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The Petraeus Effect

I have a column at Townhall today about the difference General Petraeus' testimony and reports of progress in Iraq have made on the political landscape.

What a difference a day makes. Or rather, several days and quite a few hours of congressional testimony and public statements regarding the status of the troop "surge" in Iraq from General David Petraeus. Not only are the leading Democrats running for President not calling for immediate withdrawal, but they won't even say that if they were President the troops would be out of Iraq by the end of their four year term.
Although many of the Democrat politicians understand that some things have changed since the Petraeus report, many of the liberal anti-war activists don't. A liberal blogger commenting on Elizabeth Dole's re-election chances in North Carolina recently wrote, "UP: Her top assets are the sheer awesomeness of incumbency and that George W. Bush is not on the ballot. DOWN: GWB isn't on the ballot, but his war is." Not only are the Democrats' chances for the presidency heavily dependent on bad news coming from Iraq and an unsuccessful war to run against, but so are Democrats' prospect for holding the Senate. Bottom line - bad news from Iraq has been good news for many Democrats running for office.
Also be sure to read my post below about the most interesting thing I have read in a long time regarding the lead up to the war in Iraq.


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Comments (41)

They will compromise every ... (Below threshold)

They will compromise every liberal principle to ensure defeat for this war. I don't know how they can live with themselves.

There are those who will ba... (Below threshold)

There are those who will back the war in Iraq no matter how bleak things may look at any particular moment. There are those who will not back any efforts in Iraq even one iota because, well, their lives are centered around any and everything antiBush. Then there is the large number of folks in the "center". I don't think the average American likes the USA being seen as a loser nor being unable to step up when help is needed. And if the USA is in a tight situation, I think the average American wants to see the country strong enough to make it right. If they sense entrenched incompetency in our own efforts or that the Iraqis themselves are unwilling to help with the heavy lifting then support dwindles - what's the point. Bush has had to overcome some stubborness and FINALLY put more troops in Iraq, something that should have been done earlier. However, if they see a sense of purpose and positive results then Americans are willing to have us push ahead which is really, deep down, consistent with the success we ultimately desire. I think the average American takes the long view and understands this is not an easy task. The average American is not a BarneyG2000 who stops by here daily relishing his self-appointed role as the messenger of all things tragic as if the rest of us are not aware of them. But in contrast to the Barneys there are others who are willing to hammer us with the progress now coming out of Iraq and I am grateful for that because in the pre-blog era this would not have been possible. The average American is not going to give as much listening time to chronic pessimists compared to chronic optimists - again, they think much more of the USA than the message the pessimist conveys. Both will be wrong at times but if you are going to avoid pessimists in your personal life you are most likely not going to tolerate them running the country. So, right now the volume of the Democratic pre-recorded message on Iraq is turned down significantly. By the way, has there ever been any other group like the Democratic Party that has been so adept at sniffing out so consistently the downsides of issues and in turn justifies this quality as a heightened level of sensitivity?

The Importance of Being Nua... (Below threshold)

The Importance of Being Nuanced.

BG2, please remember that S... (Below threshold)

BG2, please remember that Saddam wanted to take all his knowledge about WMD with him. To be authoritative, you've got to be honest. Get real.

Also, there is new signs of political and spiritual reconciliation in Iraq. It reallly is getting down to all elements of civilized Iraqi life are now battling terrorists and criminals. You should awake, as did Anbar.

And to persist through difficulties to eventual victory, you must have a commander who continues to encourage the weak at heart. I'm sorry you needed encouraging, or rather, need encouraging.

Possibly the Anbar Awakenin... (Below threshold)

Possibly the Anbar Awakening is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan also, this time involving a Taliban rejection of al-Qaeda. Read all about at the American Thinker. Oh, boy, we can talk about Tora Bora again.

We were told t... (Below threshold)
We were told that the surge would bring results by Sept, and now we have to wait until June or July

The President got his wish and the mission has been extended because of the successes into September.

