Gen. David Petraeus is in Washington this week, where on Monday he briefed President Bush on the progress of the new military strategy in Iraq. Today he will give similar briefings on Capitol Hill, but maybe he should save his breath. As fellow four-star Harry Reid recently informed America, the war Gen. Petraeus is fighting and trying to win is already "lost."
Mr. Reid has since tried to "clarify" that remark, and in a speech Monday he laid out his own strategy for Iraq. But perhaps we ought to be grateful for his earlier candor in laying out the strategic judgment--and nakedly political rationale--that underlies the latest Congressional bid to force a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq starting this fall. By doing so, he and the Democrats are taking ownership of whatever ugly outcome follows a U.S. defeat in Iraq.
We can now expect variations on this to be repeated ad nauseum on cable news, with the O'ReillyBeckHannityKristols insisting that those traitorous Democrats "never gave the surge a chance," and, decades from now, AEI and Heritage fellows churning out pseudo-histories of the Iraq war in which victory was within our grasp up until the moment the spineless Democrats retook Congress.
To state the obvious, the idea that the the failure of George W. Bush's Iraq policy can be laid at the feet of the Democratic Party would have to be substantially more plausible to even be considered preposterous. Many liberals and Democrats do share in the blame for getting us into this war, but for four years it was waged, and countless irreparable blunders made, with the acquiescence of a rubber-stamp Republican Congress. Non-conservatives with expertise in the region were studiously ignored by the administration. Trying to blame the Democrats for the suck we're in now is more than just wrong, more than just mendacious, it's genuinely insane.