Paul Greenberg

As for the Surge that Barack Obama once so curtly dismissed in Iraq, it has become the hallmark of his policy in Afghanistan. As a senator, he said he knew of no expert who thought such a surge would succeed. ("I don't know any expert on the region or any military officer that I've spoken to privately that believes that that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground. ... Here's what we know. The Surge has not worked.") He must not have talked to one David Petraeus, the general who wrote the book on counterinsurgency warfare, or at least put it together from the best advice available, and then applied its lessons to Iraq. With considerable success.

Senator Obama's was a widely shared skepticism at the time. Remember when Hillary Clinton, then a senator from New York, said it would take "a willful suspension of disbelief" to credit General Petraeus' counsel? That may have been the most insulting -- and now demonstrably wrong -- judgment she has ever made. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has she ever apologized to the general. Even at this late date. Such is the fate of the country's best at the hands of its glibbest.

But as president, Barack Obama is proving he can learn on the job, no matter what he said before being elected to it. He may not admit to earlier misjudgments but, far more important, he corrects them. And deserves to be applauded when he does.

If only this new, welcome Barack Obama would call off his attorney general's prosecution/persecution/investigation of the kind of intelligence operatives the president has just praised for their role in the happy demise of Osama bin Laden. Then his transformation from kibitzer-in-chief to commander-in-chief might be complete.

Why let these CIA agents twist in the wind any longer under the unwatchful eye of the Hon. Eric Holder, an attorney general who makes the much-maligned John Ashcroft's conduct of that office look superb? By now that may be General Holder's most conspicuous talent.

Nothing might aid this president's re-election prospects more than an announcement that Counselor Holder was retiring to spend more time with his family.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.