From today’s New York Times:
“I don’t want to suggest I’ve absorbed all of the facts,” about the situation in Basra, Mr. Obama said. But, he continued, what he had heard “appears consistent with my general analysis. The presence of our troops and their excellence has resulted in some reduction in violence. It has not resolved the underlying tensions that exist in Iraq.”
As if that’s not everyone’s analysis.
Neither George Bush or John McCain or David Petraeus has ever said anything to contradict Obama’s valueless declaration. They have never suggested that the surge had “resolved the underlying tensions.”
This is the all-or-nothing rhetorical game the Democrats play with Iraq. They pretend the McCain side of the debate makes outlandishly sunny claims and then they “disprove” them. They overstate non-scandalous aspects of both McCain’s Iraq plan (the hundred-year war) and our present Iraq strategy: Last Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton said, “President Bush seems to want to keep as many people as possible in Iraq. It’s a clear admission that the surge has failed to accomplish its goals.” Wrong and wrong. And shameful, to boot.
So, Obama admits he has not “absorbed all of the facts,” but that’s because he doesn’t need to. He just needs to spin stories of violence into the narrative of Bush’s failed miracle. However, if he bothered to “absorb” just a little more of the admittedly confusing Basra situation, he’d have to confront the conflict’s one crystalline detail: the British pulled out too soon. And there’s no way for him to spin that.