Given our success with the counterinsurgency operations and the stakes involved in the outcome of the war in Iraq, President Bush and other Republicans have a window to restate their case for the importance of Iraq in the War on Terror. They should seize the opportunity before war opponents have another chance to discourage the war effort.
Let's agree to disagree right now on whether we should have attacked Iraq in the first place. Let Democrats savor the prospect of using that issue for the 2008 elections -- if things turn back around for them and against our progress in Iraq.
But we're in Iraq now, and whether we win or lose matters -- believe it or not -- and when we begin to withdraw our troops matters because it will affect whether we win. But we shouldn't allow the answer to either question to be affected by disputes over the justification for our initial attack.
The preliminary success of the "surge" has greatly undermined the Democrats' position on a number of fronts, which is why they are trying to destroy General David Petraeus's credibility in advance of his favorable report. It is why they are developing new strategies to secure our withdrawal, such as backing off their demands for a firm withdrawal date to lure "moderate" Republicans into joining their cut-and-run scheme.
Democrats have said this is a civil war, that America's presence is exacerbating the ethnic rivalry and prolonging the war, that Al Qaeda's involvement is marginal, that the war is "unwinnable," and that even if we are making great strides militarily, we are getting nowhere politically.
They've said that remaining in Iraq fuels Al Qaeda recruiting efforts while withdrawing would deter them.
They've said Iraq is not part of the War on Terror and implied that our withdrawal will not constitute a setback to us in the WOT, nor will it result in disastrous consequences for Iraq, the Iraqi people or the Middle East.
They've said we should refocus our efforts on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and on better pursuing Osama bin Laden.
It's not just the success of the surge that is unraveling the Democrats' war against the war but also the primary reasons behind that success. Our revised strategy to capture and hold territory has reportedly emboldened Iraqi ethnic groups formerly helping Al Qaeda to turn to us and against Al Qaeda. Democrats are well aware of this, which is why some of them, like Sen. Chuck Schumer, are denying our military the credit for turning things around.
If the surge is neutralizing Al Qaeda, and this neutralization is leading to a dramatic turnaround in the Iraq War overall, the Democrats' multipronged excuses for opposing the war fall like dominoes.