If there were no immediate results due to the surge do you really think Democrats would be willing to wait until the next report due in February before claiming their personal political victories and demand full withdrawal again?

In fact there has been so much success not one top tier Democratic Party presidential contender will commit to immediate pull out. This really just blows holes all over your talking points.

You know what Barney? Ther... (Below threshold)

You know what Barney? There have been times if I had been in a meeting with Bush on Iraq all I probably would have been able to ask is WTF? Likely putting it more politely. But the origins of the war are far enough away that it is really no longer relevant to me. Today is what it is and "losing" is not an option. Hussein exiled to Egypt? Okay, so who takes over who is not a surrogate of Hussein's? Did anyone not believe that was an option that was not discussed? I'm not surprised it was discussed and I'm not surprised I didn't get a phone call to discuss the details. Disband the security force? Fine, but a security force is necessary. Can you change strategy with who you have? Who in the population is a slam dunk better alternative? I respect your questions but they are simply recent revelations about events that are now far enough in the past they no longer matter or are just rehashing things you've said before. I'm sorry the American Conservative has little respect for Petraeus, but the Bush White House is going to do what it's going to do to get the results needed. Say what you want about Bush's stubborness, it has worked against him but has also allowed him to persevere while surrounded by a bunch of wafflers. If the Democrats expect to win the White House it is quite clear they should begin to sound a reasoned, intelligent message. They won Congress and have turned out looking like a bunch of bozos but there is more cover there than on Pennsylvania Avenue.

If the Democrats w... (Below threshold)
If the Democrats wanted an immediate and full pullout they could have cut off the fundings by now. Why haven't they?

You don't need to ask me that question because you already know the answer. Democrats would not cut off funding because of the political ramifications of cutting troops off at the knees. They were just talking the talk for you true blue lefties and not walking the walk for everyone else that was noticing.

Because they want a change of course. They want a phased redeployment of most of the troops, but still leave some forces in Iraq to assist with training, logistics and fighting al Qaeda

And they only say that "NOW" because of the successes up to this point. Funny how they all changed their tune within such a short period of time.

You've got your signs and I... (Below threshold)

You've got your signs and I've got mine, but for sure, Juan Cole is a loon. That is a peculiar interpretation of Bush's remark.

Barney,Referencing... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:


Referencing Juan Cole is the same thing as referencing Michael Moore or Sean Penn for their "expertise".

Ditch your BDS-inspired myopia and quit being a douchebag.

"Both provisions w... (Below threshold)
"Both provisions were intended by Saddam to protect him from later retaliation. The money would buy him protection from extradition, and the documents presumably showed that the Reagan and Bush senior administrations had secretly authorized his chemical and biological weapons programs. "

What part of "presumably" do you need explained to you? The part where Juan Cole is pulling this from his hat and has created this theory based on little or no evidence, or the part where you are full of beans again?

Juan Cole? hahahaha.... (Below threshold)

Juan Cole? hahahaha.

"Both will be wrong at times but if you are going to avoid pessimists in your personal life you are most likely not going to tolerate them running the country." It's been proven that the American public prefers an optimist in the oval office. There is no hope in pessimism. Americans are, by-and-large, optimists with lofty goals and can-do attitudes and they like to see that reflected in the Presidency.

"we are just tired of b... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"we are just tired of being lied to"

Boy can I relate to that! That's way I usually skip the comments by the #1 terrorist supporter and anti-American propagandist on this site, BarneyG2000, and I never watch the broadcast network news or CNN, nor do I read WizBlue posts. I'm just so tired of being lied to. I wish Osama's butt buddy, Barney, would just go away.

Seeing as Juan Cole's "tran... (Below threshold)

Seeing as Juan Cole's "translations" of the transcripts have already been discredited, it is of course to be expected that Barney would cite to Juan Cole.


DaveD, both Abdullah and th... (Below threshold)

DaveD, both Abdullah and the Shia Arab in Iraq recognized the same threat from Persia several months ago.

That's because Barney, ther... (Below threshold)

That's because Barney, there are more competent translations available on the blogosphere already.

