The Washington Post readily acknowledges that the Iraqi provincial elections and the success of Prime Minister Maliki were also “a victory for American goals.” The reporters dig up an unidentified senior official for this reaction:
Any election where [there is] fairness and generally aboveboard practices, where the people get a chance to vote and they’re not rioting in the streets and throwing bombs . . . is a good result. . . We should celebrate that. So far, so good.
What remains unclear is why the president or his top officials aren’t saying that and doing so on the record. Do they have a problem with success?
Even if you accept the premise that Iraq was a “mistake” or that “it wasn’t worth it,” it is the Obama administration’s responsibility to ensure Iraq remains stable, that the democratic process goes forward, and the drawing down of troops proceeds smoothly. Perhaps the studied silence is a function of not having the full foreign-policy apparatus in place. (Or maybe Christopher Hill is busy in his basic Arabic language course.) But General Odierno’s job is not made easier by the obvious lack of interest that the President is displaying in what is perhaps the only good news coming out of the Middle East these days.