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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Democratic Lawmakers Provide the "Left" with an Out for Iraq

Will they take it? Or will go on the attack as they did with yesterdays article from the NYT, from two men that said "We Might Just Win in Iraq"? They are still attacking that article today.

Ever been in a room and have something happen where the people in the room suddenly go totally quiet? Where a "hush" falls over the crowd?

I am seeing something very akin to that happen on memeorandum this morning with an article explaining how Keith Ellison, a Democratic lawmaker, along with Jerry McNerney, a California congressman, have just returned from Iraq after having witnessed some of the incredible progress that is being made since General Petraeus took over operations there.

A hush, in regards to this latest article, has fallen over the left side of the blogosphere.

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Maybe they are trying to figure out how to "spin" it, or distort the words, but as of now, the far left liberal websites are silent about this piece.

Ellison, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, said he still believes it was a mistake for the U.S. to invade Iraq.

"But there are 150,000 American soldiers there now, and I care very deeply about them," said Ellison, one of six members on the all-freshman trip led by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif. "I also care about the Iraqi people. I don't want to see them suffer."

The group met with Iraqi and U.S. military officials, including Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Ellison said that local leaders in Ramadi told him of how they partnered with U.S. and Iraqi military officials to virtually rid al-Qaeda from the city. Although the lawmakers had to travel in flak vests and helmets, "we did see people walking around the streets of Ramadi, going back and forth to the market."

There have been fewer anti-U.S. sermons as the violence has been reduced, Ellison said, and religious leaders meet regularly with U.S. military officials.

"The success in Ramadi is not just because of bombs and bullets, but because the U.S. and Iraqi military and the Iraqi police are partnering with the tribal leadership and the religious leadership," he said. "So they're not trying to just bomb people into submission. What they're doing is respecting the people, giving the people some control over their own lives."

Ellison said he was particularly impressed watching Maj. Gen. Walter Gaskin, U.S. commander in the Anbar province, greeting people with "as-salama aleikum," meaning peace be upon you.

"And they would respond back with smiles and waves," Ellison said. "I don't want to overplay it. There were no flowers. There was no clapping. There was no parade. But there was a general level of respect and calm that I thought was good."

McNerney, the California congressman, also said he saw signs of progress in Ramadi and was impressed by Petraeus, who argued in favor of giving President Bush's troop surge strategy time to work.

I said yesterday that good news for Iraq is bad news for the Democrats and what we have here is a very narrow window to which they Democrats could, I repeat could try to minimize the damage that their careless words about "Iraq is lost", despite all the progress that is being made now, have caused them, in terms of credibility.

Will they seize this opportunity that Ellison and McNerney are giving them or will they, out of habit, attack anyone, including their own, because they dared speak the truth by saying things are looking up in Iraq, the surge is working where it has been implemented and the General needs the time to continue with these successes.

Your guess is as good as mine.

NRO points out that he suspects the Democratic presidential candidates are too heavily invested in failure and will not seize this opportunity to say "we were wrong".

Kathryn noted that comment from Rep. Jim Clyburn that good news in Iraq would be a "problem" for the Democratic caucus. I suspect that the Democratic senators running for president would have no hesitation in fighting members of their own party tooth and nail to force a withdrawal from Iraq. It would be catnip for anti-war Democratic primary voters.

He may be right because although the left side of the blogosphere is quiet now, as soon as one of the bigger liberal sites give them the talking points to dispute this article, and Ellison and McNerny, they might just be off and running to do whatever they can to "spin" it.

QandO amused me greatly with this line:

Heh ... I wish I could be a fly on the wall in John Murtha's office right now. I've always wondered how red-faced he could really get. Maybe he'll redeploy to Okinawa and become their congressman.

Captain's Quarters makes a few of the same points I just did:

When Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote in yesterday's New York Times that Congress should give General David Petraeus more time in Iraq to expand on the progress he has already made since the beginning of the surge, critics reacted by painting them as stooges of the Bush administration. What will they do when Democratic Representatives Keith Ellison and Jerry McInerney talk about the progress Petraeus is making? McInerney even spoke of adjusting his demand for a withdrawal deadline:

I have no doubt that right about now Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both, are stomping their feet and having a temper tantrum because Ellison and McNerney did not come back saying "all is lost".

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how the Left reacts to this news, how the Democratic politicians spin this news and react to it, and if by any chance they show the intelligence to take this information to heart and decide all is not lost and start trying to help us win in Iraq, how they will dig themselves out of the hole of defeat they have gotten themselves into?

Will they try to grab some credit for sending General Petraeus over to Iraq at the same time completely ignoring the fact that they tried to pull the rug out from under him before he even had a chance to begin?

Will they throw the Code Pinks and Cindy Sheehan's and the complete anti-war crowd of this country under the bus to try to save some shred of credibility for themselves and their party?

I will keep my eye out today for reactions from the left to this story and bring them to you as they come out, because they will offer us a glimpse at the answers to the questions I have just put forth.

For now though, the silence is deafening.

[Update] More good news from Iraq.