Applying the Reality Principle

Paul M. Weyrich
By Paul M. Weyrich | December 9, 2008 | 5:01 AM EST

Where is the ticker-tape parade in New York City? Where are the cheers?  A year and a half after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that the War in Iraq was lost and finished, we are winning.
The terrorists now are losing. The Iraqi Parliament has passed a measure calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in order to regain their country’s sovereignty.
The new timetable does mirror somewhat the demands of former presidential-candidate Obama. President Bush initially demanded that any treaty regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops be subject to conditions on the ground. The new treaty fulfills that demand.
At the time, Sen. Reid declared that the war lost and things looked bleak. President Bush, against the advice of many in his administration, initiated what became known as the surge. Army Gen. David Petraeus brilliantly executed the surge. The various warring factions in Iraq were tired of terror and death and agreed to work against the al Qaeda terrorists and various paramilitary groups rather than against each other.
Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, now an adjunct professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, compiled a report for his colleagues, which Investors Business Daily reports concludes as follows: “The United States is now clearly in the end game in Iraq to successfully achieve what should be our principle objective: the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. ground combat forces… in the coming 36 months; leaving behind an operative civil state and effective Iraqi security forces; an Iraqi state which is not in open civil war among the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds;  and an Iraqi nation which is not at war with its six neighboring states.”
Gen. Petraeus managed the surge so well that now children can go to school in safety, businesses can stock up on inventory without danger of being blown up or held up and the elderly sit at cafes talking about politics.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who will remain in the Cabinet of the Obama administration, and present at the retirement of Gen. Petraeus, told the story of the best command decision of a commander-in-chief since President Lincoln sacked Gen. George McClellan to put Gen. Ulysses Grant in charge of the Union Army.
Investors Business Daily quotes Mr. Gates as saying, “After Petraeus took charge, slowly but inexorably the tide began to turn, our enemies took a fearsome beating they will not soon forget. Fortified by our own people and renewed commitment, the soldiers of Iraq found new courage and confidence. And the people of Iraq, resilient and emboldened, rose up to take back their country.”
We are winning a war Sen. Reid declared lost. The real question is when will opponents of the war admit that flexibility and a change in military strategy, if executed properly, can reinvigorate the U.S. military and help us defeat our enemies?