Via the Standard, a sweet piece of oppo research. January 2007: You can throw 30,000 troops at the problem and it won’t make a difference. May 2008: No one ever said it wouldn’t make a difference if you threw 30,000 troops at the problem. The spin here will be the same old feeble leftist crap, that Obama merely meant there’s no military solution to Iraq’s problem, which is both true and almost entirely beside the point. Yes, of course, for Iraq to become a functioning state it needs both security and a working political process, and that political process isn’t where we need it to be. But why should the deficiencies of the latter completely obscure the tremendous gains of the former? It’s not that there’s no military solution to Iraq’s problem; it’s that there’s no military or political solution to Iraq’s problem if either one or the other are lacking. Both are necessary, neither is sufficient. Theoretically, if you take the left seriously on this point, reducing violence in the country to absolute zero wouldn’t matter a whit so long as the Iraqi parliament remained paralyzed. That’s the kind of “reality-based” military judgment we can look forward to before too long.

The other favored spin when this subject comes up is to admit the security gains and accept that, yes, they have had some salutary effect, but naturally only the tiniest portion of that is owed to the surge. It’s another example, like minimizing the role of Al Qaeda in Iraq in the civil war, of the left building the facts to fit its narrative, the cardinal rule of which is that no move Bush makes, under any circumstances, can have any merit. That’s how you end up with the sort of cretinous, willfully disingenuous idiocy Pelosi displayed in crediting Iran’s “goodwill” with the recent quiet among the militias. So let’s follow our standard M.O. and ask H.R. McMaster what he thinks. Any connection between the surge and the nascent political solution inside the country, General?

So what’s changed? Iraq’s communities have largely stopped shooting at each other. That has been an achievement of the physical security efforts of our forces and I would highlight very courageous and determined Iraqi security forces who took extraordinary risk to make that happen and have fought in a determined way to make that happen. What we have seen is a result of people stopping shooting each other, which is the first step in getting people to talk to each other, I guess. There has been some real bottom up movement toward the political accommodation I mentioned just a moment ago.

And what we are seeing now I think is some top down movement toward political accommodation as well and we could talk specifically about how some of the political dynamics over the last couple of months have created a condition from maybe movement toward political accommodation at the national level. But what has happened and I think we can see this now in retrospect is that political accommodation at the local level has placed some social pressure on the Iraqi government to move in the same direction or key actors within the Iraqi government who represent portions of the communities who were fighting each other.

And now you’re properly prepared for the clip. Remember, Obama’s alleged infallibility in judgments about the war is the very core of his foreign policy credentials; he’s the man who knew knew knew the surge wouldn’t matter, and if we put him in a position to influence events, doubtless he’ll prove himself right. Oh, and after you watch, be sure to skim this very quickly to see who else appeared on Face the Nation the same day he did when he made these comments and what that other guest had to say.