There should be no question what the top story of the year was: America's counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, the Democrats' hapless efforts to sabotage it, and the Western mainstream media's stubborn refusal to own up to military progress.
What happened in January defined the rest of the year. We rang in 2007 with vehement liberal opposition to the "surge" of 21,000 added U.S. troops and tactical changes to secure Baghdad. In the ensuing 12 months, Democrats tried and failed repeatedly to undermine this military strategy and starve the war of funding. Their poisonously partisan allies at MoveOn.org attempted to smear surge architect and patriot Gen. David Petraeus as a traitor. The New York Times and Associated Press fought tooth and nail to obscure the successes of the surge with their relentless "grim milestone" drumbeat. But by year's end, with Shiites and Sunnis marching and praying together for peace, even anti-war Democrats and adversarial media outlets alike were forced to acknowledge that undeniable military progress and security improvements had been made.
Is there still a long way to go? Hell, yes. Were there other ancillary factors that contributed to the decrease in violence and the "awakenings" in Anbar province and Baghdad? Yes again. But go back to January. Refresh your memories of the anti-surge rhetoric and the spectacularly misguided conventional wisdom.
When the Senate Foreign Relation Committee's resolution opposing the surge passed 12-9 on Jan. 24, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the panel's chairman, disingenuously claimed it was "not an attempt to embarrass the president." Bull. That's what the Democrats have been trying to do all year. Biden argued: The measure "is designed to let the president know that there are many in both parties, Democrats and Republicans, that believe a change in our mission to go into Baghdad -- in the midst of a civil war -- as well as a surge in ground troops . . . is the wrong way to go, and I believe it will have the opposite -- I repeat --opposite effect the president intends."
Seven months later, staunch anti-war Democrat Rep. Brian Baird of Washington returned from Baghdad and recognized reality:
"As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better . . . the people, strategies and facts on the ground have changed for the better and those changes justify changing our position on what should be done."
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