But you don't know this because you lack basic competence.

And by the way, Juan Cole's call for impeachment based on the transcripts shows just how utterly whackjob he is.

You're tiresome Barney. Sa... (Below threshold)

You're tiresome Barney. Saddam had the will and the means to WMD. Everyone believed he already had them. He was stopped in time. The lied into war meme will fade over time, since it is false. There is fresh evidence this month of the axis of evil that Bush has deconstructed since taking office, an important part of which was taking out the highly evil Saddam.

Look, how can you seriously... (Below threshold)

Look, how can you seriously maintain that Saddam was not dangerous if he wanted to take his WMD plans with him? The whole point of the lied into war meme is that he didn't have WMD, but the plans, the will and the means are just as good. You, and the loon Cole, are arguing an absurdity. I don't expect either of you to admit it, blind, unreasoning spin doctors that you both are. This is the degeneration of Soros like money. You aren't honest.

But Bush did lie. Yo... (Below threshold)

But Bush did lie.
You see, from 1997-2003 Dems were saying the same things, including B. Clinton, A. Gore, M. Albright, S Berger and others. In January of 2001, Saddam got rid of his WMDs and programs and told Bush that, but Bush lied to everybody about it and hid the new intelligence that showed that, in one beautiful day, Saddam saw the error of his ways (While listening to a Barbra Streisand song I think), and got rid of his WMD programs. Why, he was using them for fertilizer for pete's sake, how much more proof do you need? I'm not sure if Colin Powell was in on the lie or a stooge, but Rumsfeld definitely was, he just likes killing furriners.
Then, in 2003, Dems began to change their tune. You see, it had nothing to do with elections or anything, it had to do with integrity. Saddam had it and Bush doesn't. They realized that they had been taken to the cleaners and they were out for blood. Neo-con blood.

As soon as you wizbang idiots figure that out, the sooner we can usher in the new world of tolerance and peace and free-speech zones and hate-crimes laws.

Veeshir, great, now Barney... (Below threshold)

Veeshir, great, now Barney will be citing you.


Debating Barney at this poi... (Below threshold)

Debating Barney at this point in the discussion, especially since his last comment, is ridiculous. This has been explained more times to him than one can count. It seems his BDS has been compounded by CRS. To indulge him is folly.

Seek help, Barney. I urge you.

It's stupid to debate with ... (Below threshold)

It's stupid to debate with anybody who still says, "Bush Lied". As if, alone among everyone in the world who was saying the exact, same things, Bush knew.
The only required response is to point and laugh.

Oh, we point and laugh too.... (Below threshold)

Oh, we point and laugh too.

Debating Barney at any poin... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Debating Barney at any point in any discussion is ridiculous.

Someone has to be thoughtful, well informed, intelligent and open minded to be worth debating. Barney is none of those. He is simply an Al Qaueda supporter and propagandist who will not let facts, truth, reality, or the big picture get in his way.

Oh, we point and l... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:
Oh, we point and laugh too.

As I'm sure Mrs.Barney did on their honeymoon. :)

Todas la infomacion. Ironi... (Below threshold)

Todas la infomacion. Ironically, there it is, Barney, your weapon of self destruction.

Dang, I just hate ... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Dang, I just hate the fact that Juan Cole is just so uninformed.


Civil,Wow, Cole is... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:


Wow, Cole is VERY informed... which makes his stances all the more loony.

Something I can agree on from your wiki-linky:

"a minor nuisance on the fringes of the academic Muslim apologist community,"


Well there you go. If it's... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Well there you go. If it's in wikipedia it must be true. Just like if Dan Rather says it, it must be true...

Getting back to Petraeus, h... (Below threshold)

Getting back to Petraeus, have any of the candidates reacted to the accusations that he is a "sycophant" and "Petraeus demonstrated that he is a political general of the worst kind..."


I'll react, Rance, when the... (Below threshold)

I'll react, Rance, when the accusastion come from a source more credible than the lefty blogosphere or the Bizzarro-world conservatives that follow Buchannan and Ron Paul.

