September 27, 2007


Based upon their statements in last night's Democratic Presidential debate, the leading candidates have surrendered the thought of a near-term military pullout from Iraq.

From the Associated Press:

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013. "I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.

"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

"I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Senator Christopher Dodd and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said that they would pull out American military forces if elected president, but with Richardson currently polling at only 3% and Dodd not even on the radar at 1%, what they feel, frankly, matters little.

As Bryan notes at Hot Air, "The netroots ain't gonna like this."

He's quite right, but at this point, they seem not to matter.

"Captain Ed" Morrissey gives General David Petraeus credit for shifting the debate over the war:

How far has General David Petraeus moved the debate on Iraq? His testimony on the surge, and the effects of the surge itself, has made it much more difficult for Democrats to argue for withdrawal and defeat...


...Americans don't like to lose wars, and given the successes that Petraeus has generated, more Americans see an opportunity to persevere in Iraq. Leading Democrats realize now that running as the party of defeat when we continue to gain ground may sound good in the primaries, but will be disastrous in the general election.

What we may--and I caution, may--be witnessing here is a bursting of the progressive blogosphere's image of its influence over the rest of the Democratic Party.

I'm not stating by any stretch of the imagination that the entire online progressive community has been neutered as the result of a presidential primary debate that few American watched, but it should be sobering nonetheless for groups such as A.N.S.W.E.R., Code Pink, and others who have made their primary political issue the full, near-term withdrawal of American forces from Iraqi soil.

The three front-running Democratic candidates have said, in no uncertain terms, that they will not commit to a pull-out during the next presidency. The very vocal supporters of these groups have been told, in no uncertain terms, that the Democratic frontrunners do not think that their arguments are viable.

General Petraeus' Congressional testimony changed few minds on Iraq, but the testimony of men and women on the ground as to the effects of the "surge" seem to have created a groundswell of what may not be support for the war, but is certainly at least tolerance among the American people to give our military and the Iraqi people the chance to continue the campaign.

It was this tolerance and trust of our soldiers and the Iraqi people that anti-war types have tried since 2003 to undermine.

They've constantly played the refrain over and over again of Abu Ghraib and other atrocities large and small, inevitable failure, nefarious schemes and schemas, and unnecessary deaths that would only end, and could only end, if American forces turned tail and fled Iraq, to let it become a failed state. Worse, they often protrayed Iraqis themselves as a blood-lusting "other," that longs only for war and martyrdom, instead of stability, opportunity, and hope for their children.

But Iraqis love their children.

With the help of American sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines, Iraq's villagers and tribesmen have joined in their own grassroots efforts towards stabilizing Iraq, with both provincial Sunnis and Shias fighting back against terrorists, extremists, and criminals responsible for so much of the nation's violence. They do so by forming their own federally-recognized militias, the police and the Army, and joining a political process they once shunned. The small towns and villages are leading, and larger towns and national politicians seem to be slowly following their lead, even as outsiders from al Qaeda and Iran find Iraqi lands to be less hospitable and far more lethal than they once were.

When a terrorist car bomb decimates a tribal militia checkpoint guarding a village, and the townspeople rebuild and re-man the checkpoint even as the dead are being laid to rest, that makes a statement. When terrorists blow up a police recruiting center and potential recruits step into the footprints of those who have fallen before them, it makes a statement.

This is a budding grassroots effort that Americans watching the conflict are willing to get behind.

Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have grasped this truth.

The netroots, it seems, will take a while longer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 27, 2007 10:48 AM

I saw a news link -- on Drudge, probably -- to the effect that Bush is quietly having the word passed to the Dem candidates to leave themselves some wiggle room on bugging out of Iraq.

On the one hand, that would seem a wise, yet also "new tone"-ish, thing for Bush to do. On the other, it also offers the Dems a fig leaf they can wave at the netroots. A win-win for them -- assuming they can actually, you know, win. The election, that is.

Posted by: McGehee at September 27, 2007 11:08 AM

Worse, they often protrayed Iraqis themselves as a blood-lusting "other," that longs only for war and martyrdom, instead of stability, opportunity, and hope for their children.

Cite please? Or...did you, um, "Beauchamp" that?

Posted by: Xanthippas at September 27, 2007 01:57 PM


Frankly I was vastly amused yesterday when Senator Robert Byrd threw the Pink Ladies out of the hearing.

"I've had about as much of you as I can stand"


Posted by: memomachine at September 27, 2007 03:26 PM

Byrd probably has a lot of experience in this area. For all we know, during his Exalted Cyclops days, he threw uppity blacks out of buses if they tried to sit in the front.

Posted by: MarkJ at September 27, 2007 04:05 PM

"I am The Mighty KOZ!"

"Ignore the man behind the curtain!"

Posted by: Mikey NTH at September 27, 2007 06:17 PM

Oh, I suspect MoveOn will threaten to withhold funding from candidates that don't toe the "defeat now" line, and then we'll see all the candidates of the Party of the Donkey fall into lock-step again.

As long as MoveOn controls so much of the funding, they will continue to control the debate.

Posted by: C-C-G at September 27, 2007 06:46 PM