Bill Kristol: Why Bush will be a Winner

Bill Kristol has a must read article about why President Bush will end up being a successful president. Right now the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media are so consumed with Bush Derangement Syndrome that all the good this president has done and is doing is being drowned out.

I suppose I’ll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush’s presidency will probably be a successful one.

Let’s step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let’s look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil — not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy — also something that wasn’t inevitable.

And third, and most important, a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where — despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless “benchmark” report last week — we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome.

The rest of Bill’s piece is really interesting, particularly the part about the war in Iraq because he provides information about the war that the rest of the mainstream media refuses to report:

Bush is a war president, and war presidents are judged by whether they win or lose their war. So to be a successful president, Bush has to win in Iraq.

Which I now think we can. Indeed, I think we will. In late 2006, I didn’t think we would win, as Bush stuck with the failed Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey strategy of “standing down” as the Iraqis were able to “stand up,” based on the mistaken theory that if we had a “small footprint” in Iraq, we’d be more successful. With the new counterinsurgency strategy announced on Jan. 10, backed up by the troop “surge,” I think the odds are finally better than 50-50 that we will prevail. We are routing al-Qaeda in Iraq, we are beginning to curb the Iranian-backed sectarian Shiite militias and we are increasingly able to protect more of the Iraqi population.

If we sustain the surge for a year and continue to train Iraqi troops effectively, we can probably begin to draw down in mid- to late 2008. The fact is that military progress on the ground in Iraq in the past few months has been greater than even surge proponents like me expected, and political progress is beginning to follow. Iran is a problem, and we will have to do more to curb Tehran’s meddling — but we can. So if we keep our nerve here at home, we have a good shot at achieving a real, though messy, victory in Iraq.

Read the rest of Kristol’s article. I think he’s right: in the end, Bush will be judged positively even if the fad right now is to judge him harshly.

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