Over and over again -- even after Gen. David Petraeus reported in late 2007 that the surge was working -- Obama said: It's not working. It won't work. It's a mistake. He essentially was betting his presidential hopes on the surge's failure.
But the surge did work -- and the mistake is Obama's.
Most Americans would have little trouble forgiving Obama for not believing the surge would be effective. It was a gamble, as are all strategies in war. Even with reports on the ground that locals seemed increasingly willing to rise up, there was reason enough by 2007 to doubt the wisdom of America's commander in chief.
It is less easy to forgive the kind of wrongheaded stubbornness now on display. As recently as July 14, Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed that "the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true." He mentioned the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, money spent in Iraq and said that the surge had failed to produce "political accommodation."
Fine. But the larger, more important point is that the surge was necessary and successful. Those facts outweigh all other considerations past and present. Moreover, a recent U.S. Embassy report stated that 15 of 18 benchmarks set by Congress for Iraq are being met in a "satisfactory" fashion.
Obama has fallen to pride in part because he has bought his own myth. By staking his future on a past of supernatural vision, he has made it difficult to admit human fault. The magic isn't working anymore. And Obama, the visionary one, can't even see what everyone else sees: He was wrong.