Has the surge worked? Well, U. S. and Iraqi military casualties are way down from a year ago, Iraqi civilian casualties are way down, and the Iraqi parliament is making some progress on the political issues that the Iraqis need to resolve (which is more than you can say for our own Congress).
I don’t believe that those results, which nearly anybody would agree are good things, are solely the consequences of the surge. I think the surge was only one of several factors that brought casualties down and created a space in which a new Iraqi polity could begin to take shape and may have not been the most important factor. I just don’t know.
Let’s take a conservative stance and assume that the surge accounted for only 10% of the results. That means that as a consequence of the surge several thousand ordinary Iraqis are alive who would otherwise have died and I can’t see that as anything but a good thing.
The point that I’m making at altogether too great a length is that the surge could be a failure in the sense that it’s not 100% responsible for the progress that has been made in Iraq over the last year and still be a Good Thing.
And that brings us around to Sen. Obama again. He and his fellow Democrats who opposed the surge might have been right but they’re wrong, too in allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good and IMO that cuts right to the heart of Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign.
Sen. Obama is not running on his experience because, honestly, he doesn’t have any relevant experience. He’s running on his judgement and on his person—his looks, his background, his life story. If his judgement is flawed (and I think it is), he’s running solely on his person and only time will tell if that’s enough to propel him into the White House even in a year in which the Democrats have the wind at their backs.