At last night’s Democratic debate, Clinton and Obama agreed on one thing for sure — that the Surge in Iraq is already a failure. Sure, “we love the troops™” and all, but they’ve failed in their mission to provide breathing room for political reconciliation. Or have they? Charles Krauthammer notes:
First, a provincial powers law that turned Iraq into arguably the most federal state in the entire Arab world. The provinces get not only power but elections by Oct. 1. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker has long been calling this the most crucial step to political stability. It will allow, for example, the pro-American Anbar sheiks to become the legitimate rulers of their province, exercise regional autonomy and forge official relations with the Shiite-dominated central government.
Second, parliament passed a partial amnesty for prisoners, 80 percent of whom are Sunni. Finally, it approved a $48 billion national budget that allocates government revenues — about 85 percent of which are from oil — to the provinces. Kurdistan, for example, gets one-sixth.
What will the Democrats say now? They will complain that there is still no oil distribution law. True. But oil revenues are being distributed to the provinces in the national budget. The fact that parliament could not agree on a permanent formula for the future simply means that it will be allocating oil revenues year-by-year as part of the budget process. Is that a reason to abandon Iraq to al-Qaeda and Iran?
If you’re a Democrat running for office this year, the answer to that question is yes, always yes. Followed by the question, “And just how quickly can we bug out?”
Look. You reinforce success. You regroup after failure. You retreat when beaten — and then you regroup so that you might eventually reinforce. What you certainly don’t do is run away when the other guy is on the ropes.
We haven’t been beaten in a single battle, we haven’t (yet) failed the Iraqis, and we’re seeing success after success both militarily and now politically. This is not the time to tuck tail and scram.