Our Ambassador in Iraq spoke recently about the status of our operations in Iraq, or more importantly the status of Iraqi government operations in Iraq. Bread and roses? No. Quagmire, absolutely not. His remarks outline broad and continuing success in the training, fielding and operations of Iraqi police and security forces. But the really good news regards the accelerating move of Sunni political and insurgent leaders toward reconciliation. Full remarks here courtesy Belmont Club
I will give my bottom line up front. I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change - a tectonic shift - has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community. A year ago, Sunni Arabs were outside of the political process and hostile to the United States. They boycotted the January 2005 election and were underrepresented in the transitional national assembly. Today, Sunni Arabs are full participants in the political process, with their representation in the national assembly now proportional to their share of the population. Also, they have largely come to see the United States as an honest broker in helping Iraq's communities come together around a process and a plan to stabilize the country.
There is plenty more in his speech to ponder. The split between Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunnis is complete and the foreigners have no support or staying power. The Sunni insurgent groups have increasingly seen that they cannot defeat the Coalition and Iraqi forces to return to power and are more open to solutions other than warfare. The main remaining problem is one of the stickiest, and will be a considerable challenge. There are plenty of sectarian beefs among the three major groups, and plenty of revenge killings have already occurred. The Iraqi government has begun serious operations aimed at disarming many of the militias responsible for the killings, and they have made gains there and as part of the reconciliation process.
The overall picture, as opposed to the media portrayal, shows the progress we have needed to begin drawing down our troop numbers in Iraq. And guess what, we didn't lose, we aren't cutting and running and all the attempts by Feingold and Murtha and the rest of the left to brand this victory as a defeat have failed. The left wing of the Dems has been flappin' hard getting ready to run some anti-war races in '06 leading up to making sure they have a pure anti-war candidate for the big dance in '08.
Why would they want to run against a victory? We'll see how that turns out for them. Their best hope is that the war winds down and the troops come home well before '08 so they can manufacture an actual agenda with policy ideas to run on.