Immediately following September 11, many liberals reflexively and preemptively accused those on the right of questioning their patriotism, before anyone had even had a chance to do so. For a honeymoon period of about six months, as President Bush’s poll numbers skyrocketed in response to his successful handling of the aftermath of the attacks, most liberals held their tongues.
As those poll numbers eroded as a result of difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions on Afghanistan and particularly Iraq, opponents of the President became more vocal in their criticism. When public opinion turned against the President and the mission in Iraq, many liberals abandoned all restraint in their criticism, accusing the President and supporters of the mission in Iraq of being chicken hawks, murderers and human rights abusers, among other things.
Over the summer some good news has been trickling out of Iraq regarding the progress being made as a result of the surge counteroffensive. The leadership of General David Petraeus has been praised by many, as have the positive changes that have been made through his approach to the mission in Iraq.
Instead of the news of progress being celebrated, or even acknowledged, many of those opposed to the war have attempted to suppress that news or to deny it. While there is still news of violence to be reported from Iraq, it is no longer possible to deny the positive developments being reported from the region and still retain any credibility. Many opposed to the war, a mob of sorts, has risen up from the left to attack anyone who would claim even a modest improvement in the situation in Iraq.
Last month, Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, who have in the past been critical of the President’s handling of the mission in Iraq, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times in which they stated, “Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory' but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with....Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.”