"[Concerning Iraq,] what don't the critics like? Democracy? The defeat of al Qaeda? Muslims turning to the US military for help? Troop cuts? The dramatically improved human-rights situation? What's the problem here? The answer's simple: Admitting that they've been mistaken about Iraq guts the left's argument for political entitlement. If the otherwise deplorable Bush administration somehow got this one right, it means the left got another big one wrong. . . The bottom line? Al Qaeda let the war's opponents down."
--Ralph Peters, The New York Post
Well, not exactly.
While many on the left did (do) hope the Bush administration, the U.S. military, and the Iraqi government chosen by Iraqis in U.S.-facilitated elections would lose out to either al Qaeda, Muqtada al Sadr, or both, the congressional Democrats including Obama who have relentlessly pushed for withdrawal from Iraq in the face of the surge’s mounting U.S. success have a fallback position. If the U.S. somehow proves able to leave a functioning national Iraqi government behind, that’s fine with them. Just don’t have it happen before November 4, 2008.
Democrats know they will get some real cooperation from the military, who are too professional and measured to proclaim early victory, and who have a bias toward sticking with a fight they began. And the military have a natural skepticism about the Iraqis’ ability to operate Iraq’s political and security system on their own. The military are unlikely to proclaim victory between now and November, which leaves Democrats somewhat free to perpetuate their colored version of progress, one that emphasizes the messy part of war. “We should have never gone in. Not worth the cost. Bush’s war.”
After he’s safely in the White House, Obama will be able to heed the words of U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker [pictured], who recently said of this war: "In the end, how we leave and what we leave behind will be more important than how we came."