Friday, September 7, 2007

Blowback Redux

On August 22, in this post I wrote about how the upcoming administration report and congressional testimony by Crocker and Petraeus threatened to rip the Democrat party right down an ideological fault line.

The Democrats are properly terrified by the spectacle that is coming next week. General Petraeus--Scholar, Warrior, Patriot--is set to provide one of the most memorable congressional hearings in recent history. His testimony, and the report delivered by the Bush Administration one week from tomorrow, were required by language in a piece of legislation congressional Democrats insisted on when they passed the emergency supplemental.

At the time, no one on the left believed that a surge of troops could have had the effect that it has. This is due largely to the fact that none of the offensive operations made possible by the surge had begun yet. PL 110-28 was signed on May 25. Operation Phantom Thunder, the first offensive clearing operation began June 15. Give some credit to President Bush, who seems to have outmaneuvered Democrats again. It's likely that no one on the left knew what the brass at MNF-Iraq and CENTCOM had in store with those additional 30,000 troops, but some of them should have guessed. General Petraeus is a veteran combat commander(He took the 101st Airborne on the most aggressive, longest and most successful airborne armored assault in the unit's history, rolling through Iraq to Mosul in a breathtaking display of military brilliance).

The Democrats hadn't heard of Anbar Awakening yet. In late May, when they were crafting legislation requiring a series of reports they thought would ultimately humble the President and force a calamitous withdrawal from Iraq. They were doing it with the same mindset created by the Al-Askiriya Mosque Bombing and the year's worth of sectarian bloodshed that followed. It was hip to be anti-War. They had already jumped for joy in defeat and eagerly looked forward to hanging that defeat on Mr. Bush. That, they planned, would then be used to solidify and expand their majority in Congress and seat a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

But, a funnny thing happened on the way to that defeat. Our guys started kicking ass and taking names. Tribal Sheikhs started allying themselves with U.S. troops and fighting Al Qaeda side by side with our guys. The Sunni insurgency is now all but defeated. Al Qaeda is on the verge of a humiliating rout. Al-Sadr is caught between his own Scylla and Charybdes. And for the first time in Iraq's 16-month history, reconciliation is breaking out all over the place. There are even signs of reconciliation appearing at the national level.

Petraeus, Crocker and President Bush are going to explain all of that--in careful, pointed and incontravertible terms--next week.

Ahhh, the sweet smell of Blowback.

UPDATE: The Politico covers the fault line split I told you about last month. Next week is gonna be fun.