As everyone knows by now, the NY Times refused to publish John McCain’s follow-up article to the Obama piece on Iraq because…well, because it is blasphemy to contradict the Mahdi.
So McCain had it published in the NY Post. Here is excerpt/link…
AS he took command in Iraq in January 2007, Gen. David Petraeus called the situation “hard” but not “hopeless.” Today, 18 months later, violence has fallen by up to 80 percent to the lowest levels in four years, and Sunni and Shiite terrorists are reeling from a string of defeats. The situation is full of hope – but considerable hard work remains to consolidate our fragile gains.
Progress has been due mainly to an increase in the number of troops and a change in their strategy. I was an early advocate of the surge at a time when it had few supporters in Washington. Sen. Barack Obama was an equally vocal opponent.
“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” he said on Jan. 10, 2007. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”
Now Sen. Obama has been forced to acknowledge that “our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence.” But he still denies that any political progress has resulted. Perhaps he’s unaware that the US embassy in Baghdad has recently certified that, as one news article put it, “Iraq has met all but three of 18 original benchmarks set by Congress last year to measure security, political and economic progress.”
Even more heartening has been progress that’s not measured by the benchmarks:
* More than 90,000 Iraqis, many of them Sunnis who once fought against the government, have signed up as Sons of Iraq to fight against the terrorists.
* Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has found the will to crack down on Shiite extremists in Basra and Sadr City – dispelling suspicions that he’s merely a sectarian leader.
The surge’s success hasn’t changed Sen. Obama’s determination to pull out all of our combat troops. All that has changed is his rationale.