TEMECULA, California — As top Democrats address their national convention in Denver, they will propose “ending” Operation Iraqi Freedom, demand a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces there, and insist that “Bush lied, and people died.” What they will not do is apologize for their nearly universal failure in judgment regarding President Bush’s spring 2007 “surge” of 20,000 troops into Iraq. Widespread Democratic defeatism and lack of faith in our GIs’ ability to win gouged a gap between their forecasts of doom yesterday and Iraq’s far sunnier outlook today. With few exceptions, Democrats got this one dead wrong.
•“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is [sic] going to solve the sectarian violence there,” Senator Barack Obama (D – Illinois) said on January 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”
Thanks to the bravery of U.S. GIs and valiant Iraqi soldiers, Iraq is increasingly tranquil. Sectarian killing essentially has ended, and bloodshed has plunged. American fatalities have plummeted from 66 in July 2007 to five last month.
“By and large, what’s left of the insurgency is just trying to hang on,” U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker told the Associated Press July 24.
•“The simple fact is that sending in over 20,000 additional troops isn’t the answer. In fact, it’s a tragic mistake,” 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry said on February 16, 2007. The Massachusetts senator continued: “It won’t deter terrorists, who have a completely different agenda; it won’t rein in the militias.”
The simple fact is that the surge has helped turn the Mahdi Army, Iraq’s biggest militia, into a charity. “The group will focus on education, religion, and social justice,” the Wall Street Journal’s Gina Chon explained August 5. Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr decided to disarm his battered force. He is rumored to be studying Islam in Iran.
As for terrorists, the surge and Sunni disgust with al-Qaeda in Iraq’s Islamo-fascism almost have squeezed AQI to death. Last month alone, two high-value AQI-affiliated emirs and an associate surrendered to Iraqi and Coalition forces.
•“The surge was designed to give the Iraqi government time to take steps to ensure a political solution,” Senator Hillary Clinton said August 22, 2007. “It has failed.”
Congressional Democrats like Clinton often attack Iraq’s parliament as foot draggers who specifically failed to implement a petroleum reform law. This is mighty rich for Democrats who managed not to pass even one appropriations bill this year, yet jetted off for a five-week vacation rather than consider GOP ideas for increasing oil and energy production.
The Iraqi parliament in 2008 adopted a budget, a pension law, and amnesty for some prisoners. It scheduled provincial elections for October and is weighing plans for an expected $50 billion budget surplus, largely from an ever more productive petroleum sector.
According to the Brookings Institution’s stunningly comprehensive “Iraq Index,” attacks on Iraqi oil pipelines fell from 19 in May 2007 to one last March. This has helped oil production swell to 2.54 million barrels per day, surpassing peak pre-war production of 2.5 million barrels daily.
•On April 19, 2007, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada flatly declared that ‘‘this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything…”
“The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost,” the AP’s Robert Burns and Robert Reid reported last July 26. “In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago…”
While key Democrats blew it, starting with their standard bearer, the GOP nominee got it right.
“We must have more troops over there,” Sen. John McCain told Fox News Channel on December 12, 2006. “And we have to have a big enough surge that we can get Baghdad under control and then Anbar province under control.”
McCain embraced the surge concept, encouraged President Bush to implement it, and energized Republicans on Capitol Hill and across America to support it. He trusted U.S. service personnel to stabilize Iraq. And they delivered — big time.
On the nation’s most urgent issue, John McCain and the GOP scored a bull’s eye, while Barack Obama and the Democrats’ arrow missed the target and crashed in the dust.