Just two months ago he declared that Iraq was still locked in an “intractable civil war.” Today he’s sanguine about a war which, by most accounts (Michael Yon’s especially), is going badly. Say this for bizarro world — its rules, at least, seem to be consistent.
“We’ve been so focused on Iraq, and we all know Afghanistan has not received the attention and resources it needs,” Reid told reporters. “We are where we are, but not where we should be. After 9/11, we spent a little time here and left. It would have been better if we’d spent more resources here. We didn’t, and that can’t be undone. But we are in a better position now… I feel we’re in pretty good shape.”
Reid said U.S. commanders in Afghanistan are avoiding mistakes made in Iraq, such as paying more attention to diplomacy and infrastructure needs.
“We’ve frankly learned a lot from Iraq,” Reid said. “We’re not attempting to win this war with sheer military power.”
To appreciate how amazing it is to hear him say that, consider that the same point was most recently made by none other than Hitchens, the liberal hawk of hawks, in the course of an article attacking the conventional Democratic wisdom that Iraq and Afghanistan are in all respects a zero-sum game. Quote: “Many of the most successful drives against the Taliban have been conducted by American forces redeployed from Iraq, in particular from Anbar province. But these military victories are the result of counterinsurgent tactics and strategies that were learned in Iraq and that have been applied triumphantly in Afghanistan.” Emphasis his. If you take this logic seriously, Reid’s implying that victory in Iraq is begetting a victory in Afghanistan — to which he’d doubtless reply that we could have learned these lessons in due course in Afghanistan and won the war there anyway if we’d never gone to Iraq. Exit question: What strange twist of fate has brought Dingy Harry to the brink of applauding Bush’s management of a war? No doubt he has his eye on next year, but which way is he going to spin the progress he claims to be seeing? By citing it as evidence that we’re winning and should therefore support President Obama’s call for more troops? Or by citing it as evidence that the country’s in good enough shape that we don’t really need any more troops, as candidate Obama is hinting now about Iraq? Remember, a majority of Democrats have soured on Afghanistan. Any excuse to abandon ship will suffice, I’m sure.
Update: A reality check from Roggio on how “pretty good” things are looking these days.