Can you blame her? Elisabeth’s of the naive wingnut school that believes chipping away at Sadr’s militia, consolidating security gains made possible by the Awakening, and helping to stave off an all-out civil war somehow constitutes a qualified “success” even though the surge hasn’t yet achieved its stated goal of national political reconciliation. Thank goodness Pelosi’s there to disabuse her of the notion that any meaningful good news might ever come from Iraq. We’ve heard this argument before, remember, from one of the Messiah’s proxies; in a nutshell, because military progress alone is insufficient to stabilize Iraq, they’d have you believe it’s basically irrelevant. Especially charming is how Pelosi blames her 14 percent approval rating, or whatever hideous depth Congress might now have reached, wholly on her failure to stop the war — a mighty interesting interpretation considering not only is Iraq a distant second to the economy these days among voter priorities but those swing state voters both sides are battling over don’t seem to be in a particular hurry to leave. Ah well. Never let it be said that she lacks message discipline.
For your companion reading, enjoy this quickie symposium at the lefty American Prospect on how important the surge was relative to other factors in Iraq. Some answers are grim but insightful, others are simply dishonest, like the suggestion throughout that Sadr’s ceasefire was somehow an independent variable unrelated to the work done by U.S. troops in the shadows over the past 18 months to neutralize the more “excitable” elements in his ranks. Dive into the archives of Bill Roggio’s Long War Journal for details galore on that. Exit quotation from liberal bete noire Michael O’Hanlon, weighing in at the Prospect: “[I]t was the United States that organized the Awakening tribes into a coherent military and policing effort. It was the United States, with Iraqi Security Forces, that cleared cities like Ramadi — and unlike in past efforts, kept forces there afterwards to preserve the stability and keep extremists like al-Qaeda in Iraq out of the places from which they had been driven. It was the United States that sufficiently intimidated Muqtada al-Sadr into realizing a ceasefire better served his interests than would a renewal of battle. It was American and Iraqi security forces that, in larger numbers than before and with new operational guidelines and tactics, built blast barriers near markets, put up concrete dividers along sectarian fault lines in Baghdad, created joint security stations and started walking the streets to protect the Iraqi population, and conducted raids on insurgent safehouses and weapons caches at two to three times the rate of previous years (largely due to improved intelligence made possible by a safer, friendler, better protected population). And through all these combined efforts, it was largely the United States that was able to figure out which Iraqi commanders needed to be purged — and that then put pressure on the Iraqi government to replace them.”