Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: An Important Milestone in the Iraq War

Pete, your thoughtful recap of the errors of conventional wisdom and the remarkable achievement attained in Iran stands in stark contrast to the view put forth by the White House. It’s always midnight in America there — or at least for American interests that might offend leftists here or the anti-American opinion abroad. On this significant day when American troops proudly pass the security baton to their Iraqi counterparts, we got this:

“I will keep the banner printers from doing anything crazy,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs, in reference to the infamous “Mission Accomplished” sign that adorned the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln during George W. Bush’s 2003 combat flight stunt. “The way we look at this is, there is progress that is being made. Obviously the security situation has improved. I think President Obama talked about that throughout last year. And again, I think we are taking important steps on two fronts: our ability to get our own combat troops home, but also our ability to give the sovereign nation of Iraq more control and responsibility.”

Does he give credit to President Bush for the foresight and determination to see the surge through and deliver the results we saw this week? No:

Asked if President Bush’s surge policy was to credit for facilitating Tuesday’s accomplishment, Gibbs drew a distinction between security improvements on the ground and political progress among Iraq’s governing factions.

“The president would say, obviously increasing the number of troops in that country improved the security situation,” he said. “But the surge was to improve the security situation so that the political reconciliation could take place. So while the security situation has improved, we still have a lot of work to do on the political side of this equation.”

It is hard to imagine anything less gracious or less historically accurate. How does he think this political and military progress has been achieved — by magic or by a successfully implemented counterinsurgency strategy?

Perhaps the White House is so beholden to the Left it cannot credit its predecessor or celebrate America’s accomplishments. Perhaps Obama simply wants to ingratiate himself with the anti-American crowd and doesn’t want to ruffle their feathers. But it is hard to imagine a less encouraging approach for our troops and our allies. The president seems frankly embarrassed by our accomplishments. Maybe one of the reporters not involved in a pre-set bit of play acting with the president can ask him at the next press conference why that is.