The “Third War” is coming to an end in Iraq, thanks to Gen. Petraeus and his troops. The first was the initial destruction of Saddam and his military, sucessfully concluded in three weeks, by Tommy Franks and his army. “Mission Accomplished”. Not quite.
Then the sectarian war, which has been smoldering since the 7th Century between Shiites and Sunni’s, finally stopped with the exhaustion of the country, and the power of the central government to impose peace. Control from Sadr City to Basra was finally won, the criminals and militias crushed, with American help, air power and logistics, to be sure.
The “Third War” was against the jihadists of Al Quaida, who were systematically hunted down, killed or captured. That war appears to be largely won.
The greatness of Gen. Petraeus rivals that of Grant, Sherman, Patton, and Eisenhower in the pantheon of American military heroes. George Bush will be honored for his tenacity and wisdom, rejecting anything less than victory.
That Dexter Filkins can go for a peaceful evening jog in the park across the street from his hotel, which was a killing field last year, tells us much of what we need to know about normal life returning to Baghdad. That the NYT published the new reality, however reluctantly, marks the dawn of a new day in this country. Sen. McCain, got it right, Sen. Obama got it wildly wrong.