An editorial in a major US newspaper, written by two columnists just back from Iraq who, in their own words, have been "two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq", reports the following:
- We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.
- The soldiers and marines told [the columnists] they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
- ...civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.
- A local mayor told [the columnists] his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq.
- The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).
- A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
- The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas).
- ...there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.
Wake up, Congress. There's a reason why you're polling worse than Nixon on the day he left office. There's a reason why you're approval rating is only half that of Bush. It's because you refuse to declare that this war is right, this war is necessary, and that we will never, ever abandon the Iraqis to the fate that the shortsighted are calling for.
You see, that's not governing by polls; that's leadership. Try it.