Or, at least, that’s what the Washington Post says this morning in an editorial on Iraq policy:
THE FIFTH anniversary of the invasion of Iraq prompted a flurry of speeches from President Bush and the Democratic candidates who hope to inherit the White House next year. Sadly, what they had in common was their failure to grapple with hard realities — beginning with the elusiveness of any clear or quick path toward Mr. Bush’s promise of “victory,” or that of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to “end this war.”
I prefer to think of it as the Democratic candidates trying desparately to mollify their immediate withdrawalist constituencies even as they announce policies that stop short of complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq.
I do think that the WP goes too far with this statement:
Barely acknowledging the reduction in violence, the Democratic candidates insist that U.S. troops are, as Ms. Clinton put it, “babysitting a civil war.” In fact, the surge forestalled an incipient civil war, and U.S. commanders and diplomats in Iraq don’t hesitate to say that if American forces withdrew now, sectarian conflict would probably explode in its full fury, causing bloodshed on a far greater scale than ever before and posing grave threats to U.S. security.
I think that if they said that the surge was one of the factors that forestalled that incipient civil war they’d be on much firmer ground. Whether it is indeed a fact that the surge has been a necessary or sufficient cause for reducing the violence in Iraq is a matter of vigorous debate.
The WP goes on to point out the intrinsic contradictions of the policies being announced by both Sens. Clinton and Obama. They’re why I think the candidates are just kidding and that I think that Sam Power’s observation that Sen. Obama would re-evaluate the situation in Iraq based on the conditions that prevail when he takes office closer to the truth.