There is still a very long way to go. Press reports indicate al-Qaida forces have moved to Northern Iraq where they are setting off improvised explosive devices and engaging in suicide bombings, but American and Iraqi forces have them on the run. Securing Iraq's capital city would be both a substantive and symbolic success.
Broadcast television has mostly ignored the Iraq story in recent weeks. Tyndall Weekly, part of ADT Research, which monitors the Top 10 stories covered by broadcast news, found that Iraq had dropped off the list for several weeks in September and October, reappearing as number six in the week ending Nov. 2.
Can the Democrats come back from their embrace of defeat to change the subject? It isn't likely, as Republicans will most assuredly question their poor judgment and "cheerleading" for the enemy. Republicans will rightly ask whether Democrats should be trusted to make correct judgments about the wider war on terrorism if they made the wrong judgment on Iraq, an important component of that war.
Democrats continue to be politically vulnerable on national security. An Iraq victory or even major progress toward victory could become a winning issue for Republicans. Not known for quoting approvingly from the mainstream media, Republicans might willingly do so in the case of The New York Times, the Washington Post and this morsel from Newsweek foreign correspondent Rod Nordland: "For the first time returning to Baghdad after an absence of four months, I can actually say that things do seem to have gotten better, and in ways that may even be durable."
The Pentagon labeled America's response to the 9/11 attacks "Enduring Freedom." There's a way to go yet, but this moniker might turn out to have been prophetic.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.