Declaring Victory in Iraq

The developments over the last few days with Al-Maliki suggest that Republicans are at some point soon going to have to begin incorporating withdrawal into their lexicon. That's because we're winning. And a big reason why we're winning is John McCain.

The only reason that Obama can talk about 16 months and not sound radical is because the surge has worked. The situation doesn't seem as urgent as it once did. In fact, Iraq doesn't figure very much in the public's angst anymore.

At some point, this debate is going to have to stop being retrospective (where were you on the surge?) and start being about you draw down troops and still preserve the security gains that came from the surge John McCain fought for. 

There is a danger, to the extent we are seen as turning the corner, that Obama could align himself with a sense of rising optimism on Iraq through calls for withdrawal. And anyone suggesting an open-ended commitment could come to be seen as the pessimists, a role reversal from the last five years. The public's reasoning will no longer be, "It's hopeless, so we must withdraw." It could be, "We're winning, so we can safely withdraw."

And before I get catcalls on this, remember that John McCain sees an end date: 2013. So this is something we're going to have to begin preparing for.

What can we do to make sure that the debate is one of "draw down and win" vs. "precipitously withdraw and lose?"

Bush To Begin Withdrawing Troops From Iraq

While the Associated Press spends their days worrying about how much they should charge bloggers for the privilege of quoting their articles (Note to AP, bloggers should charge you for providing traffic to your website), they have curiously missed what would otherwise be considered a very newsworthy story. On Monday, President Bush announced the withdrawal of 30,000 troops by July.

U.S. President George Bush on Monday announced the withdrawal of 30,000 troops by July, highlighting that any further withdrawal of the troops will depend on the security conditions in the country.

This came during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London.

The U.S. president linked any further withdrawal of U.S. forces with the improvement of Iraqi forces’ capabilities and their abilities to bear more responsibilities, as well as the economic improvement and more progress regarding political reconciliation.

“This strategy aims at handing Iraqis more responsibilities,” Bush said.
For his part, Brown denied any impact of the political argument on his government’s stance.

“There is a work to do in Iraq and we will continue our work,” Brown added, stressing that he would not outline any time table for British forces withdrawal.

The media silence on this story is deafening as I had to go all the way to an Iraqi news source to find the story (via GatewayPundit). The silence however was predictable as many media outlets were anticipating a withdrawal of troops due to failure in Iraq, yet the reason for the reduction in troops is actually due to their success. In fact the media coverage of Iraq has declined 92% from the same time last year, indicating that the more progress is made, the less the media consider it an issue.

If John McCain expects to contend in this election it is imperative he remind the American people of these successes. He should be reminding Americans every week of the progress being made in Iraq, and the Congressionally set benchmarks which have already been met.

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