A quick overview of my take on where we are in Iraq:
(1) We are winning the war and we must and will pursue it to a final completion, provided we have the political will to do so, with or without UN support.
(2) In fits and starts, trial and error, we are successfully building a nation in Iraq, not as the American Founders could and would have designed, but in a way that will allow its acceptance in the community of free people under the rule of law.
(3) As messy and uncivil as some of it has been, we are conducting a meaningful national debate on the Bush Doctrine, the first, and necessary, major foreign policy paradigm shift since the end of the Cold War.
President Bush’s problem is the “spin”—of the media’s failure to report our successes and mistakes in a balanced way; of the anti-American and anti-war left’s ambivalence on the use of American power in the world; of the Bush-haters’ tendency to protect, to a certain extent for Hillary’s sake, Bill Clinton’s legacy of neglect of the war on terrorism that began on his watch; and, admittedly, of Bush’s own deficiencies in articulating, forcefully and more often, the degree to which the war in Iraq was one of choice for the right reasons. Of all the spin, none is more outrageous than that coming from some among the leadership and presidential candidates of the opposition party. As Charles Krauthammer has noted, recent comments from Ted Kennedy, Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, and other irresponsible Democrats can no longer be dismissed as simply partisan political rhetoric. They have reached the pathological stage. For here is a President that they relegated to the classes of “illegitimate” and “accidental” who now has a once per century opportunity to change the direction of world history, and they are terrified of what that might mean for their long-term competitive viability.
The fact is that Iraq is the front–our enemies in the world know it and Bush’s political opponents know it. The absolutely essential ingredients for success are moral clarity on the mission and perseverance in the face of political considerations.