinton. I wonder if Reid would agree? And if it would be folly not to acknowledge the gains, why not give the troops the money they need to continue the good job that they are doing?

As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq: acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy.

Advisers to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama say that the candidates have watched security conditions improve after the troop escalation in Iraq and concluded that it would be folly not to acknowledge those gains. At the same time, they are arguing that American casualties are still too high, that a quick withdrawal is the only way to end the war and that the so-called surge in additional troops has not paid off in political progress in Iraq.

But the changing situation suggests for the first time that the politics of the war could shift in the general election next year, particularly if the gains continue. While the Democratic candidates are continuing to assail the war — a popular position with many of the party’s primary voters — they run the risk that Republicans will use those critiques to attack the party’s nominee in the election as defeatist and lacking faith in the American military.


“If Iraq looks at least partly salvageable, it will be important to explain as a candidate how you would salvage it — how you would get our troops out and not lose the war. The Democrats need to be very careful with what they say and not hem themselves in.”

Risk? Not hem themselves in? Are they nuts, it's too late for that. They own defeat, it belongs to them. Of course the Republicans have soundbite after soundbite of the Democrats attacking Petraeus, suggesting that we had already lost the war and that the surge would not work. If the Republicans don't use all that ammunition, they deserve to lose the presidency. They should hammer it into the public psyche that the Democrats don't trust our military to do it's job and that they would rather have political victory and power than have military victory.

As we all know this war could take a down turn as it did today in the pet market in Baghdad but that shouldn't stop us from moving forward, knowing that our military understands the fight better than our politicians.