Just a year ago, Iraq was on the brink of civil war. And just a few weeks ago, Harry Reid was hosting his pajama party for defeat, and enough Republicans were wavering for the Democrats to think they might muster enough votes to overturn a Presidential veto. A lot has changed, both in the past couple of months and over the past year. As Peter Wehner writes at National Review Online:
General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, testifying before the House and the Senate during the last two days, did what many people thought was impossible: They reset the Washington clock. These good men, by what they have achieved in Iraq and by the force and power of their testimonies, have recast the terms of the debate. They will now have until next summer to build on their successes, which in turn could eventually lead to a decent outcome in Iraq. To appreciate how extraordinary this is, it’s worth recalling how far we have come.
Read the whole piece. Of course General Petraeus, his troops and their Iraqi allies, and the Iraqi people deserve most of the praise for turning things around. But, as Wehner writes, President Bush deserves enormous credit for standing firm when political, public and media opinion was stacked against him.
I would add that pro-victory (it’s a better term than ‘pro-war’) bloggers and commentators deserve some credit as well. The likes of Michael Yon and Michael Totten have continued to send back inspiring stories from the front, to counter the relentless barrage of context-free bad news from the MSM. On Talk Radio, Hugh Hewitt has put people who know what’s really going on in Iraq on the air almost every day. And the bloggers have kept at it, whether by rallying support for the troops in the field or exposing the efforts of people like Scott Beauchamp and The New Republic to turn the public against the troops.
With the pressure for a precipitous withdraw lifted it would be tempting to take a breather, but there’s still a long way to go, and this is no time for complacency. Those who have supported the President and the troops this far should no more ease up their efforts than US troops in Iraq will ease up their pursuit and destruction of al-Qaeda.