SCSIwuzzy,You cons... (Below threshold)


You consider "The American Conservative" to be part of the lefty blogosphere?

How far to the right are you?

Juan Cole is informed alrig... (Below threshold)

Juan Cole is informed alright; by his biases. It's all the dam joos.

Rance, Let me addre... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Let me address your point about the "political general". This is the first time I was made aware of this website via your post. Usually, we go to National Review or Weekly Standard as the two of the more well known conservative websites.
Anyway, there are those on the right who want our general to act tough as in previous war and not worried about the political support at home. But gone are those days. Our generals in WW2 had the "full" political support of the country. Even the Rep presidential candidate (as pointed out by Zel Miller) would rather lose the election than undercut FDR and our troops during the time of war. Our troops and their commanders are now have to fight two wars at the same time: the war against the enemies on the battlefield and the political/PR war at home and around the world. The military now has to fight a war where one major party (in this case the dem party) and a large majority of the liberal left acting as the propaganda arm of the enemies. Not only that this party with the whole liberal media are willing to lie/distort/smear the military at any chance they get to erode public support. The presidential candidates have no shame or conscience in that they would actively use their power to cause the defeat for America and its military while Bush is the president. So it is wishful thinking that General Patreaus doesn't have to deal with the political reality of Washington. If the shameless dems gain the levers of power next year, the lesson of Vietnam is something to fear. Patreaus has done a great job to ensure success in Iraq and at home. For that he deserves our admiration and gratitude.

IN short, if you are an informed and decent American, you would not support the modern dem party.

LoveAmerica Immigrant,... (Below threshold)

LoveAmerica Immigrant,

The point is, when his actions an motivations are questioned by the left, there is outrage and condemnation by the White House and Congress. When it comes from the right, there is silence.

Measure the magnitude of th... (Below threshold)

Measure the magnitude of the outrage and condemnation coming from each side, then talk to me about relative silence. Your point is real and miniscule.

kim,My point exact... (Below threshold)


My point exactly.
Measure the backlash from the right to the MoveOn ad against the backlash from the right to the American Conservative article.

Rance, Again, on th... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Again, on the right it is a fringe. This group didn't buy an ad in the NYT calling Patreaus "Betray Us". They didn't use Soros money to pull the strings of the Rep party, for example. On the left, it is not a fringe but the mainstream. Again, it is the same "perfection fallacy". The US is not perfect and North Korea is not perfect. So there is no difference between North Korea and the US.

You can always go to the web and dig out some obsure website somewhere to use you "perfection fallacy". Moveon is a major player in the Dem politics. Even Harry Reid has to appear before them. The Right is overwhemingly supportive of PAtreaus and wants the US to win. The left is overwhelmingly against Patreaus and smearing him at every chance.

Measure the backlash from t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Measure the backlash from the right to the MoveOn ad against the backlash from the right to the American Conservative article.
Rance, ask Soros to give them money to buy the same MoveOn ad on Rush Limbaugh show. The NYT (the liberal newspaper of record) has written editorials questioning Patreaus 's motive for in the past several months already. But the Moveon ad is beyond the pale. It is sad that you are trying to use moral equivalency to justify it (subtly for sure). It simply shows that at least the liberals know that they are supporting a liberal culture of corruption that has no shame or conscience. But for ideological reasons, liberals would rather stay with that culture of corruption than seeing the US win while George Bush is the president.

The point is, when his a... (Below threshold)

The point is, when his actions an motivations are questioned by the left, there is outrage and condemnation by the White House and Congress. When it comes from the right, there is silence.
How ignorant.

I guess you could euphemize calling him a traitor by saying, "questioning his motivations" in much the same way my calling you a freaking America-hating, moronic, ignorant fool would be called questioning your judgement.
But I don't really think that either euphemism would fit.

Rance, you take my point ba... (Below threshold)

Rance, you take my point backwards. I'm not surprised.






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