When a bullet fired from a trucking convoy struck a young girl in the foot in a busy commercial area in Baghdad's Karrada neighborhood last week, a group of Iraqis attacked the suspected assailants, hurling rocks at them as they hid in the truck. "I love my country. I want stability to be regained," said one of the men who helped take the stricken high school student to the hospital, as reported in the Washington Post.
It turned out the suspects were not responsible for the shooting, but the incident revealed a newfound courage among common Iraqi citizens, a realization that they must defend themselves when help is not available. "We did this because each of those men will kill 30 more people," one of the Iraqis said, according to the Post.
You would never know that anything had changed for the better in Iraq if you were listening to the Senate Democrats this month. They refused to even acknowledge that the situation in Iraq had vastly improved.
Indeed, despite all of the evidence proving that President Bush's surge has been successful, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is still pushing legislation to set a timetable for the quick withdrawal of all U.S. forces.
Reid and his cohorts do not want to see a successful conclusion to the war in Iraq. They want a political issue that will fire up their party's anti-war base in the 2008 election.
But Bush, Petraeus and the Republicans are seeking something very different. They want to achieve enough progress there, and buy enough time, to allow the Iraqi military to take over the defense of their country so that we can start bringing our men and women home.
As of last week, the surge was working better than anyone could have possibly predicted and the Democrats' political exploitation of the war as a campaign issue was losing.
Look for the first contingent of U.S. forces to begin coming home by the end of the year at the earliest -- early next year at the latest.