Friday, July 18, 2008

The US Senate Almost Unanimously Agrees: Bush Strategy in Iraq Is Working

Maybe the media was the last to get the memorandum on this.

MoveOn.Org infamously called him "General Betrayus" in a massive New York Times advertisement. This sparked discussion and outrage because General David Petraeus had not even gotten his feet wet in Iraq. It will likely inspire scores of GOP commercials directed against any candidate unfortunate enough to have taken this anti-American organization's donations.

The United States Senate, in a sense, almost unanimously endorsed the current direction in Iraq last week with their confirmation of this general as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Many applauded his ability to de-escalate the violence and bring political stability. Deaths among American servicemen and Iraqis have fallen as a result. Iraq now feels confident enough to ask the United States for some indication about when US servicemen will start to be pulled out. If anyone needs any indication that Iraq is not Vietnam, the host country requesting a timetable for pullout represents a strong example of this truth.

Senator Robert Byrd voted against this confirmation, but not for reasons you might anticipate. He argued that a successful commander ought to be left where he is. Continuity in command makes more sense than promotion at this point, according to the Senator. We did not promote Dwight D. Eisenhower out of his active role after D-Day. President Lincoln did not desire to remove Ulysses S. Grant from the battlefield because he found success where other Union generals had not. Senator Byrd does have a valid point.

However, let us not lose sight of the meaning of this vote. Senate Democrats demonstrated confidence in the Bush Administration and his commanders whether they wanted to reward success with a promotion, or keep a good general where he enjoyed success. We have come a long way in a short time in this war. We must thank first and foremost the servicemen who have sacrificed to do the job right, next their commanders for working to fashion a plan for victory, and finally President Bush whose political courage helped better the lives of millions of Iraqis who were initially freed from tyranny and will now face more freedom from terror.

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