The Wonderland of Washington, driven by polls and 24/7 TV, is its own, separate reality. Unfortunately, the TV-watching public and partisan activists think it’s the reality.
Meanwhile, over in Iraq, the surge is doing what it was intended to do, as this piece back on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal — under the appropriate headline, "Moving Forward in Iraq" — reports:
In Washington perception is often mistaken for reality. And as Congress prepares for a fresh debate on Iraq, the perception many members have is that the new strategy has already failed.
This isn’t an accurate reflection of what is happening on the ground, as I saw during my visit to Iraq in May. Reports from the field show that remarkable progress is being made. Violence in Baghdad and Anbar Province is down dramatically, grassroots political movements have begun in the Sunni Arab community, and American and Iraqi forces are clearing al Qaeda fighters and Shiite militias out of long-established bases around the country.
This is remarkable because the military operation that is making these changes possible only began in full strength on June 15. To say that the surge is failing is absurd. Instead Congress should be asking this question: Can the current progress continue?
That’s the way it starts. I hope the link works so that you can read the whole thing. The next 10 or so paragraphs go into greater detail about the ways in which the surge is working. The author, Kimberly Kagan, is "an affiliate of Harvard’s John M. Olin Institute of Strategic Studies, is executive director of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington. She even tries to express some optimism about Mr. Maliki’s efforts to achieve the strategic aim of the surge, a political solution. That part is somewhat less convincing. But the part about what our military is achieving is convincing.
What would be wonderful — what we owe our troops — is to praise and applaud and encourage what they are accomplishing. But that’s not what we’re doing back in this country, is it?
The piece ends this way:
This is war, and the enemy is reacting. The enemy uses
suicide bombs, car bombs and brutal executions to break our will and
that of our Iraqi allies. American casualties often increase as troops
move into areas that the enemy has fortified; these casualties will
start to fall again once the enemy positions are destroyed. Al Qaeda
will manage to get some car and truck bombs through, particularly in
areas well-removed from the capital and its belts.
But we should not allow individual atrocities to
obscure the larger picture. A new campaign has just begun, it is
already yielding important results, and its effects are increasing
daily. Demands for withdrawal are no longer demands to pull out of a
deteriorating situation with little hope; they are now demands to end a
new approach to this conflict that shows every sign of succeeding.
Indeed. And that demand is coming from both Democrats and Republicans. What is happening in this country is an appalling spectacle.