President Bush made an excellent speech this week, laying out the case that al Qaeda in Iraq is a subsidiary of al Qaeda in Waziristan. He went further, and delineated the differences between the various terrorist organizations which share an ideology. His central premise --a retreat in Iraq means a huge win for al Qaeda everywhere it organizes-- was carefully constructed and reasoned and simply cannot be argued by the war's critics, only ignored.
Which is exactly what Congressional Democrats and the anti-war zealots have proceeded to do. There is a certain panic in the anti-war leadership as they see the same data that pro-surge commentators do, and understand that the unmistakable momentum on the side of the coalition threatens to bolster support for victory in Iraq. Victory in Iraq --the creation of a stable, functioning representative government protected by a strong Iraqi military capable of and committed to the suppression of terrorism and sectarian violence-- would be a vindication of the Bush Doctrine, and although it would also be in the very best interests of the country as a whole, the left sees a political disaster in such an outcome, and has hence redoubled its efforts to tarnish not just the president who ordered the war, but also the generals who lead it, and the soldiers who fight it. In the service of this last objective, The New Republic was pleased to bring its readers the now infamous "Baghdad Diarist," but that is just one of the more visible libels on the troops dressed up as "reporting" intended to be understood as a generally applicable view of the conduct of America's military.
Of course the victory hasn't been won, and of course the argument about the war isn't going to vanish even if General Petraeus gives an optimistic report in mid-September. But that report will matter a great deal, and I hope the Administration takes steps to assure that the American people get to hear it without the filter of the MSM or a Democratically-controlled Senate or House panel doing its best to muffle the good news and amplify the bad news.